A Conundrum Wrapped in a Mystery
Jerry Bridges in, Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, lists these points as his takeaway in chapter 1 of the book.
"The Scriptures teach us three essential truths about God—truths we must believe if we are to trust Him in adversity. They are:
God is completely sovereign.
God is infinite in wisdom.
God is perfect in love.
Someone has expressed these three truths as they relate to us in this way: 'God in His love 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.'"
In the study guide for the book Bridges asks this question—an odd one on the face of it, but an interesting one. He asks: "Do you think Christians struggle more with questions and uncertainties in the midst of adversity than nonbelievers? Why or why not?
How would you answer that question? Obviously if we have a "why or why not?" there is no right or wrong answer—this is a matter of personal opinion. Here is how I responded to the question when I did this study years ago.
"Perhaps more, because they [believers] are 'trusting God' and can't figure out why God isn't 'fixing' it or why he allowed it in the first place. The unbeliever perhaps accepts the reality of an imperfect world without the complication of trusting a perfect God who doesn't seem to be perfectly in control."
You would think the opposite would be true—that believers would have fewer struggles with adversity than nonbelievers.
Would I change my answer these many years later? I'm not sure.
What strikes me now as I consider the question again is this idea of control. If I am the "mistress of my own fate" then for good or for ill I can deal with the world on my own terms, make my own decisions, and trust in myself to know what is best for me. But if I must submit to a higher authority and allow Him to determine what is best for me, I am faced again with the inevitable question: "I trust myself as a rational, mature human being, but can I trust Him?"
Few of us happily choose to relinquish control of our lives to someone else, and only then if we trust that person implicitly. And we only trust implicitly when we know that person very well.
An "ah-ha" moment. The better we know God, the easier it is to turn over control of our lives to Him, to trust Him.
Though it is impossible to know everything there is to know about the Almighty—He is so far beyond us—it is possible to know enough about Him to happily trust Him even when we can't see Him, or understand what He is up to in our lives. We trust Him to the extent we know Him.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." —Proverbs 3:5, 6
More to come.