I've been on break for roughly one week and I've read 5 books in that span. One of those has become one of the most influential books I've ever read; it is Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. To be honest, I had only bought this book because it was really cheap for the Kindle, but that must have been a GOD thing.
This past semester was absolutely packed full of blessings and pains. All of which, looking back now, I am very thankful for. But what strikes me most is how I had allowed the easy times and the hard times define my emotions. It was a roller-coaster of a semester which I'm sure many people experienced as well. However, looking back again, the last thing I made of an importance was to trust GOD.
It is all too easy to think that we can control what happens, that we must do things the right way, that we are "the captain of our fate." It was this mindset that led my semester. I thought that when things did not go my way that I was doing something wrong, when I was not happy that I must not have had enough faith, when I was anxious that I needed more control. I was not okay with the unknown. If there was a grey area in my life, I needed to solve it instantly.
All of this led to self-reliance and anxiety. I wanted to trust that GOD was in control, but I would never allow HIM to be. So here I was this Christmas break, still wrestling over my lack of control in my life when GOD slowed my life down and caused me to trust HIM.
Jerry Bridges does not try to solve life's pains, but what HE does is give Biblical reasons for why we can and should trust GOD no matter what is going on in our lives. HE defends this by referring to three attributes of GOD: HIS sovereignty, HIS wisdom, and HIS love. "GOD in HIS love always wills what is best for us. In HIS wisdom He always knows what is best, and in HIS sovereignty He has the power to bring it about" (19).
What had caused so much of my emotional pains this semester was not the events in my life, but my lack of trusting that GOD had things under control. I was worried. Worried that my plans would fail which would mean that GOD's is probably not going to be as good. "If we are to experience peace in our souls in times of adversity, we must come to the place where we truly believe that GOD's ways are simply beyond us and stop asking HIM why or even trying to determine it ourselves" (136). I was so caught up in trying to figure out why my life was going the direction it was instead of trusting that GOD had things under control the whole time.
Maybe GOD was disciplining me for sin in my life, maybe HE was protecting me from future sins, maybe HE knows that this is exactly what it would take for me to stop trusting myself and turn to HIM. I really don't know why this semester panned out the way it did, but "what I do know is that "when HE has tested me, I shall come out as gold" (Job 23:10). I don't have anymore answers than I did when I left school, but what I do know is what I need to do when adversity strikes again, because it will. "GOD's plan and HIS ways of working out HIS plan are frequently beyond our ability to fathom and understand. We must learn to trust when we don't understand" (21).
Too often my mind gets in the way of my trust. I have to figure out the answer. That's how GOD wired me. Since HE made me that way, HE knows how best I learn, and if that means I don't understand at the time so be it. "An unreserved trust of GOD, when we don't understand what is happening or why, is the only road to peace and comfort and joy" (142). It's okay if I don't know why things happen because that's what the Bible teaches. "We think so much about our responsibility to discover GOD's will in a situation or to make wise decisions in life's choices, but the biblical emphasis seems to be on GOD's guiding us...I am where I am today, not because I have always made wise decisions or correctly discovered the will of GOD at particular points along the way, but because GOD has faithfully led me and guided me along the path of HIS will for me" (183-184).
I hope this comforts you as it did to me. GOD is in control and HE is working things out for your good and my good even when we don't understand why. Peace is only found in trust, not in good situations.
"Again, let me emphasize that trusting GOD does not mean we do not experience pain. It means we believe that GOD is at work through the occasion of our pain for our ultimate good. It means we work back through the Scriptures regarding HIS sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness and ask HIM to use those Scriptures to bring peace and comfort to our hearts. It means, above all, that we do not sin against GOD by allowing distrustful and hard thoughts about HIM to hold sway in our minds. It will often mean that we may have to say, 'GOD I don't understand, but I trust YOU'" (214).