I had a disconcerting epiphany recently. I know where I strive, where I hold on and grasp, where I don’t trust God. Every man (and person) has at least one place where this is true. Just look for your repetitive sin, insecurities and fear- that’s where you'll find yours. For me, the lifelong struggle to trust God has been in my professional life. While grace seems to flow in my marriage and many other areas of my life, trusting deeply in the Lord in the area of provision has always been a challenge.
Not surprisingly, this striving in my professional life is related to a deep wounding that left me believing that I was “on my own”. From that grew a deep seated self-sufficiency, trusting only myself to take care of things. Even as I’ve come into deeper relationship with the Lord, I viewed this self-sufficiency in a benign way. I knew I didn’t fully trust God, but it didn’t seem like too big a deal. Then came the revelation of how insidious and scary this really was.
I found three distinct levels in my mistrust. Level 1: God is not actively engaged and advocating for me (in my case- material needs). My life experience (or my perception of it) tells me that God’s goodness has not been overly abundant. Now, there is truth in this, but not the one I perceived. The truth is that God’s grace has been pretty hit and miss in this part of life. But,not because He doesn’t care or isn’t engaged. It is because I’ve locked him out. I’ve largely taken care of it on my own, consulting my own wisdom, my own desire, my own strength. I’ve left Him without much room or opportunity to bestow grace!
Level II mistrust is a bit deeper, a little more malevolent. Not only do I not trust God to “do me good”, neither do I trust Him to protect me from harm. Basically, He is an absentee God. The scripture that says God goes before, stands beside, but I do not believe. He has abandoned me to my fate. You may recognize this as a “heresy” in theological terms. It’s also a heresy of the heart.
Finally, the deepest mistrust of all is the place in my heart where I have made God my enemy. First, He’s benign, giving me little or nothing that is good. Then, He’s absent and fails to protect me from bad. Finally, I impute ill-will or evil to Him. He is the ‘Withholder’, the ‘Punisher’, the ‘Maker of Trouble’. At a deep heart level, God is the author of my hardship. He’s on the other side. He’s the one who is responsible for my hardship. Here, in the deepest recesses of my heart, I have found God, and He is my enemy. He is, in my heart, the author of my pain and suffering. He is not my “strong fortress”, but the very source of my pain.
Find your own deep pain, your own mistrust, your deepest fear, your own wounding that time and again unsettles you, and you will find the place where you treat God as your enemy. And when you find it, you’ll know…because you will want to run! But once you find it, healing and freedom can finally come. That, in Part II