Can God Be Trusted?

It’s a simple question. Can God be trusted? Can we take Him at His word? Are His promises real and true even if they are made to fallible and fickle people? People like you and me? Can my obstinate disobedience, my sin, my brokenness undo the promises God has made regarding salvation and redemption? If you cannot trust God’s promises, then nothing is safe. If God did not, or has not, or will not fulfill His promises to Israel then how do you have any surety that He has or will be true to His promises to you and me? Romans 11 visits this question directly and in a way the whole section to which Romans 11 belongs, chapters 9-11 are focused in this direction.

Thankfully, the text leaves no ambiguity. Yes, God is trustworthy. Yes, He is true to His promises. But, just as with Israel, God does not have to work out His promises in the way we anticipate. In other words, God’s promises are unfailing but the danger comes when we begin to dictate the terms on which God must fulfill His promises. The great tragedy of the Jewish people is that they missed (and by-in-large are still missing) their Messiah. Why? Largely because their ‘terms’ for the promised Messiah were not met. As such they rejected Jesus and the grace He held out to them because they were sure that their way was ‘right’ and His way was ‘wrong.’

I hope (and pray) that most readers of this are clear on who Jesus is and have a personal, saving relationship with Him. Still, I find that I can be like the Jews. I can at times dictate to God the terms on which He must work in my life or even in certain circumstances. As a result, I miss His work or even worse doubt His work. I let my terms become the focus of my faith rather than God’s promise.

Let me give one illustration of this which might help it come alive for you. God promises to be with me. He promises to be for my good. He promises to be forming me into the image of His Son. But, let my story take a turn I don’t like and didn’t anticipate and questions start to flood my world. At the core of all of them is this one, “Can God be trusted?” Yes. He can be. I have to surrender to Him in my doubts. I have to allow His promises to be fulfilled on His terms.

Let me close with this thought. Trusting God is the matter at question from the Garden of Eden to the present. “Can God be trusted?” is almost a summary of the interaction the serpent has with Eve. And her response and Adam’s as well indicate the weakness that still infects our hearts. When we choose to trust God that is faith. And He has proven Himself trustworthy.

 

As a post-script, let me share a poem I wrote recently, reflecting on some of these very issues.

 

Surrendering the Pen (Again)

 

Who can know or would even care to count

The times I took the pen from Your hand

Demanding like a selfish child that I knew better

That I could write the next bit of the story without Your Help

Only a fool would know better but still demand

Freedom to script the play without the Author’s insight

 

Who can know or would be able to count

The times You graciously reminded me

The story is not my own

Your Son the main point

In Your kindness my sub-plot is about Him

 

Who can know or would count the twists and turns

The times You mercifully showed me

Your Providence and Sovereignty are a mystery

But they are not cold and distant

They come wrapped in a Father’s love

Such love pushes the pen

 

Who can know or would count the ways

You are weaving our mysterious journey

Into a tale too marvelous for us to guess

All the countless threads beautiful in Your tapestry

What tragedy will turn to joy

What joy will turn to sorrow

What isn’t visible to us yet that we could never guess

 

Who can know or would count the ways

You patiently teach me all of this again

So I relinquish the pen (again)

 

Author of me

Write Your story

Mystery

Romance

Tragedy

Comedy

Thriller

I surrender the pen

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