I have had to ask myself how much I am willing to trust God this week. One factor in this questioning was the fact that I was given the text of John 18:1-11 to preach from last Sunday (read the sermon notes here; listen to the sermon here). This passage is about the arrest of Jesus by a mob of soldiers, priests, servants, and Pharisees. The main message that came out of the text was that "Jesus willingly and sacrificially lay down his life to do the will of the Father." It cost Jesus much to do the will of God. He had the ability to make a different choice. He could have walked away from the arrest. He could have fought his way out of the arrest. He could have called 72,000 angels to wipe out this mob. Instead, he trusted that God knew the right path. He trusted that the cup that was there for him to drink was uniquely his and represented the best way to live and die.
I have found myself analyzing this approach over the last week or so. What does this mean for my life? How do I willingly do the will of God, the Father? How do I sacrificially live my life for others?
I have read two articles which help with my perspective on this. One, about marriage, reminds me that I still have much to learn about living sacrificially toward my wife. Sarah Markley writes, ". . . it’s a struggle each day to love well and like wading through mud to suppress our own selfish inclinations. Each step toward Jesus and toward grace is harder than the last . . ."1 I can relate to "my own selfish inclinations" all too well. How do I really love my wife with whom I have journeyed for over 31 years. How do I give her the respect she deserves as a child of God? How do I set aside my stuff?
My own selfish inclinations say, I can do this my own way. Jesus says, "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" There it is, that unswerving trust that says, "the Father knows best." He really has the best plan for our lives.
The second article that has been a help in this week's journey is one entitled, "Why I Don't Believe in God Anymore." Peter Enns has said, that rather than believing in God, he trusts God. This he says is far more demanding.2
Perhaps that is where it comes down to for me: trust. Can I trust this God whom I do not understand nearly well enough? Can I say, with Peter Enns and others, that I cannot get all of my beliefs about God to line up and make complete sense? I know I can say, "God, there is so much about you that is a mystery to me." "God, there is so much about how you reveal yourself to people that is still a mystery to me." "God, there is still much in the Bible that I do not understand." Many times I have echoed the words of a father with a sick child: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24); today I want to say to God, "I do trust you; help me overcome my un-trust."
1 (Markley 2013)
2 “The older I get, making sure all my “beliefs” of God are lined up as they should be loses more and more of its luster. I see the Bible focusing a lot more on something far more demanding: trust. Try it. Which is harder to say? I believe in God or I trust God?” (Enns 2013)
Enns, Peter. Patheos: Hosting the Conversation on Faith.
March 1, 2013.
(accessed March 6, 2013).
Markley, Sarah. "When a Post-Crisis
Marriage is Full of Imperfections." The Best Days of My Life. February
27, 2013. http://www.sarahmarkley.com/2013/02/marriage-imperfect/
(accessed March 6, 2013).