These questions have weighed heavily on my mind since Levi Masalin's death and were furthered by a recent sermon by Thomas Wong, pastor at Point Community Church in North Brunswick, NJ.
Lord, I trust you. I know you do not forget us. Isaiah 40:27-28. You are living and active and intentional. I do not claim to understand you. Isaiah 55:8. And I do fear you. Psalm 40:3. Do I trust you because I have to? Because I fear the wrath of not trusting you? Because I was taught to? Because I am humbled by lack of understanding? Because I know you are good and worth trusting? Yes. How do I know you are good? Has my life been easy enough thus far for me to just think you are good because I have not personally experienced enough bad to think otherwise? Has the Bible shown me through examples that you do good for people who trust you? Romans 8:28. I almost wrote "you do good for most of the people who trust you" because many... scratch that... most of them were persecuted because they trusted you. How can you have done good for them if the good you did was not, well, good? Either you are not who you say you are or I have misconceived what "good" is.
America thinks "good" is success, health, good relationships and general well-being in our current circumstance. Is that what good is, God? Disciples and prophets were stoned, beheaded, speared and crucified because they loved you. Yet you say all things come together for the good of those who love you. That certainly does not fit into America's conception of "good." Philippians 4:11-13. Rather, you give peace beyond understanding Philippians 4:7, grace Romans 3:23-24, strength to endure trials Philippians 4:13, hope that will never disappoint Romans 5:3-5, assurance of love that never fades Romans 8:38-39 and joy abounding Psalm 28:7. Obviously, your definition of "good" is different from man's definition. Both definitions cannot be true, so which one is true or as westerners would says it, which truth do I choose to believe? I choose to believe that your good is "gooder" than our "good." If I do not choose you over concern for my circumstance, I will neither receive the "good" that I seek (for it is unattainable and unsatisfying) nor the good that you offer.
Yet many Christians go on thinking they trust you when really they only trust themselves and their pocketbooks. How many of us will only "trust" you until our American dream collapses? That is false trust. Test me God. When you permit trials and suffering, do I see it as a fulfillment of your promise to me or as an obstacle to your promise to me? Again Isaiah 40:27-28. I must demonstrate my trust in you through my actions and perspective and not fall back into a false trust. Lord, Grant me your perspective and teach me to fear you rather than fear fearing you.
Might I add that I have learned more about trusting the Lord by watching Levi Masalin's family this month than I have from any Bible story. Even after losing their son, they chose to rely on God and to trust Him and you know what? God has proven trustworthy in an undeniable way. I will never be the same. http://ledyard.patch.com/articles/their-lives-have-called-us-together#c
And truth about the good that God offers in no way negates the truth I wrote about in a prev. post: http://heatherpaiges.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-have-something-to-say.html