Have you ever wondered what it completely looks like to completely trust God during difficult times?
I find three key phrases in this question: “completely looks like”, completely trust God” and, “difficult times”. So what does IT completely look like? As I contemplated the question that I had been asked and broke it down into the three phrases within the question I asked myself, “why do we think we need to know what it will completely look like?” I think of Moses, Abraham, Esther, Daniel, Paul, Nate Saint, Joni Eareckson Tada, Elisabeth Elliot, and the list could go on and on. As I continued to ponder the question the word “completely” caught my attention. Maybe this is where you and I begin to be entangled. We want to know the whole picture, the completed story and have the puzzle already put together. If we are not careful, the second entanglement is the small word, “it”. Are we looking for something specific? A person. An event. How can this entangle us? Better yet, why does this entangle us? I am sure if you and I could sit collectively with each of the persons I listed above we might find that “IT” all looked completely different for each of them and “IT” looked similar too.
The framework of difficult times is basically the same. It is the picture that slowly reveals itself within that frame that is different for each of us. When we begin trying to focus on the complete picture before it is ready to emerge that is when we find ourselves entangled with impatience and frustration. This can lead to doubt and second guessing our faith in the all-knowing God and question is He who He claims to be. Would Moses have led the Israelite people out of Egypt into the Wilderness if he had known the 40 years of wandering that would take place and he would not enter the Promise Land? Would Elisabeth Elliot have gone to the mission field knowing it would demand the life of her husband? Would Joni Eareckson Tada had dove into the water knowing it would be her last day to ever walk again? I ask you this because each of us, like those mentioned, never know the day we are given a frame by our Creator. The frame of trials and testing. The frame that will forever change the way our life is pictured. If we try to force a picture of preference to fit inside the frame specifically made for us then we lose focus of the ashes that are promised to be made beautiful. On the day you find yourself holding your frame trust that the Lord will paint the picture specific for the frame.
In holding the frame that God made specific to me and you we can begin to experience how to “completely trust God”. Moses took his frame and experienced Manna, water from a rock, the Ten Commandments, and the Tabernacle. One of the pictures that emerged within Moses’ frame – a picture and the foretelling of Christ on the cross. Joni Eareckson Tada in time accepted her frame and continues to impacting the world through Joni And Friends Ministry. A beautiful picture has emerged within Joni’s frame that impacts lives with the Gospel.
What if one month after leaving Egypt Moses did not like the frame God had given to him? What if Joni or Elisabeth had rejected the frame God had made for her? Part of trusting God completely is not only accepting the frame it is also holding your frame, supplying your canvas of trust and then rest that each day His grace will be sufficient for that day. Our difficult times are different for each of us. This is what makes the masterpiece of our lives beautiful. Believe it or not, it is the difficult times that draw us to one another’s frames and look tenderly at the picture that has already begun to emerge. As far as the spaces that have yet to be painted we can have sweet expectation that it will be beautiful.
The difficult times gives your masterpiece depth. It is the difficult times mixed in with the easy times that give the personal reflection of the One who is the artist of our lives. The difficult times will come. The easy times will be present too. Elisabeth Elliot said it best, “Of one thing I am perfectly sure; God’s story never ends with ashes”.