How to Trust When Life Teaches You Not To
My earliest childhood memory originated from a minor trauma. I was two or three years old and was standing in the basket of a shopping cart. We were in the produce section, and the wheels of the cart caught on a strip of black tubing that jutted into the aisle. Mom jostled the basket to free the wheels, and without intending to, tipped me out. I fell and hit my head. But more than the physical pain, I suffered my first taste of betrayal and disappointment.
You see, my mom loved me. She protected me. She’d never allow me to feel pain. So how could she let this happen to me? I trusted her, and she let me down.
These same feelings of betrayal often manifest themselves in my Christian life as well. I believe with all my heart that God loves me. That he is good and mighty to save. Hasn’t he promised that all things will work for the good for those who love him? Yet bad things happen. Jobs are lost. Loved ones die. Illnesses come. Evil attacks. It feels as if God has failed to uphold his end of the bargain.
The trouble lies not with the promises of God, but with my own expectations. I tend to view his pledged gifts through a human lens. I expect physical manifestations such as health, provision, even prosperity. However, God places much more value on what is eternal and warns his followers not to expect a pain-free life.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:12-13).
If I shift my focus from the physical plane to the spiritual one, my expectations shift as well. Bitterness and disappointment disappear, and I rediscover joy. No longer do I feel betrayed when life treats me harshly. Instead I bask in the spiritual gifts he showers upon me: patience to endure hardship, wisdom to understand the bigger picture, compassion to minister to others who suffer alone.
It is a constant struggle to maintain an eternal focus. I fail more often than I succeed. But the more I try, the more I comprehend this truth: The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. (Psalm 145:13).
Bestselling author Karen Witemeyer explores the theme of trust—with God and others—in her latest novel, A Worthy Pursuit. She writes historical romance because she believes in giving the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.