John 14:1, Proverbs 3:5, Song of Solomon 8:5, Hosea 2:6-7 and Hosea 2:14-16
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1
God once gave me a picture of Jesus pulling me along. His face was set like flint looking straight ahead and I was dragging my feet and struggling behind. My understanding of this picture was that in my life, I was being obedient to Him but without trusting. Perhaps if I'd trusted, the picture would have been of me walking by the side of Jesus, skipping along joyfully as I held His hand.
I've followed Jesus for 12 years now. For the first 11 years in following Him, He would speak to me many times about trust, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't. Another picture He gave me was of my hands clenched in balls and I was unable to open them into trust.
Sometimes in life, we trust in the wrong things - people, money or our own understanding and in the process get damaged. Abuse, losing everything, your own understanding taking you into disaster can all destroy the ability in us to trust again; that is, until God comes and begins the rebuilding and healing process.
It's easy to say to ourselves or others 'trust in the Lord', but without realising the lengthy process it can take to truly be able to trust. If God would care about re-building the walls of Jerusalem that He would pursue the process over years, He surely cares enough to give the love needed to re-build us, the living stones and to patiently and tenderly teach, heal and lead us until each part of the re-building is complete.
To be obedient is to accept God as Master, which He is, but that isn't the full picture of our relationship with Him. To trust is to begin to know Him as Husband as well...but how do we get there?
The desert, the wilderness and the cross are all big parts of the Christian pilgrimage. They are used by God to take out of us our sin and wounds and to fashion into us the nature of His Son...to build the relationship with us, which we were created for. Recognising and accepting those things in our lives doesn't come naturally and isn't easy; it might mean staying in a location that we would rather not be in, staying in a church or job we'd rather move on from, giving up things we've used as crutches that aren't God, or following God even when it causes rejection; these are some of the deserts, crosses and wildernesses we can experience. As we follow Him through these experiences though and don't take ourselves off the path He's set us on, we find that our very nature and then also our understanding of who God is and our relationship with Him changes.
Eventually, as it says in Song of Solomon 8:5, we come up out of the wilderness in our life, not behind our Master in obedience, nor in front of Him in independent victory, but 'leaning (trusting) on our beloved'.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
View all Life Files by Heather Bellamy