Trust His Heart
“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son. … There is trust in God, but no following of Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Cost of Discipleship
I admit it. I’ve been frustrated with God. I’ve been frustrated with God because it seems like He’s standing back, silently holding back His affection and blessing for some reason only known to Him. It reminds me a bit of Job. Job, a righteous, godly man, was served up to Satan on a silver platter by the King of all creation. Everything he had and everyone he loved were taken from him, and yet he never “curse[d] God and die[d]”.
I think all of us at different times understand a little bit of what Job felt. We as Christians desperately want to trust God. We want to believe that His heart toward us is loving and that there is a purpose for all the bad things we’ve experienced, yet our humanity undermines our ability to rationally and objectively examine our circumstances. If we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that we yearn for the easy way out. We want to be like Christ the very moment we believe, and we want God to place us in a bubble where that awful Satan can’t get to us and where nothing bad or hard ever happens.
I admit it, I often think that God’s promotion department missed a great opportunity. If God guaranteed a great, easy life with every gift of grace accepted, I think He’d have a lot more takers.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the distinction between “cheap” and “costly” grace. “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ. … Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ ” (The Cost of Discipleship)
Melissa Greene, a member of my favorite vocal quartet, Avalon, recently released her first solo album. 3 of the songs on the album were written during a time of incredible trial and grief. Her brother-in-law, a 32-year-old non-smoker and the father of a 3-year old, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Even though her family’s heartfelt prayers for his healing were answered with his passing, Melissa recounts how a message by Pastor Mike Glenn allowed her to understand an important spiritual truth. “The test of discipleship was not about understanding God. It was not about understanding His ways. It was not about understanding why He does what He does. It was about following Him. Jesus didn’t say to his disciples, ‘Get me.’ He simply said, ‘Follow me.'”
I don’t get God. And I’ve told Him so. I don’t understand why God does what He does. And frankly, the motivation for His actions wouldn’t be a big deal if life were going my way. But when things don’t go my way, I want to know why. I want to fix it. When I can’t fix it, I want God to fix it. But if God is truly the Lord of my life, I need to learn to wholeheartedly trust His heart. If He is truly our master, then we must submit to Him in all things. Not our will, but His be done.
“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” I peter 2:19-24
Oh, Lord, please help me to trust You in all things. Remind me of the cost of my salvation, of the price You paid for me, of the value You ascribed to me when you traded Your safety, well-being and very life for me. Please forgive me for demanding my own way and being angry with You for not bending to my will. Satisfy me with your love and change my heart to be more like Yours. You are the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and it is by Your very breath that I draw life. Forgive my selfish pride and insolent attitude. I want to be a reflection of You, Lord. Thank You for Your unfailing love toward me.