Dr. Crabb proposes to answer the question; "How do we trust a sometimes disappointing and seemingly fickle God who fails to do for us what good friends, if they could, would do?" with the story of Naomi in the book of Ruth. He says, "Namoi solves my problem with God".
I too am interested in having this question answered.
Let me recap the story here; Naomi had a husband and two sons. The land of Israel was experiencing famine or as we like to call it, an economic downturn. So her husband moved the family to a neighboring country called Moab to wait it out and perhaps even do well there. I am sure they thought they would be there a year or two, that perhaps their sons would find nice girls to marry and maybe, just maybe, they would return to their homeland a bit richer and with grandchildren. There would be rejoicing, a big party and everyone would gather round to hear the story of how God provided for them in the hard times.
Instead, shortly after arriving in Moab, Naomi's husband died. This was a terrible blow. He was the breadwinner. But I am quite certain she took comfort in the fact she had two sons that loved her and would care for their widowed mother. Sure enough, both the sons got married and just as things were looking up, God was blessing her and perhaps with grandchildren, she could be happy again......and then both sons died!
God could have kept the sons alive, but He did not. Now all she had was gone. Alone and destitute in a foreign country. Nothing to live for and yet still alive....all her dreams shattered like so much glass tossed carelessly to the ground. Naomi trusted God for something she did not see come to pass.....was God still trustworthy?
Dr. Crabb says; "Trusting God is dangerous business. Unless we're trusting Him for what He has promised to provide, the step after trust is disillusionment.......so what can He be trusted for? Exactly what is He doing with His considerable power? What would be different if we experienced that power, if His power were released in us?"
Thinking about this makes me realize I often trust Papa for things He has not necessarily promised me. For instance, I trust Him for a comfortable life. Instead, He has promised that "In this world, you will have trouble". He goes on to state; "Fear not for I have overcome the world". I should be trusting in the fact that He has already and forever, overcome this world and my part is to trust in Him and just relax. But I can't. I need comfort, so I say things like, "Papa, I am trusting you for this new job, or I am trusting you for my healing, or any number of things that make me comfortable". I cannot accept the fact He may not want those things for me at the present time. I take matters into my own hands....again......I do not trust.
Once again, Dr. Crabb steps in; He says, "There is an answer, and it is repeated over and over again in the Bible. But the answer, the only one that squarely faces the enormous challenge of trusting a seemingly unresponsive God, requires a change in how we naturally look at life. It demands a revolution in our understanding of why we're alive at all, of why God keeps us living in this world for so long before He takes us to heaven."
This presents a problem. Most of the time, I am not all that crazy about change, but a change in my thinking is even harder. Especially if it challenges my long held beliefs about God and why I am alive in the first place. These are deep waters and I am not a good swimmer. But I am willing. I want to change. I want to experience God in new and profound ways.....so I am open, nervous but open......
Dr. Crabb has a final question for this section; "Is the only point of godly living the reward we'll receive in heaven? Is there anything we can hope for now, anything we can count on God to do for us in this life? That's the question. And its not a selfish one, its a humble one, a question of that admits we're dependent children in need of receiving what we long for but do not have. Our souls need filling."
So thats the million dollar question. Can/does/will God do anything for us in this life now that we would like. That we would feel good about Him doing....something that I can really hope for?
This and more tomorrow.......