Whatever God is urging you to clear away cannot be compared to what He ultimately wants to bring you. -Beth Moore
I love it when God speaks something to my heart through something I hear. He is always eager to speak to our hearts and reveal new things to us about Him. Driving in the car the other day, I was listening to the radio and I heard about a study where researchers took a group of children and gave them one marshmallow. They told the children that if they waited twenty minutes without eating their marshmallow, they would receive several in return. What they found was that the children who trusted authority were able to wait, but those children who had a distrust for authority went ahead and ate theirs. In other words, the kids who believed that the adult would really do as had been promised and had good intentions towards them were able to restrain themselves in return for something better. The other kids decided it was in their best interest to go ahead and eat the one because they didn’t know for sure that the adult would come through. They felt they had to look out for their own interests.
This little story actually spoke to me on a deep level. You never know when God will surprise you in the middle of your day with something about Him. I love how He’s like that. Waiting to speak at a moment’s notice, He wants for us to turn our hearts toward Him and He always knows where we’re at, just what we need and how to speak to us even in the middle of living life. He’s always listening, always moving, always pursuing and always loving us. Even when we can’t see it, that is what is true about Him. He will stop at nothing to win our hearts.
It’s amazing how you can believe you’re trusting God wholeheartedly and then He shows you a place that you’re still hanging onto. The richest and most privileged ones will never be satisfied without Him. The ones with the most friends and the best families will never be rid of the dull lonely ache of a heart unfulfilled by God. The smartest will never be truly wise without knowing Him. Whatever we think we’re after, it’s really God that we want. Sometimes the hardships of life are what God uses to do all that He’s wanting to do. Even when hardships are brought on by wrong choices, He is able to change hearts and move in our lives. I am a firm believer that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, God wants to show us something about Him we could have never seen in any other way. Sometimes, He shakes things lose – dreams we’ve had, things we’ve hoped for, health, financial stability etc – so that we let go of those things and hang onto Him. When we’re hanging onto Him we find that we’re really free. It’s not the things He provides or the gifts He gives that we’re after. It’s Him. When we’re grasping at other things and resisting Him, it’s because our view is a bit skewed and we’re a little confused about what it is we’re really seeking. We’re designed for Him. Nothing else will satisfy.
If we find it hard to do what He says, perhaps it’s because we don’t really trust Him. Like the children with the marshmallows, we grasp at what we think we need to be satisfied because we don’t really trust Him. We may say we do, but the way we grasp at other things continually reveals the true state of our hearts. So many times we are waiting for the next thing or the next season, but we can pursue God in the season we’re in. If we’re always waiting, we will never be satisfied. We just won’t. He won’t let us be. When we trust Him, obedience becomes easy. It’s not always simple, but we know that He is good. Jesus’ trust in the Father allowed Him to go to the cross. He asked if there was another way, but ultimately He said, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Knowing God intimately allows us to say that too. When we realize that everything He does is from a heart to love, obedience no longer seems arbitrary. He has a well formulated plan for our life and does not ask us to do random things because He’s on a power trip. He really knows what’s best. He knows how He designed us and what will bring life – not just for us, but for those around us too.
John 10:10 says that He came to give us life and life abundantly. I think we could all look around and realize that there are many with an outwardly abundant life who have bankrupt souls and others who have few earthly goods or extremely hard situations and have rich inner lives. Our circumstances are not an indicator of the state of our souls. God is primarily concerned with who we are – not the circumstances we are in. He wants to give us such abundant life that even in the midst of adversity, our life is abundantly full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness , gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22) When our treasure is Him, we’re not afraid to lose the things we hold dear because He is our ultimate treasure and He is strong enough to handle any situation we’re in. He promises that NOTHING can separate us from Him. Romans 8:38-39 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God’s love. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither our fears for today, nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or the earth below – indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We don’t have to live very long to realize that things in life can be ripped from our lives at a moment’s notice, but never Him and never His love for us. He promises that.
So what do we do when we realize that we have trust issues? We’ve heard He’s good, but we don’t REALLY believe it. We want to trust Him, but we’ve got some hangups. We want to be the kid with the marshmallow who waits and trusts, but we keep eating the one we have because in our heart we believe that God is holding out on us. Maybe we haven’t KNOWN that’s why we keep eating it, but now we do. That’s what Eve did, you know. She was deceived into believing that God was holding out on her and suddenly the forbidden fruit looked appetizing. I can almost guarantee that when forbidden fruit looks good, we have bought a lie. When we have caught a glimpse of Him, other things don’t look quite so beautiful. Things pale in comparison to Him. As a kid I always used to look at the sun (not very smart – I know) because I liked how everything looked dark afterward. It’s the same when our gaze finds Him – other things lose their hold on us.
We KNOW we should trust, but maybe we just don’t know Him that well yet. Can I just say that He is willing to meet us where we’re at? Hebrews 11:6 says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who comes to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. It’s impossible to do what God is asking (or not eat the marshmallow) without faith in God and believing He is who He says He is. It’s imperative for us to not only believe that He exists, but also that He REWARDS those who seek Him. So what do we do when we are even having a hard time with that? We ask. We ask Him to show us His heart towards us. He loves to do that and He knows how to do it. He is not at a loss how to speak to us. The only thing that keeps us from hearing is when we close our ears and start eating the marshmallows in our hands. Sometimes we’re so busy eating marshmallows, we can’t see Him.
What if we’re too fearful to give it all to Him? We need Him to show us His love for us. If we think that He is out to get us or is always watching for us to mess up, we will have a really hard time giving Him control of our lives. When we see His love, it casts out our fear. It really does. How scary can life be when you know you have the God of the universe who doesn’t only love but IS love holding onto your life. The storms still happen, but they feel a lot different when you’re held. They really do.
Look in your hands. What are you holding that you are having a hard time trusting Him with? What is it that you need Him to show you about Himself? Even if you don’t know what needs to be done, that doesn’t scare Him. He knows. I know this because I have been in the place before where I didn’t know what needed to be done. I just knew SOMETHING needed to be done and He did it. He revealed His heart, calmed mine and brought me to a place with Him I never knew existed. He wants to do this for all of us and continue to do it for each of us. We could spend every moment with Him for thousands of years and still not know all of the good things about Him or what He has prepared for those who love Him. I Corinthians 2:9 …”No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man IMAGINED, what God has prepared for those who love him.” Let’s give Him what is in our hands so that we can receive what is in His.