On Faith and Self-will

In his essay, Freedom to Trust, Eugene Peterson’s opening sentence reads: “The famous promise to Abraham was that he would be the father of the faithful and that all nations of the earth would be blessed in his offspring.”

Peterson’s essay goes on to point out the heartache Abraham and Sarah brought into their lives by trying to “help” God make the right decision for their lives.  Having heard the promise and in their own human weakness seeing no way that God could fulfill it through natural, human means, they decided to go another route.  It was a huge mistake, and one they would end up paying for the rest of their lives.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to trust God.

Yesterday I heard a message on the radio that said that a lack of faith in God is sin.  I guess it is, but that sounds so harsh, so final.  Are there no loop holes in that statement, no softer, easier way to point out to believers that we need to strengthen our faith muscles?  I tend to be one of those gals who goes into things with a good deal of skepticism.  I don’t trust that every situation I’m invited into will be good for me.  I tend to evaluate and analyze things a good bit before I say, “Yes”, and I’m so glad I do.  Because hey, I have made some boneheaded decisions in my life.  I’ve trusted the wrong people on more than one occasion, and I’ve suffered the consequences.  Now, I’ve learned my lesson.  Don’t want to go there again.  It was painful and unnecessary.  Problem is, that distrust of people sometimes seeps into my relationship with God.

Waiting on God is sometimes hard to do.

I am an impatient person.  I’m also someone who wants to get in there and get things done.  I’m that middle child that thrives on a forward-moving life and an ordered existence.  If something isn’t moving along, my natural inclination is to help it, shove it, get a dolly and move it.  I relocate things in my house all the time and I would do it more often, if only I didn’t live with two guys that hate change. I don’t like change either, not just for change sake, but I can’t abide just hanging around, waiting for something to happen.  I want to be pro-active.  I want to make it happen.

Sarah was pro-active and look where it got her.

I think of Hagar and the pain that she and Ishmael had to endure and it makes me sad.  It wasn’t necessary.  It wasn’t prudent.  It certainly wasn’t God’s plan.  It was human will, thinking it understood Providence and making a feeble attempt to move things along as best it knew how, but in the process people were hurt.  Lives were upended.  A young woman became a hated pariah.  A young boy was cast away, without any of it being his fault.

I can see how Abraham’s actions would be deemed sin by a holy God.  Certainly, they were selfish.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to completely comprehend what the difference is between being pro-active and being sinfully out of step with God’s will.  Not completely.  My perception is that trying to find that balance between self-will and God’s will is a life-long process.  I know there is grace to cover over the seasons of life when I was more concerned with my will, than God’s.  And I’m thankful that Christ, being the perfect God/Man knew how to do with me/in me what I could never do alone.  It’s only because of His sense of right and wrong that I can stand before God and have any chance of being vindicated in my thinking and my actions–especially on those days when I doubt His plan for my life, or think that plan isn’t moving along quickly enough.

I found a quote while I was reading my devotions this morning, and thought it was a good one to pass on to others.  I’ll end this post with it, and the promise that I’ll work on doing better about trusting God in the future.  I come from a long line of worriers, so it’s never going to be easy for me.  Goodnight, maybe it’s not easy for anyone.  What I can say is that I will try, and that is enough for now.

The following quote is by Hammer William Webb-Peploe.  Yeah, I don’t know who he is either, but I like how he thinks.  Blessings, Lori

Don’t try to hold God’s hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting.

visual by reason-being.com


2 thoughts on “On Faith and Self-will

  1. Jean Bird says:

    This blog expresses all that I have been experiencing in recent days. Thank you! And I am encouraged to try as well to let God hold my hand. When you hold a child’s hand you are keeping them close, safe and leading them in the right direction. When I let go of the Father’s hand I am in danger of losing my way. I am the child and God is the Father. I needed that reminder today.


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