Trusting a person's plan is not the same as trusting the person. We can actually trust the plan and not trust the person.
We do this to God all the time. We say we trust Him but we only trust some of what He says.
When we pick and choose what we trust, we are not trusting in Him. We are, instead, trusting in whatever He says that we happen to agree with. Let me illustrate.
Although I am not a licensed electrician, I did all the electrical work in my furniture factory during the early years. The electrical systems in our home and our rental property are simple, by comparison to an industrial system. So I currently do all of our electrical work. Sherrel has helped me from time to time whenever I've needed an extra set of hands.
Let's say a renter calls us with an electrical problem. From the conversation, I have an idea of what's wrong and know I'm going to need some help in troubleshooting. When we arrive on the scene, I give Sherrel the electrical tester to hold on two different wires, while I go to another room to check out what I think is a continuity problem. Sounds like I know what I'm doing so far… right?
The renter walks by and asks Sherrel, “What are you doing?” Sherrel responds, “I don't know all the details. I'm doing what Mike asked me to do.” Sherrel doesn't have a care in the world because she doesn't know enough about electricity to have a worry. She trusts me with the details, knowing that her responsibility is to just do what I ask her to do. She's not second‐guessing anything I'm doing. She's trusting in me to fix the problem.
Now, let's switch things up a little bit. When we have the electrical problem fixed the renter says, “Oh, by the way… there's a stain in the carpet by the back door. Can you clean it up?” In this case, Sherrel is the expert and I am the helper. But I know a little too much (or at least I think I do) about cleaning up stains to strictly be the helper. So, when she sends me off to mix up a cleaning solution, I alter the ingredients to “improve” the results.
The renter walks by and asks me, “What are you doing?” I respond, “I'm making up the cleaning solution Sherrel has developed for cleaning stains, but I'm making a few changes that will make it work better.” I do however, have a care in the world, because I am questioning some of her plan and attempting to make substitutions on my own. I am second‐guessing much of what she's doing, because I'm not trusting in her completely.
Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since you've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” (Genesis 15:1–4 NLT)
But Sarai was unable to get pregnant so she came up with her own plan.
So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai's proposal. (Genesis 16:2 NLT)
But the son born of this arrangement—Ishmael—was not the promised son. The promised son would follow about fifteen years later.
When God first promised Abram a son, He did not reveal all the details. He only said Abram would have a son of his own. Rather than trust God with the details, Sarai (with Abram's agreement) filled in the details on her own. And a war—with far‐reaching consequences—began in Abram's own house:
Ishmael is considered by Muslims to be the ancestor of the modern Arab people. And of course, the genealogy of Jesus goes from Abraham through Isaac and not through the oldest son, Ishmael. So the war continues to this day between Ishmael's people and Isaac's people.
God did not need for Abram and Sarai to fill in the details of His promise to them. And God does not need you to fill in the details of His promise to you. You do not need to develop any of the details; God is able to handle all the details on His own. You only need to cooperate with Him.
God has shown me two very important aspects of what trusting Him looks like—in action and not in words. And both of them run contrary to my religious traditions:
- Do not ask Him to do what He's already done.
- Put my trust in Him and not in what He can do.
I will elaborate more on both points in our next series on prayer, but let me finish today with these thoughts:
It is possible to trust in formulas developed from the Words in the Bible and never trust the One who wrote those Words. It is possible to depend upon a formula developed from God's Word with no thought about the Word Himself.
It is possible to deal with a situation by repeating what has worked in the past, without ever asking God what He wants us to do. It is possible to trust in what has worked before and without ever thinking about trusting Him right now.
He wants us to trust in Him with so much confidence and so little doubt that if people happen to walk by and ask us what we are doing, we can answer confidently and without a care in the world, “I don't know all the details. I'm doing what God asked me to do.”
Have a good day,