You can’t receive love from someone you don’t trust. Think about it. If I don’t trust you, how can I possibly believe you when they say you love me? Even when you do something loving, I’ll be suspicious of your motives if I don’t trust you.
Trust breaks down when people don’t do what we expect them to do. Or what they promised to do. Or when they don’t come through for us. Or when they don’t do what we’d do in their shoes.
This trust question is at the root of a lot of our issues with God. Somewhere along the line, God didn’t live up to our expectations and didn’t do what we wanted Him to. Now, when we hear a preacher talk about how much God loves us and how we should trust Him with our lives, we’re like “Yeah, sounds nice, but God didn’t come through for me when I needed Him. I’ll keep believing (or at least saying I do) because I need a little hope for the end game, but I’m not going too far into this trusting God thing.”
Perhaps we should write down exactly what we expect from God. Spell out what He can be trusted for. By clarifying our expectations, we might find that He’s pretty good at coming through on what He promised and that the problem arose from our putting expectations on Him without His agreement.
Here are a few of the most important things we can expect from God . . .
- We have a future, and we have hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- He will give us rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- He gives us strength to endure. “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” (Isaiah 40:29)
- He will meet our needs. No promise to give us what we need financially, relationally, or even physically. But He meets the needs of our soul. That’s the forever part of us. “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
- We are loved and not alone. Ever! “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” (Romans 8:38)
- He promises peace. “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear or harm.” (Proverbs 1:33)
- His love is the antidote to fear. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
- We can share in His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. Meaning we have Jesus living in us to help us resist temptation. It doesn’t mean that if we give in to temptation, we’ll avoid the consequences of our actions. (2 Peter 1:4)
- He gives us salvation from our sin and eternal life with God after we die. (Romans 10:9, Romans 6:23)
He didn’t promise to keep people from dying. He never said He’d heal all our physical ailments or make our relationships work or make us rich. Yes, miracles happen sometimes, but we can’t make them happen. Does it make sense to stop trusting God because He doesn’t do something that He never promised to do?
Challenge: Write down what God did or didn’t do that led you to back away or put Him on autopilot. Then go to the New Testament and look for where He promised that to you. I’ll bet money you created an expectation He never signed up for. Talk this through with a mentor or close friend and figure out how to clarify your personal theology.