That is one of the great repeating questions in life: “What to do?” It is especially relevant as evidence piles up that something is coming and it appears to be approaching on a broad front: political, sociological, financial, health and safety, and the thing I consider most relevant in the short term, supply chain issues, which to me can cause all the other things to fire off in a very short time, like a matter of days.
This concern is something Christians struggle with in ways others do not, since the biblical promises God makes to take care of his people are significant. There are two obvious problems believer’s face:
- Trust – How much do you trust God to take care of you, to watch out for you, to guide your steps and make your path straight and true as He has said he will do in Scripture?
- Where is the line – There is a common saying, “Let go and let God” but there is a fine distinction between what we leave to God and what we believe we must do ourselves. Finding that line is extraordinarily difficult when you take your theology seriously.
Ideally this would not be a problem for Christians, but surprisingly it is a major issue, especially today. I think the reason is heavily culturally biased. There is a deficit of trust in every area of our modern life, especially right now in the cancel culture that is spreading into every area of our life. We just don’t know who we can trust and even if we do, for how long and in what circumstances. An idle word or a wrong choice can destroy your life as you know it. As an aside, I am surprised I have lasted as long as I have in my current job (been there 6.5 years – the longest tenure of my life). There are pitfall everywhere and that creates a lot of decision points and makes every choice more complex than most people are prepared to deal with. Living like this is exhausting, so in response, most people just shut down, pull their trust in close and become isolated and wary of everyone and everything.
Like it or not, this begins to bleed onto our relationship with God. I know people who begin seeing him as the eye in the sky who is examining our every thought and action. They feel he is just waiting to pounce on us, punish us, to cancel us because we are unworthy. Notice I say feel. It is an emotional response to the general social distress. The best answer I have for that feeling comes from J.I. Packer and his book Knowing God. On page 42 he wrote:
There is tremendous relief in knowing that his [God’s] love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
Let me put it as bluntly as I can. God is not waiting for you to do something wrong so he can to pounce on you. He already knows everything about you, so you cannot surprise him by anything you think or do. You are his chosen and that choice was not based on what you did, will do or didn’t do, won’t do. Yes, he will correct you, but while your correction and his chastisement is based on what you do or don’t do, his choice of you never was. Remember this! Paul makes this very clear in Ephesians 1:4:
For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him in love.
Paul further explains in Philippians 1:6:
…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Every single bit of his correction and chastisement is based on him completing the good work (his choice of you) he has begun. Even the psalmist knew this as he explains in Psalm 138:8:
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.
Now, I am sure that at times we will not like how God perfects us, the writer of Hebrews makes that perfectly clear in chapter 12. Consider verses 5b-6:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
While that may be unpleasant to face, it is only for a time; it is not forever. Peter would have us remember what he says in 1 peter 5:6:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
Everything, and I mean everything, has its time and place. That said, it all comes back to the passage in Ephesians I quoted above. We must never forget that he chose us and God never goes back on his choices. Build your trust on that and remember and hold dear that in the end he has chosen you. On that you can have absolute trust, no matter what happens, since as Paul made very clear in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Drawing the Line
Even when we trust God to the uttermost, there is the problem of where is the line between what we leave to God and what we have to do ourselves? That determination is often very difficult. There are times when we can do nothing but wait for God to deal with something because any part of what needs to be done is completely outside our purview. That said, when there are a myriad of things we can do, how far do we go? Let me give you a simple example, using the current COVID problem.
I know many people who are trusting God to keep them well or if they get sick to see them through the crisis. I can’t disagree with that. I myself have the same trust. However, because of the intelligence and ability to research that God has blessed me with, I have learned over many years, important nutritional and practical information that will also protect me from COVID in any of its forms. If you would like examine some of my research you can read this post on my blog – Controlling Viral Infections, especially COVID-19, with D3 and Supplements. It explains what I have found out about protecting myself nutritionally. I also have N95 respirators with a breathing plug. This protects the wearer from the air they breath it. It does not protect anyone from you. That is impractical except from sputum during close contact with an infected person.
Do I follow those protocols. Absolutely. Does that mean I don’t trust God. Of course not. He gave me that knowledge and he expects me to use the smarts he gave me and act on it. I should never tempt God by refusing to use the knowledge and common sense he has blessed me with. But no protocol is a 100% perfect and I absolutely trust God to deal with everything I cannot. I have no fear. What is there to fear, since perfect love casts out fear (1 Joh:4:18). When everything has been done and my trust rests in God, whatever happens is his will and I MUST yield to that in perfect trust/faith that this is what he wants for me, whatever that is.
There is one area that many Christians disagree about and that is knowing and understanding God’s leading in general or specific circumstances. It comes down to how much you trust that the still small voice inside of you that seems to be steering you this way or that way is from God. The more charismatic or Pentecostal you are, the more you will accept the need, yes the requirement, to listen to that voice. You do not want to resist what God is trying to tell you. This is where it gets really sticky. I will never presume to say thus and so to anyone else about where to draw the line here. However, there is one thing I will say. Unless you train your spiritual discernment by testing the spirits, as John says in his first letter (1 John 4:1-3), how can you possibly know and dutifully respond to God’s leading.
It’s pretty simple really: trust God and do what you can while listening to his guidance and direction. But like all simple things, “just hit the ball!”, it is really difficult in practice. Realize that it takes practice, a lifetime of practice, to build your trust in God and your ability to hear his leading, to separate his still small voice out from the cacophony besieging us in our modern life. No time like the present to start practicing. May God bless your efforts and may you find rest in his everlasting arms, in Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen!