Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Cross-centered Confidence of Trusting in God

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. (Psalm 25:1-3)

Excerpt from "Prayer of Confidence for the Guidance of God” – 2011-03-27
David prayed that God would guide him through a difficult time when he was struggling with fear, loneliness, guilt, and confusion. David could pray with confidence for God’s guidance during his time of struggle because he trusted God. In his struggles David turned to God; he lifted up his soul to the God without shame because he trusted God would answer his prayers. To “be put to shame” is to be publicly shown to have trusted in someone or something other than God in times of trial and trouble. To be “wantonly treacherous” is to trust in someone or something that is unworthy of that trust.

This is where the rubber hits the road for those of us who claim Christ. Because we are fallen sinners who live in a fallen sinful world, our fallen sinful nature default in times of difficult situations and circumstances is to trust in ourselves - in our choices, our decisions, our reason, our gifts, our skills, our strength, our power, our will. And even when we do first turn to God, because of our fallen sinful nature, our tendency is to demand or suggest or manipulate or make deals with God in order to have the outcome we desire for the situation or circumstance work out according to our plan and purpose. This trusting in ourselves began with the first sin in the Garden, when we bought in to the suggestion of the evil one that God was holding out on us. . . .

Our fallen, sinful desire to trust in ourselves reveals how naked we are in not being able to control anything. We live every moment of our lives trusting in someone or something other than ourselves. We trust the cook at the restaurant will properly cook our food. We trust our employers will pay us. We trust the bank will give us back our money. We trust every driver who drives a car will not run into us. We trust our spouses will love us. We trust our friends will not betray us. We trust our hearts will keep beating and our lungs will keep breathing. Trust is the glue that holds our lives together.

If we trust people, we get what only people can do; if we trust money, we get only what money can do; if we trust ourselves, we get what only we can do. But if we trust God, we get only what God can do. We are saved from our sin and eternal death not because of who people are or what money is or we can do - but because of who God is. We are saved from our sin and eternal death because Jesus entered our fallen, sinful struggle with fear, loneliness, guilt, and confusion and made it his own – sacrificing it all on a bloody cross. We can trust Jesus in any circumstance and every situation we will ever face in life: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust.” Because King David knew he could trust God, David knew he could pray with confidence for the guidance of God in his time of struggle.