Trust God

Posted: January 4, 2011 by Amy Hall in God is Real

Tim Challies posted a great quote from James Spiegel’s book, Gum, Geckos, and God:

The other day I was sitting in a faculty meeting, trying not to doze off during some committee reports. As I looked around, I mused over how much each of my colleagues understands about his or her discipline. It occurred to me that if there was a single mind that possessed all of the knowledge in that room, its intelligence would be unsurpassed in human history. I also considered how easy it would be to trust such a person if he or she were to counsel me on some matter. From there I extrapolated: What if that person had all of the combined knowledge of everyone in Indiana? In the United States? Of the entire world population? Even if God had merely the sum of all human understanding, he should be easy to trust. Yet his wisdom and knowledge infinitely exceed the best human comprehension. Still we struggle to trust him. How twisted is that?

I suppose we also need to know of God’s goodness in order to trust Him. Otherwise, we might think He’d use all His knowledge to hurt us. But given His goodness, this is a great little illustration to help us look at God’s knowledge and our response in a new way–to help us to trust.

  1. Sam Harper says:

    I think people have trust issues because of personal experience and just looking at the world. The fact that God is all knowing and perfectly good hasn’t prevented people from suffering in unimaginable ways, and it doesn’t look like any of us are exempt. How can we trust God to spare us miserable suffering when there’s obviously no guarantee that he will, regardless of how knowledgable and benevolent he is? Bad things happen to all kinds of people, whether they are Christians or not, and whether they pray or not. I wonder if Spiegel went into what specifically we are supposed to trust God to do. I trust that God will raise me from the dead because he raised Jesus from the dead and made lofty promises on the condition of my conversion. But I don’t really trust God to always take care of me in this life, to provide for my basic needs, etc., because people in this world starve, end up on the streets, lose their cats, remain lifelong bachelors, and all kinds of terrible things. God hasn’t given me much reason to expect him to always prevent these things, even for those who call on his name.

    • Amy Hall says:

      How can we trust God to spare us miserable suffering when there’s obviously no guarantee that he will, regardless of how knowledgable and benevolent he is?

      The answer is that you certainly can’t trust Him to spare you suffering, so that’s not the trust we need to cultivate. So the question is, what does it mean to trust God, and how do I do that in a world (and a life) of relentless evil and suffering? I’ve really been thinking about this a lot lately–all these things you’ve mentioned. The answer, I think, is that we need to trust God to conform us to the image of His son, for our good, as it says in Romans 8. This means that everything that happens to us, God considers important for that end. So we have to trust Him to know how best to do this, trust that He’s sovereign over everything, and trust that all things are working toward this greatest good end in our lives. We also have to trust that being conformed to Christ is the greatest good! This can’t be done without God enabling us to do this, so we need to ask for His help.

      I just read a book that really helped me work through some of this: Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts. Here are a few quotes:

      “He always has a purpose for the grief He brings or allows to come into our lives. Most often we do not know what that purpose is, but it is enough to know that His infinite wisdom and perfect love have determined that the particular sorrow is best for us. God never wastes pain. He always uses it to accomplish His purpose. And His purpose is for His glory and our good. Therefore, we can trust Him when our hearts are aching or our bodies are racked with pain”

      “God knows exactly what He intends we become and He knows exactly what circumstances, both good and bad, are necessary to produce that result in our lives.”

      “He knows infallibly with infinite wisdom what combination of good and bad circumstances will bring us more and more into sharing His holiness. He never puts too much of the “salt” of adversity into the recipe of our lives. His blending of adversity and blessing is always exactly right for us.”

      “God does not just respond to an adversity in our lives to make the best of a bad situation. He knows before He initiates or permits the adversity exactly how He will use it for our good.”

      I really recommend that book.

  2. Sam Harper says:

    You have to consider the will of God, too. God’s will is that everybody die sooner or later. In every case of a situation where your life might be in danger, it’s natural to want to pray for your safety (or somebody else’s), but if you prayed about every single one of those situations, eventually God would have to refuse your request. So you really can’t trust God to grant any kind of safety request (e.g. like when you drive long distances) since sooner or later, you have to die, and you don’t know when.