July 04, 2014

Can We Trust God?

Romans 8:18-28

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
—Romans 8:28


While it may feel good to hear that God will make sure our stories turn out well, most of the time we don’t really want to have someone else taking charge of our lives. If you’ve ever had someone try to get you to work harder or eat better or quit smoking, you know how frustrating intervention can be. As much as we might like to think we’re rational people, often we’d really rather live a second-rate life on our own terms than do better because someone else told us or nagged us into it.

Of course, it should sound outrageous for us to rebel directly against the authority of God in our lives. After all, he’s God, King of the universe, so we’re supposed to do as he says—right? Yet even we as God’s people willfully rebel against God’s directions (for example, see the story of Jonah in the Old Testament). But more ­often we try subtler approaches, pretending to follow God’s way while in our hearts we keep our distance from him.

It all boils down to a simple point: We are terrible at trusting God to be God. We’d rather manage on our own and mess things up. Pastor Timothy Keller paraphrases today’s verse this way: God promises to give us exact­ly what we would ask for if we knew what he knew.

Now that will make for a good story—if we dare to believe it.

God, it can be so hard for us to trust you with our lives. Help us dare to trust that you always have our best interests in mind. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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