Archive for June, 2010

Ruthless

Okay, I haven’t blogged in a while.  Little to say.  A few weeks ago we launched a new Granada message series entitled “Ruthless Trust,” a study from the life of Abraham.  I stole the title from a Brennan Manning book I read some years back.  Over the years many people who are not Jesus-followers have asked me what Christianity is all about.  I feel that the best single word to define it is: “trust.”  Yes, we talk of grace, and it is all of grace.  But, the word trust captures the  essence of the no-holds-barred kind-of faith Jesus calls for.  Think for a moment of Abraham.  God seemed to be pushing him to his limits at every turn.  I’ll give you and your wife a baby, but let’s wait until it’s impossible and everyone (including you) has given up hope. Let’s make it laughable.  Get it?  How’s it going to happen?  You’re going to have to trust me.   Abraham, you need to leave home and go to the place I will give you.  No doubt this will expose you to danger and isolation.  But, you’re going to have to trust me.  No sooner does Abraham arrive in the “land of promise” and a famine threatens to destroy everything.  He can’t stay there.  He must head to Egypt for safety.

If I didn’t know better, I would think that the God we worship is the divine prankster drawing us to places he knows will test our mettle.  We see this repeatedly in Jesus.  He seemed determined to get his disciples out into boats on the water at times that would frighten any seasoned sailor.  Not just once did Jesus do this.  It seemed to be a repeated strategy used to bring the disciples to brink of their trust.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  God proved faithful in each moment.  But in the process, he tested their patience, scared them half to death, or left them befuddled by his actions.

We should take comfort in all this because this resembles our experience with God.  Might it be that God does just these things because these are the moments when we can get closest to him?  When we come to know him?  When we can see and enjoy his presence?

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you; in God whose word I praise, in God I put my trust, fearing nothing; what can men do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Gerald May has said:

I know that God is loving and that God’s loving is trustworthy.  I know this directly, through the experience of my life.  There have been plenty of times of doubt, especially when I used to believe that trusting God’s goodness meant I would not be hurt,  But having been hurt quite a bit, I know God’s goodness goes deeper than both pleasure and pain–it embraces them both.

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