At some point, just about every Christian has asked: How am I supposed to know? We’re faced with a trial and hesitate, asking, and are left wondering. I listened to a sermon last week that addressed this question and it provided a keen perspective I thought I would include in this week’s blog.
When God tells us to do something, or when he calls us into deeper relationship with him, we tend to do as Abram did in Genesis 15. We look at the truth of God’s statement, “I brought you out of here (a rather nasty place we used to exist) and I’m going to take you here (into an amazing land of milk and honey).” We then ask God, “How am I supposed to know…”
How am I supposed to know you’ll get me there in one piece?
How am I supposed to know the demons of my past wont follow me there?
How am I supposed to know you’ll protect me?
How am I supposed to know the mistakes of my past wont ruin this new place?
How am I supposed to know you’ll take care of me and provide for me?
How am I supposed to know it’s really going to be okay?
God looks at us with love, just as he did with Abram, and he doesn’t dismiss our questions, nor does he try to convince us of anything. He simply makes a promise and fulfills it, and asks us to remember and protect the promise he made and fulfilled.
The gospel isn’t complicated. Jesus came, lived a perfect life we should have lived, died the death we should have died, and was raised again on the third day defeating death and sin to give us access to the Father. He bridged the gap we couldn’t bridge. Now we get to live a better life, the life we were designed to live in the first place, leaving sin and shame behind.
It’s as simple as that, and yet we look at it with the eye of a college grad picking apart a dissertation, rather than with the heart of a child we're called to have.
For those of us who have spent the majority of our lives in the dark, swamped by sin and shame, such freedom is difficult to comprehend. How do we live free when we’re used to being imprisoned? When circumstances of living in a fallen world, and Satan’s schemes to destroy us appear to succeed, it’s difficult to believe we’re free. How can I be free when…
My husband and I are going through a divorce?
My child is in prison?
My best friend has just betrayed me and shows no sign of remorse?
The stock market fell right after I invested the majority of my savings?
I’m chronically ill?
I’ve spent most of my life abused?
Freedom isn’t tangible. Freedom doesn’t mean we no longer suffer, nor does it mean we no longer feel pain. Freedom merely means we have a way out, and we can take it anytime we want. Not necessarily a way out of the problem, but out of the spiritual enslavement the enemy tries to bring with the problem. We can be free by holding to the promises with patience and faith. Nothing but our own pride and fear will hold us back.
Freedom means choosing to believe in the truth of the gospel, in the promises of God, the power and grace of Jesus Christ, regardless of what your eyes see and your ears hear. It’s saying, “TODAY, I will believe,” and stepping out in that belief.
There’s a reason Jesus said to let tomorrow worry about itself. There’s a reason that he taught his disciples to pray asking only for today’s daily bread. We only have today.
It takes work to change our mentality. I’m the type of person who needs to plan for every possible outcome - especially the ones where things could go wrong - so I can prepare myself and, if possible, avoid the outcomes I don’t want to occur. It stems from too many years of too many bad things happening that I couldn’t control. If I can simply control the outcome, then I can prevent the bad from happening…
But it’s a lie.
If I can’t control the outcome, then I’ll hole up in a cave where nothing and no one can touch me when the bad occurs… but the idea that this will provide protection is also a lie. If you live your life in a cave you live a half-life. To never feel the warmth of the sun or see the fullness of the light, to be protected from the bad in such a way is to shield yourself from the good as well.
So what’s the solution? How am I supposed to know it’s going to be okay?
We hold onto the promises of a God who cannot lie. but we have a loving Father who provides shelter in his wings, and ample promises that he’ll not only provide, but he’ll help carry the weight of our pain when it comes. He knows when it’ll arrive and he’ll put the right people and whatever else is necessary in your path to get you through it. He knows when you’ll face loss, and he’s right there to hold you as you grieve it.
How are you supposed to know? You don’t. You simply trust in the goodness of God, hold to His promises, and let tomorrow worry about itself.