Is God great enough and wise enough and transcendent enough to be trusted?
That question has been buzzing around in my head like a Texas mosquito on a hot summer day – as much as I try to swat it away it is relentless in coming back at me. And, honestly, I know the answer – the answer is YES. I also know that’s not all of the answer because the follow-up is – then what? If God can really be trusted then how do we live.
I must admit my mind goes in the direction of living up to and into that trust. Maybe it’s my Catholic background that puts an edge of guilt into the question – “Do you trust me? Then live like it.” I begin to think about all the ways I don’t trust God and the ways I live as a person who doesn’t trust God. But, I have found that to be a self-defeating mindset. I’m not perfect and I do not trust God perfectly – go figure. Turns out I’m not Jesus! Turns out God’s not asking me to BE Jesus, He’s asking me to FOLLOW Jesus.
As I wrote that last paragraph another question popped into my head – one Jesus DID ask – “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep.” Funny how that question compares to my own, don’t you think? My question has God asking me to overcome all my faults and wrong-headed decisions. Jesus question simply asks Peter to serve others. He didn’t chastise Peter for his obvious lack of courage and commitment (see the story in Matthew 26). He didn’t say – if you love me stop being such a butterhead.
So, I guess I need to hear God differently – If God can be trusted, what is he asking me to be a part of? What is God calling me to be a part of that would require me to trust him? A vision campaign that has an absurdly large ultimate goal? A call to help Asbury move toward greater ministry with people under the age of 45 when only 20% of our church membership is in that age range (as opposed to 75% of the community that is within 15 minutes drive time of Asbury)? Nurturing new Christian leaders that will be part of the future God has planned?
If God is great enough and wise enough and transcendent enough to be trusted, maybe those calls to engage in new ministry in new ways are not so far fetched.
I realized the truth of that just the other day. I had a phone call from someone who has initiated the Blankets and Blessings ministry – a ministry of help and hope for those who are facing end-of-life issues. The ministry has taken off, the enthusiasm of the people who have gotten involved is tremendous and it seems the whole endeavor is mushrooming (I told some friends about this and said it all began when I ask the question – “What in God’s name do you think you’re doing?” And they answered in a big way). Anyway, the group’s enthusiasm and the multitude of ideas that were flowing seem to be moving the ministry in a variety of directions different from what the initial person heard as their call, but all good things. That leader called me for advice regarding these great developments, and I gave some. However, it turns out that my perspective did not compare to God’s vision.
After having gotten frustrated by trying to pursue other avenues and making phone calls that weren’t returned, this ministry leader finally got connected with a person who worked with a Hospice organization. They were excited about the ministry and wanted to meet with the group, which they did. The end result so far is a ministry that began with a clear vision and a God who made that vision a reality in His time and in His way.
Turns out God is great enough and wise enough and involved enough to be trusted.
Who knew? Hope you do.
Holy high five to you, Mike.