I want to be strong. I want to help. I like to see myself as a problem-solver. Words are where I’m strongest. I’m a communicator by nature, and a Bible teacher by trade. I hate finding myself in situations where my logic or rhetoric can’t see someone through a challenge. I tend to think that as long as I’m with someone, consistently, God will eventually change his or her heart. Having the door to a relationship closed is the most gut-wrenching thing I face. As long as I’m with someone, they can be helped. Once I can no longer be with them, I lose hope.
For me, there is no worse feeling on the planet than feeling powerless. When a relationship is cut off, I feel powerless. I know that this is all rooted in sin. The arrogance I vomited in the first paragraph is disgusting. I see that. Some people call it a “Messiah Complex.” That’s probably strong. But, I hate that about myself. I want to help people so badly. I want them to work through their sin. I want to see them transform. I want them to see and experience the grace of God, be full of His peace, find the healing that I know God brings. But most of the time I just don’t trust God enough to make it happen; I think I have to be there.
This is brutally honest. It is really vulnerable. I don’t particularly care. Don’t let yourself off the hook either, because here is the truth of the matter: everyone else’s sin stinks more than our own…or so we think. Every single one of us has a faith that wanes in unique situations.
Maybe it’s money for you. You need security. You check your account daily, saving every last penny. No generosity. No enjoyment of God’s blessings, just stingy, penny-counting faithlessness. Money doesn’t faze me. I’ve never once doubted that God will provide all that I could ever need. I will never starve, I trust God for that.
Maybe it’s health. You workout daily, eat everything organic. You track your calorie count, freak out over one additional pound, and fill your cabinet with vitamins. You don’t have freedom, just slavery to some hijacked version of being “natural.” Health doesn’t faze me. I work out as often as I can. I eat well, probably too much, but nothing too terrible. Regardless, God could send a terminal illness tomorrow and I so fully and whole-heartedly trust in His sovereignty over my life that (I imagine) I would face it head on.
But me…relationships affect me. I don’t like to be rejected. Not because I personally don’t like to be rejected, but because I don’t trust God enough with the people in my life. I see myself as necessary. I see myself as important. So a constant exercise for me is turning the people in my life over to God.
In Psalm 42:5 the psalmist has a wrestling match with his soul.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
This is what I have to do. I have to come to God, yell at my soul, and tell it to trust in Him already! I want to trust Him with the people in my life, but it’s hard. I want to be there for them. I want to help. I want to see them through. And when they cut me out it stings like salt in a wound. But I cling to Him. I feast on Him. I bring the huge burden of their well-being before Him, confess my faulty assumptions, knowing that they are always in His hands. They weren’t in my hands to begin with, and neither is your money or health. I repeat to myself theological platitudes about God’s strength and power over other people’s lives to the point of ad nauseum. Why? Because I am wrestling with my soul to “put your hope in God!” And when my soul just won’t trust in God, I confess it to Him. I know that I have placed my faith in a Savior who has perfectly trusted God.
Notice what Jesus says in John 17
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.”
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Jesus’ departure had to have been difficult. He had been physically with them. He had to perfectly and wholly trust God (the Trinity) for the well-being His disciples.
None of this is pretty. We all are self-reliant. We all presume ourselves to be more important than we are, more powerful than we are, more necessary than we are. And those are the areas where our faith in God must grow and our faith in self must be killed. But here is the really beautiful truth: God has given us His Spirit. And His Spirit is always doing surgery on you. He is revealing these areas to us, and empowering us to bring them before God. He is granting us the strength to confess, repent, and believe. God, in His grace, does not leave me wallowing in my powerlessness, rather, by His Spirit he transforms my heart to let go of my doubt and cling to Him.
I know where my faith is weak. I know that I need God’s grace to trust Him more. Where is your faith weak? Where do you need to trust God more?