Trust: Living in Faith and Hope
This is the ninth post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on TRUST, which is the theme of the 2015 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us.
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
For eight weeks we have considered why we can trust God. So how do faith, hope and trust come together?
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
What do I have faith in?
So here is my reality: I know I am saved by faith and I live by faith. When it comes to hard places, like loving a prodigal, I believe God can do anything. He can save, restore, rescue. I do not doubt that.But will He? Can I trust Him?
What can I dare to hope for?
God’s Word encourages us to hope in what God has provided for us, assured us of: grace, mercy, forgiveness, eternal life with Him—and much more.
When it comes to my prodigal, though, my hope is more immediate: repentance, return, reconciliation. I hope that God will do what I want in the life of my loved one.
Trust is our gift back to God. As we combine our faith and our hope, we learn to trust.
Faith says: I believe—yes, I know—that God is, totally aware, completely compassionate, all-powerful. I am confident that He knows, He cares, He is able.Hope says: I am hoping God will take all this pain, all these bad choices, all the worry and fear and hopelessness and redeem it all, bringing His good out of this bad—these years of bad.
Trust says: No matter how bad things are, I can believe—trust—that God will intersect with this bad, engage in this pain and accomplish what He knows is right and best. It may not be the outcome I desire—hope for—but it is the outcome God desires.
We have spent the past eight weeks considering:
Why we can trust God:
His glory is beyond our apprehension.His “godness” is beyond our perception.
His goodness is beyond our comprehension.His love is beyond our appreciation.
That one so glorious, divine and good could love us so unfailingly, so unconditionally, so extravagantly is truly unfathomable. It is that unquenchable love that anchors our faith, our hope—our trust.
How we can trust God:
Jesus became like us, set aside His glory and “godness” to live with us, to demonstrate how to live dependent on the Father—and He totally entered into all of our pain and suffering.
And so we would not be left alone and helpless when He departed, He sent His Holy Spirit to live in us—to comfort, encourage, teach, remind, pray for, give peace, and to empower us to trust! The Holy Spirit is life giving and life enabling.
How we know we are trusting:
We are grateful.When we are increasingly able, no matter with the circumstances with our prodigals, to say, “Thank You, Lord,” we see the evidence of our faith and hope merging into real trust.
Who has demonstrated this kind of trust:
Job: Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him. (Job 13:15)
Noah: By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. (Hebrews 11:7))
Abraham: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8) And by faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. (Hebrews 11:17)
Moses: By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:24-25)
David: In spite of Saul’s efforts to kill him, despite betrayal by friend and family, he said: “I trust in God’s unfailing loveforever and ever.” (Psalm 52:8)
Daniel: Though threatened with death by lions, Daniel “went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Daniel 6:10)
Jesus: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
“Into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
Brennan Manning says: That it requires heroic trust in the love of God to keep trusting no matter what happens to us. That trust is the word that defines the Christian life. That childlike surrender—true trust--is the defining spirit of authentic discipleship.We want clarity, wisdom, assurances, promises. God gives those, but often they seem withheld because He has a higher purpose—that we trust Him. If we have those things—what we want, we are satisfied. We don’t need to really trust.The heart of trust says, with Jesus, “Into your hands I commit my spirit …”
How does our trust affect our prodigals:
As our trust in God grows, and therefore our spirit of gratefulness expands, we will be different. Our attitudes, our countenances, our responses, our words will reflect the grace and peace that Jesus modeled. Our interactions and relationships with our prodigals will also experience more grace and peace.
Our theme verse becomes reality: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
As we recognize that our fear and guilt often keep us from totally entrusting ourselves to God, we can understand that those we are praying for also have fears and guilt that keep them from entrusting themselves to us—and to God.
We deeply love those we are praying for. If we would multiply our feelings/our love by infinity, we begin to get a greater glimpse of God’s love for us—and for our prodigals. We become conduits for the amazing, accepting, forgiving, gracious love of God to flow through us to our wanderers.
We are God’s arms of love to them.
May your trust in God be strong and real,
What about you? Are you truly trusting God in that hard place?
c2015 Judy Douglass
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.