The question arose recently in my Bible study asking how much I trust God. There was a staircase on the page with the top stair labeled 'Trust Him with everything' and the bottom stair labeled 'No trust.' We were asked to place ourselves somewhere on that staircase.
I looked at those stairs and I realized there are areas where I have seen and experienced God's work in my life, and therefore I trust Him completely. Like the area of finances and provision. I have seen God provide in so many miraculous ways over the last 15 years that I now believe He truly is Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.
But there are other areas where I have prayed and fasted for years, and not yet seen the breakthrough, the answered prayer. And so I doubt. Not that God can do it, but that for some reason He won't, and I guess somewhere deep down that doubt causes me to withhold my trust a little bit.
So I find my trust in God compartmentalized into the areas where I've seen and experienced His faithfulness, and the areas I haven't. Where I haven't, it's like little sections of my heart have dried and withered in disappointment, in unfulfilled dreams, in failed expectations. In those places I've slowly stopped hoping for God's miracles; I've stopped trusting Him to do the impossible.
Is that what they call a crisis of faith? Or is it just one result of years of waiting without reward?
As I began processing this with God, He asked me, "If I don't answer the prayers in the areas of your life where doubts have crept in...then what? Will you withdraw? Will you become bitter? Will you shut down certain areas of your heart to me? Will you judge me by the unfulfilled dreams of your life?"
I realized that I could say, "No, of course not!" to all those questions, but the reality is that I have already been withdrawing, becoming bitter, shutting down, and yes, judging God. Ouch.
Then God asked me a challenging question:
"Who do you say I am?"
I felt like Job, chastened. Faced with the hugeness of the Almighty God, I wanted to cower down and say, "Sorry, sorry." Who am I to withhold trust based on experiential proof? A modern-day Thomas, wanting to touch and see before believing.
Then God reminded me of the 5-fold Pledge of Faith that Beth Moore teaches in her Believing God Bible study series. The first part of the pledge starts with the thumb and declares, "I believe God is who He says He is."
So when God asked me again, "Who do you say I am?" I answered, "You are who you say you are."
He replied, "And who do I say I am?"
I've just been studying the names of God, and one by one they rolled through my mind:
Jehovah Rapha - the LORD who heals
Elohiym - Universal Creator
Jehovah Hoseenu - The LORD our Maker
Jehovah Nissi - The LORD is my Banner
There are many others, but the one that struck me most was YHVH - the LORD, the Great I AM.
God said, "I AM who I AM. There is none like me. Whether you believe by experience or not, I AM not only Covenant-Maker but Covenant-Keeper. I fulfill my promises. Don't separate the Me you know from the Me you don't know. I AM who I AM. Just because you haven't personally experienced the fullness of every aspect of Me doesn't mean those aspects aren't real. You have to take All of Me or none of Me, but you can't have part of Me. One day you will see the fullness of every aspect of Me in all My glory, but for now...believe, even though you do not see."
And I was reminded of the verses in Hebrews 11:
Faith is being sure of what we hope for,
and certain of what we do not see.
And without faith,
it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who come to him
must believe that he exists
...that He IS...
and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
I feel the world shift under my feet as I take in afresh the realization that God is all that he says he is, and though I may not see every prayer answered the way I would like, it doesn't change the nature of who He is. For now, the best I can do is ask Him to strengthen my faith and enable me to trust Him more and more until that Day when the Lord Jesus is revealed, and all my questions fade away in the face of his glory.