A rabbit needed to get to a distant warren. His journey would take him through a mountain pass swarming with foxes. Fearing for his life, he advertised for a bodyguard. A friend recommended a certain puma who could both guide and protect him on his journey. Reluctant to travel with a large predator, he asked if she could be trusted. His friend assured him that she could. The rabbit hired the puma. As they set off, he asked her how confident she was in her ability to protect him. "Trust me." said the puma. Halfway to the pass, the rabbit was attacked by a pack of dogs. The puma fended them off courageously. In the pass itself, he was attacked by foxes. Again, the puma sprang to his rescue. On the way down, a pack of wolves attacked. Again, the puma fought to protect her employer. Lastly, as they were approaching the town, they were charged by an angry bison. The puma picked the rabbit up and ran with him in her mouth.
When they arrived safely at the warren, the rabbit was livid. "I trusted you to keep me safe!" he squealed. "Yet four times, my life was in danger! You said I should trust you!"
"You knew the trip would be dangerous." said the puma. "I protected you. I kept your trust. The only way to completely avoid the danger was to stay home."
The rabbit was embarrassed. He saw that his bodyguard was right. With his ears deeply blushing, he gave the puma her well-deserved pay.
"Trust me." It's a very simple saying. very straightforward. But when you hear the phrase, what do you think? Do you think "Everything is going to be okay?" More likely you think "Something is about to happen that I'm not going to like." When your home decorator says "trust me" it usually means "If you knew what I was about to do to your living room, you'd throw me out without paying me."
So when we say that we trust God, that we have faith in Him, do we mean that we don't expect any trouble?
There is a movement in the church today which says that God is ready and willing to solve all of your problems. If you have problems, you're lacking faith. You need to trust God more, and then your problems will go away.
Let's go back into history for a reality check.
Noah put his trust in God. God therefore intended to spare him when he drowned the world. He could have done any number of things. He could have put Noah's family on the moon for the duration in a cozy little bio-dome. He didn't. Noah had to endure the flood. However, he emerged alive.
Abraham trusted God to carry out His promise to bless the nations of the world through Isaac. Imagine Abraham's surprise when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac. Yet God did not rescind the command until Abraham was about to kill his son.
Job trusted God. He did nothing wrong, yet he lost everything but his life. He still had his wife and friends, but they were discouraging and a sore irritant to him. God did not keep Job from harm. He did not rescue Job. He made Job go through his time of suffering, but He also paid him back for his loss, with interest.
Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, because of their love of God, refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar's statue. They stood in direct defiance of the orderers of the emperor himself. They trusted God to save their lives, and God could have kept them out of the firey furnace if He wanted to. He could have blown the furnace up. He could have turned the king's soldiers into hamsters. He could have turned the fuel for the fire into snow. There were any number of things God COULD have done to prevent the problem. Instead, he made his followers fireproof. He protected them, but He took them through the fire. More than that, He stood there in the fire with them.
Daniel, by faith, refused to stop praying to God. He was therefore thrown into the lion's den. God could have prevented this. He could have turned Darius' wicked courtiers into pillars of salt. He could have boomed out in a thunderous voice "DON'T YOU DARE SIGN THAT DECREE, DARIUS!" Instead, He allowed Daniel to go into the lion's den, and made the lions to be at peace.
Let's be perfectly clear on this. The bible does not say that God will solve all of your problems. It instead affirms that if you are a Christian, there WILL be trouble. God is righteous, and because of that, He has plenty of enemies. The world hates Him, and therefore it hates us, too. Let's not forget that Satan hates you and has a destructive plan for your life. This world is full of people and spirits who wish us ill, but God is not going to take any of us out of this world until our time is up. He has placed us here as soldiers.
Who ever heard of someone joining the army to stay safe? The idea is patently ridiculous. No general ever kept his troops from danger. He puts his troops in harm's way deliberately in order to protect his country. that's why they are there. However, if that general is worth his pay, he does everything in his power to maximize his men's cances of survival. He sees that they are equipped and trained. He gives them knowledge they will need. He assesses risk constantly and chooses his battles carefully. A good general knows that soldiers are more than amunition, they are people. He asks nothing of them that he would not be willing to do himself.
We have such a general. Jesus knows you. He loves you. He will not ask you to do anything He wouldn't do. Of course, Jesus is willing to do a lot. He was willing to voluntarily go to the cross, to be tortured and humiliated, and to die horrifically. He did not duck out of the problem. He went through it. He suffered immensely, but it was worth it.
Just as Jesus' sacrifice was well worth the suffering, so we can be certain that anything he has for us to go through will be worth it as well.
To summarize, God is not going to keep us from trouble. Trust in God is not about avoiding problems. However, we can trust that He will take us through whatever we must go through. We can trust that He will not burden us unnecessarily, and we can trust that whatever awaits us at the end will be well worth the troubles we must endure.
Today's reading: Hebrews 11:17-34
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.