I can just about hear the rain outside, the slow prelude to some giant storm sliding in on the Atlantic. In spite of the prediction of wind and power outages, floods and uncertainty, there is peace in these hours of waiting for the storm. There is a stillness.
As I think back through my recent experience of learning to trust God with my life, I recognize two distinct phases. First there was a period of time where I wondered if God knew what he was doing. But I slowly learned to be okay living the life he has created me to live, even if it doesn’t always look the way I want it to look.
And I thought, in that moment, that I had arrived. Being okay living a simple life, and taking the opportunities that arise: this is what it means to trust God! Or at least that’s what I thought. But soon after that I realized that when you decide to trust God, when you decide to sit quietly and wait, when you decide to stop striving and start listening, the next phase begins.
This round is characterized by the voices of those you love questioning your sanity, usually in small ways. “I understand you’re a writer,” they say. “But most writers don’t make a living that way, right? Maybe you should think about getting a job.” Or, “It’s wonderful that you are chasing your dream, but what about the bills?”
And these are all valid questions. Except for this: I know what I’m supposed to do. I know the path that is spread out before me. I believe in the journey I’m on, and I’m prepared to learn from it one way or another. So I’ve discovered that trusting God means you will look foolish to some. This can be a more difficult phase than the first, because these voices, they are the voices of your friends and family, the ones who, up to this point, were perhaps your greatest cheerleaders.
Of course maybe they weren’t such great encouragers, and then you will see how that has been a good thing, because if they are old stick-in-the-muds and have always been telling you what you can’t do, then they will be easier to ignore at this crucial junction.
But, then again, you know what I mean. You’ve written that book without their approval. You’ve made a decision regarding your children without their agreement. You put up a blog post your friends read without blinking even once, so shocked were they to discover your political leanings or religious views. You quit your job or went on the “dangerous” missions trip or moved into the city. All because there was a voice inside of you, a gentle urging, something telling you to trust, and to do.
The way of trust is, in the end, a lonely way. And this is as it should be, at least for a time, because it’s only when all of your supports have been removed that you will have the courage to open your eyes and see that trust is enough.