Growing In Trust
When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst,
then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. I will plant trees in the barren desert—cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine. I am doing this so all who see this miracle will understand what it means—that it is the Lord who has done this, the Holy One of Israel who created it.
How does one grow in trusting the Lord? Our whole Christian life is marked by our trust in His character. Christianity is not found in studious Bible reading, singing songs of worship, good deeds, church attendance, or anything else that has been paraded around by men as the "spirit of Christianity." Rather we are those who rest our heads on the chest of our beloved. We invite Him to lead us, guide us, heal us, help us. We choose to surrender our death-grip on our own lives and leap wildly into the care of our Father. Christianity is simply deciding to brave the fear of intimacy and loss of control, and instead, choosing to allow our God to be our Father.
But again, how do we grow in our trust? How do we truly let go of the fears that spin around in our minds? How do we live in bold and confident trust in God? The answer is found in the passage above. This passage comes after God declares His promise of salvation to His people. He promises to rescue and establish them, and urges them to have no fear, for He is indeed with them. He then moves into this passage and it is very clear what God is saying. He uses "I" seven times in the passage and mentions turning devastated wilderness into a vast and flourishing forrest. He then mentions seven trees. Seven is the number for perfection in the bible and is often associated with rest and even God’s creative power. The purpose of the repetition of the number seven is to emphasize that God will, in perfection, work astounding and glorious miracles on behalf of His children. It is all the work of God motivated by the unabating cry of divine compassion.
Notice that God says when His people thirst, are poor and needy, then He will answer. Notice also it does not say His people will be strong, tough, and full of faith. It says that in our weak, broken, hopeless moments God will show Himself to be our redeemer and work such miracles that all who see will stop and glory in the obvious revelation that God has indeed been with us.
We grow in trusting God by witnessing the power of God in our lives. Trust strengthens as we build a report with God, and become familiar with the seriousness of His commitment to us. God does not require that we have our pathetic little ducks in neat little rows. He has absolutely no expectation that we will be burning lamps of perpetual faith. Rather He sees us as we are, in our misery, in our hurt, in our fear, and from this raw place, God demonstrates Himself as our loving Father. He is the one, not the one who leads us into the wilderness, but who turns that wasteland into a garden.
If we want to grow in our trust in Him, we must have the honor and respect for Him to stop pretending everything is hunky dory. We can't "declare" our way into this sweet place of intimate trust. This requires us to remove our religious masks, drop the act, and own the reality of where we are and how we are dealing with it. We must be as transparent with Him as He is with us. We must acknowledge our suffocating thirst and we must own the reality of our poverty. We have to choose to be real.
Then we simply let God be God. We let go of control. We admit things suck, and we seek the face of Love. We don't try to worship our way into a better place and play the denial game. You know the one. We have all tried it. The one where we pretend that if we sing a couple songs that somehow all our problems will magically disappear. We nip that sucker in the bud! Hypocrisy never pleases God and denying our problems never solves them. No, we are called to freedom folks! And freedom is found when we no longer hide. We come to Him thirsty, poor, and full of need. Then we let God do His thing.
Then, my friends, the wasteland becomes a garden. When you see what He did for you all because He loves you, it will lift your heart sky high! You will praise louder, harder, and with more heart than ever in your life! And all will have to stop and recognize the hand of our amazing Daddy! This, my dear friends, is how we grow in our trust in Him. This is truly moving from glory to glory.