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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Filtering by Tag: Matthew 6

Do I trust God?

Ben Goshow

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus argues that we can trust one of two things: God or money. "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one or love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money," (6:24). I've written two essays recently, where I readily admit my inability to name the degree to which I trust money as a source of security and happiness. By God's grace, we are amply supplied and have been for the bulk of our growing up and marriage. So it has not yet been my opportunity to learn, with Paul, the true secret of contentment. This apprenticeship would demand scarcity and lack.

But similarly, it may well be that our trust in God can only be measured when we go without - when prayers find no visible answer, when God seems distant, when everyday faith feels more like best guess than real certainty. We learn to trust God when the circumstances provide no real evidence of his trustworthiness. Like the saints in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, we know we've got the goods (that is, of faith and substantive trust) when we go without - and yet remain confident in God. "They did not receive what was promised," the writer of Hebrews concludes, describing how their faith was, in many cases, an act of anticipation.

So do I trust God? The most valid measure may be when God delays and the immediacy of my needs are not met immediately, when I pray and continue praying without visible and miraculous intervention from the heavens.

Do I trust God when I want and am obliged to wait?

Here are some qualities that I think are true of trust:

Peace. The confident reassurance that God is in control.

Joy. The ready delight to see God’s plan unfold.

Patience. The ability to wait on God.

Surrender. The willingness to lay down demands.

Love. The affection that grows in the anticipation of God’s provision and protection.

Obedience. The commitment to do what God asks—even when it doesn’t make sense.

Confidence. The abiding sense that God’s plans are good and wise.

Boldness. The lion-hearted faith that risks.

May we each learn this trust and with Paul, confidently affirm:

"And my God will supply every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:19

Autumn Days

jenmichel@me.com

The leaf sacheted and fluttered without a sound. Yellow brilliance, twirling and spinning and falling. A thing of beauty, this solitary leaf in its descent. The twins and I take our routine walk around the block after lunch, and we pick leaves. Andrew hands me a fistful of brown. Consider the lilies of the field. . .the birds of the air. . the falling leaves, these lessons scripted in the winds and the fields and the trees. Fall's leaves - fiery reds, the golden yellows -they are the radiant dying. Fall in all its glory is the prelude to winter's death.

I consider all that has been dying in the autumn days that silently chilled into my winter.

Fear. Perfectionism. Hurry. Ambition. Leaves falling soundlessly, imperceptibly, until it's as if the Maker Himself has shaken the tree and hurled His weight against its branches. Shedding. Forfeiting. Relinquishing. Letting Go.

Eugene Peterson describes this in his book, The Jesus Way. Speaking of Abraham, Peterson writes, "Habits of relinquishment became deeply ingrained in [him]. They become deeply ingrained in us as we read. Leaving Ur and Haran, leaving Shechem and Bethel, leaving Egypt and Gerar, leaving Beersheba. Leaving, leaving, leaving. But every leaving was also a lightening of self, a further cleansing of the toxins of acquisition. A life of getting was slowly but surely replaced by a life of receiving - receiving the promises, receiving the covenants, receiving the three strangers, receiving Isaac, receiving circumcision, receiving the three strangers, receiving Isaac, receiving circumcision, receiving a lamb in the thicket - being transformed into a life that abandons self-sovereignty and embraces God-sovereignty. . .In the process of leaving behind, Abraham became more, gradually but certainly realizing that relinquishment is prerequisite to fulfillment, that letting go of a cramped self-will opened up to an expansive God-willed life. Faith."

Relinquish.  Autumn's mandate. Wait. Winter's Test. Receive. Spring's promise.