Trusting God is not easy. It can be easy to quote a Bible verse or just tell someone you have to trust and a complete different thing to act upon what God has promised. We are often our own greatest obstacle to trusting God. Our perspective of our tangible world, the influences of our culture and even our own feelings frequently pull us away from trusting God. Yet, God calls those that follow Him to trust Him!
Many years ago, I had the privilege of spending time in India. It was an incredible experience for a number of reasons. One, was it opened my eyes to how people in different cultures think. I also learned that while we can be different we are also very much the same. This past Sunday I shared how religion permeates every culture. The simple truth is that every human being is worshiping something. It is a result of the way that God wired us. I noticed in India that just about every Hindu shop keeper would have a shelf in a prominent position on which was an idol. The shelves were colorfully decorated and many times would have fresh fruit as a demonstration of the offerings of worship. What I also noticed is that, out of the many deities in the Hindu pantheon, one god was represented more than others. It was the Elephant God, Ganesha. I later learned that Ganesha is one of their gods of prosperity and success. You would not be shocked to know that this is one of the most popular God’s in the Hindu pantheon. This is the reason why it was prominent in the many small shops in India.
The reason why trusting God is so difficult is because we want to manipulate God to do what we want done. The merchants in India want Ganesha’s blessing upon their business. In the Old Testament, local deities like Baal, the god of fertility, were popular for the same reason. The need for rain for crops, the healthy offspring of flock and herds, and even a desire for children was a huge temptation to follow an idol whose specialty was fertility or prosperity. Remember that wealth in those days was your flocks and herds. The point is, it is easy for the expression of our worship to become that which we desire to control.
The difference with Biblical Christianity, is that a relationship with God is not a “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” relationship. It is actually a one way relationship that is driven by God’s grace toward us. And this makes trusting God difficult because He is in control and not me. Let me wrap this related verse that touched my life several months. “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10) This verse is a reminder to those that follow God to trust Him. It reminds us that there will be those difficult times of temptation. And it is a call to hold onto God’s promises during those tough times.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson