When we were little, we might have learned to trust our mom or dad, our teachers, perhaps a coach, or maybe a really good friend. We trusted those people because we could tell they cared about us. It could be that you didn’t have this experience. Trust may have been broken by abuse, a broken confidence, lack of attention, or any number of failings of other people.
So how in the world do we learn to trust God? After all, we can’t really see him, whereas we can readily see all of the people whom we learn to trust or doubt.
I remember learning that God is love, God is faithful, God forgives, and He answers prayer. But, in reality, those concepts lived solely in my head. I didn’t always see those characteristics played out in the people around me. I don’t know that they were etched on my heart—until I started to notice.
For a number of years, my job really challenged my intellect. Probably several hundred times, I have asked God to help me figure something out, and, lo and behold, I’ve figured it out. By maybe the twentieth time, I started to take notice! When I went to God, even with sort of a sigh of a request for help, He answered!
One life event in particular drove home that God’s love and faithfulness were real, and real for me.
I had been promoted to a position I wasn’t really adept at. I decided to resign, essentially to save my skin. I didn’t have a backup plan for income, and I couldn’t go without income. So I decided I was going to provide day care in my home. To provide day care, you need to be licensed, and this involves jumping through a lot of hoops.
In early April, I met with my caseworker, who would walk me through the licensing process. I told her I needed my license by May 30. She paused long, looked me in the eye, and told me that would not be possible. This was usually a 4-month process, and I was asking for it to get accomplished in 8 weeks. In addition, she was going to be out of the office for 2 weeks for back surgery. We were down to 6 weeks. I simply would not be able to get my license by May 30.
I started praying about this, pleading with God for my license by May 30, and I jumped through hoops: I childproofed the house, installed a fire extinguisher, took a CPR class, and filled out paperwork. I invited the caseworker to inspect my home, and it passed. She went in for surgery. I continued hoop jumping.
Emotionally, I was barely holding on. While I moved forward with these plans for a day care, I had to go to the office every day to a job that I was failing at and resigning from. Nothing about that was enjoyable. I really needed that day care license.
My last day of work came. I left the building, got in a car, and ever-so-responsibly (cough, cough) drove to Florida for a short vacation.
A week later, I arrived back home, wondering what in the world I was going to do for income. It was the first week in June. I opened the mailbox and found an envelope from the Department of Children and Family Services. Inside was my day care license!
And then I noticed it—the postmark on the envelope.
I can’t remember if I cried or laughed or jumped up and down. I remember shaking. What I know is that with that mark, God proved his faithfulness to me. To me. One tiny person out of the many millions on this big, crazy planet. I don’t get how he does that. I really don’t. But I know he did it.
The universe, karma, or positive thinking really do not have that kind of power and ability to accomplish such intricate plans. Only God does.
God knew I didn’t really need a day care license or need it by May 30. But He knew that I needed to know that he was walking with me during this very hard time in my life. And he literally mailed me a tangible reminder.
So now I notice. I notice small things and big things. I notice when God solves a problem for me at work, and I notice how he works bigger things out in ways I would never have expected long after I have given up.
One of my favorite quotes was written by George Whitefield, an English Anglican preacher. He lived in the 1700s, so the language is archaic. It’s worth twirling around in your head:
“That which has the greatest tendency to excite fallen men to praise and thanksgiving is a sense of God’s private mercies, and the particular benefits bestowed upon ourselves. These come nearer our own hearts, and are peculiar proofs whereby we may know that God does in a special manner favor us. If our hearts are not quite frozen, they must melt us down into thankfulness and love.” (George Whitefield)
What benefit has God given you, only you? How does that help prove God to you in your life? What do you want to ask him for right now?
By Christine Drews. Chris loves spending time in God’s Word and noticing God’s hand at work. She telecommutes as a senior developmental editor for a small publishing house. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, bicycling, sports spectating, and influencing the children in her life. This is the second post in a series about Growing in Trusting God. The first post is here.