I’ve noticed that living on one income has caused some new emerging behaviours. I used to be very critical of fruit. As in, if it was even slightly past what I deemed as perfection, I would toss it out. Well, I’ve noticed myself steering away from such arrogant fruit standards because I’m trying not to be wasteful. I had bought some nectarines about a week ago, and I took one out yesterday. Well, all I can say is that it would definitely NOT have passed my previous criterion. It certainly wasn’t presenting at its optimum firmness. I took a few bites and it actually wasn’t bad! But as soon as I got a bit closer to the centre, I didn’t even bother investigating. I just chucked it out. There are still limits on my ability to trust fruit.
I have limits on my ability to trust God too. I find that every new season brings my existing trust boundary into plain sight. The rest of that season is a process of broadening that boundary further out so that I have more trust again for the next season. My desire is to ensure that it’s an ever-widening perimeter.
Lately, I had been sitting in my chair just wondering why trusting God is difficult. There are a lot of good reasons I found on the net: Parental relationships, childhood experiences…but when I really dug deep and examined my own heart, there was only one answer that would suffice…doubt.
Ok more specifically…We have deep reservations about Gods inherent nature. The standout quality under scrutiny is His GOODNESS. Let’s face it – we just aren’t that sure all the time, that God is really GOOD. We see so many things happening around us, and even happening to us. It just makes it so hard. But our trust in God is dependent on it.
Here’s the thing. God IS good. He’s even better than we think.
My husband’s new role has had him travelling a fair bit. I know what work trips are like, there are a whole lot of temptations that naturally arise…I’ve found myself praying for him a lot more, after hearing one too many broken relationships triggered by work travel. Even though there is still wisdom and discernment necessary, there is something in me that is quietly confident. My husband is a GOOD man. He may forget to take me on a date, He might forget to say thank you. But He has never given me any real reason to doubt his faithfulness. It’s the same with God.
Why should the stories out there change my own personal knowledge of His goodness? I’ve got history-upon-history of God faithfully loving me with kindness and goodness. Delivering me. Saving me. Healing me. Comforting me. It’s true that our image of God is in a constant state of moulding, as we grow to know Him more. But if we aren’t careful, that mouldable image is being influenced by other peoples experiences instead of our own. I don’t want people to adopt a perception of me based on what they hear, see or feel from a distance! I’d rather them come close and get to know me for who I am.
So I guess my whole point is, for our trust to grow in God our understanding of His goodness needs to get bigger. And that can only happen through getting up close and personal. Like the verse suggests in Psalm 34:8*, we actually have to sink our teeth into that nectarine if we really want to know it’s goodness.
*Taste & see that the Lord is good
Melanie J. Saward is a Pastor and leader in Australia where she has focused on small group ministries. She practiced as a Rehabilitation Counsellor for about 10 years in the corporate environment before entering full-time church ministry. She is also the author of Ministry Stinks.