Saturday, July 13, 2013

In God We Trust

"In God We Trust" are four words that can evoke an ardent and heated political debate in some circles.  If it does in yours, let's just check that self-righteous indignation here and now.  Stop forming a rebuttal until you know what I'm actually saying.  This is not a political post nearly so much as a personal questioning.   It's not about the de-Christianization (or Christianization, depending on what side of that argument you are on) of America nearly so much as the de-Christianization of my own self.  And you worry worts concerned that damnation is the eternal fate of my soul... you can just put that on hold, too.

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We see the phrase "In God We Trust" many times in our life.   It's on our money, implicit in our pledge of allegiance, part of jokes (aka In God we trust... all others pay cash), in much of our patriotic music, and is the very essence of our personal professions of faith.  The words are easy to say, gliding off the tongue in honeyed tones so familiar that we never even stop to consider what we are saying.

Of course we trust God.  Who even has to think about something so basic?

But do we really?

It's easy to happily trust while things are going along smoothly and just as we like.  Our intelligence and free agency make us want to be in control and have life's events happen according to our timeline and imaginings.  Then when hard times come, we ask "why me?"  We lash out wondering why we've fallen out of favor with God.  We alienate ourselves from what we perceive as His presence.

Does this sound like a relationship of trust?  Would you trust another person who treated you that way?

So... maybe a more relevant question is "Does God trust us?"

Can He?  Should He?  Have we given Him any reason to believe what we say when the words have become so glib?  Do our actions authentically match our stated beliefs?

If I'm honest about answering those questions myself, I have to admit that I stand convicted.  At times, some recent, me and God have had some issues and I've turned away for space to sort out my feelings by myself.  But I've always trusted that He is big enough to handle it when I get angry with Him and weep and wail and gnash my teeth in frustration.

Lately there's a prayer that's been forming in the back of my mind.  And yes, I am blunt when I talk to God.  I don't really believe in pulling punches.  And really, what would be the point of holding back on a being who's supposed to be all knowing?

Dear God,

Hey... it's me, again.  You do remember I'm not Jonah, right?  I'm starting to think You got confused about who was who because I don't think my faith is strong enough to survive any more time in this proverbial 'fish belly.'  Kudos to him on that all faith and patience, but those are not the gifts You gave me.  If there's some important lesson that I was supposed to learn will You just consider me too dumb to cipher it out on my own and tell me?  I want out of the misery You've seen fit to let me thus far endure.  I'm not ashamed to tell You I don't do misery and destitution well and I don't understand why You're leaving me dangling here.  Pretty often it feels like Your answer to my prayer is You flipping me the bird.  And that makes me kind of angry.  Ok, not kind of...  It makes me angry.  It makes me very angry with You.

We both know, don't we God, that You're going to do whatever it is that gives You pleasure whenever You decide the time is right?  My only choice is whether to fight it or accept it - to embrace Your will or turn my back and walk away.  You do know how tempting it is to walk away in anger right now, don't You?  I really need that little glimpse into Your plans to pull me back from the edge and help me believe that my needs are really going to be met in Your hands.  I need to know that You're not going to leave me doubting forever.  I want that little pat on the head to remind me that You're there, that You really do care and that I am important in Your eternal plan.  I hope that's not too much to ask for...

God, I want to trust You again.  And I want You to trust me.  And maybe I'm being a spoiled brat about it but I can't do that while my heart is raging and miserable and filled with fear for the future.  Please show me Your way out!


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