I don’t trust God and this is how I know that I don’t.
If you were to ask Christians at random if they trust God, I guarantee you almost all of them would say yes, they wouldn’t even need to think about it – it would be an almost automatic response. I think it is because we know in our head that we should trust God and that He is trustworthy that many don’t really stop to think whether their lives and thought patterns truly show that they trust God. I don’t want to be a Christian that gives the ‘right’ and expected answers to questions about my relationship with God, I want to be a Christian that gives real, raw and honest answers.
The Oxford dictionary defines the word ‘trust’ as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something”, it defines the word ‘firm’ as “solid, almost unyielding…strongly felt and unlikely to change” and it defines ‘belief’ as “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof”.
There are lots of personal examples that I can give you that highlights how I fall short of the definitions above but I will use a recent and still painful one.
For lots of sad and unfortunate reasons my family have not been able to have Christmas together for years. This year it was looking like it would happen and all of 2021 it has been my consistent prayer; for my mum to be able to come to England for Christmas. The biggest hurdle we had to jump seemed to be getting my mum the visa that she needed, so my expectations and excitement stayed grounded until that point because in the past it hasn’t come through. But then the visa came through and it felt like finally everything was going to work out this Christmas. We thanked God profusely, I booked time off work, I got us tickets to a Christmas carol service that I knew she’d love, I told my friends who don’t believe in God that he’d answered my one prayer of the year, we booked my mum’s flights and I could already start tasting my mum’s delicious cooking in my mind… BUT then Nigeria got put on the red list and I spiralled spiritually like never before.
2021 has been one of the hardest years of my life. If you believe God tests us, then I’d say every ‘test’ I’ve had this year I’ve felt like I’ve failed. If life was like juggling balls, I’ve dropped every ball this year. To me nothing best encapsulates 2021 than a tennis ball machine that throw tennis balls at you, except the machine was set to overdrive and instead of giving you enough time to hit the oncoming ball before launching another one, it just pelts balls at you at such a speed that you can’t hit the balls anymore, they just start hitting you over and over and over again.
Today is the 28th December 2021 and if you follow me on Instagram you already know my mum made it for Christmas and it was everything I hope it would be – not before multiple expenses, flight changes, delays and more disappointments though. However, what I want to tell you about is the time between Nigeria being put on the red list and my mum landing in Heathrow airport.
When I heard Nigeria had been put on the red list, first I was shocked, then I was angry, ashamed, disappointed and eventually incredibly sad. I was angry at myself for hoping and getting excited, if I’m honest I felt a little bit angry at my friends, colleagues and other Christians around me who were always pushing me to get my hopes up, I felt like if I didn’t get my hopes up I wouldn’t be so sad. I felt ashamed for telling people who don’t believe in God that I was praying for my mum to come and now I felt ashamed for being so open about my prayer life when my prayer wasn’t answered. More than anything though I felt ashamed at the fact that I was less spiritually solid than I thought I was. This all happened soon after writing the first two parts of this blog which is why one day I turn around and said to God “you see this is exactly what I was writing about, this is why I struggle to trust you”.
When asked by a friend how I was doing, I said: “I’m angry and disappointed at God, but life is super hard at the moment and all my worst traits come out when I’m not in a good place with God, so I really need him. But the level to which I need him to get through life causes me to feel mentally and spiritually manipulated, like I can’t take the time I need to get over my disappointment and sadness and the space I feel like I need, because I need him to get through my every day”. I didn’t go to church that Sunday because there’s often this pressure to put a positive spin on things, I felt ashamed to go to church when just a few weeks ago I was preaching on “Wholeness over Brokeness” and what to do when broken yet here I am broken and not practising what I preached.
I was a mess – you get the picture. Meanwhile my mum, a perfect example of what it looks like to trust God, was unfazed by Nigeria going on the red list so much so that I thought she was in shock and denial. Like the Oxford Dictionary put it you could say my mum was solid, almost unyielding in her belief in the reliability, truth and ability of God. So much so that she didn’t unpack her suitcase, she kept praying and kept doing her thing, asking me every day if Nigeria had come off the red list yet. I explained to her how the red list worked and that there was no way the UK would add and remove countries to the red list in under two weeks because precedent showed that it is not going to happen. Yet in under two weeks Nigeria was off the red list and she was able to come for Christmas, but as I said it still wasn’t smooth sailing to Christmas but we made it and had a wonderful Christmas in Edinburgh.
The truth of the matter is, even if my mum wasn’t able to come she would have been fine. I know it because time and time again things have not worked out as she has prayed and yes she weeps about it but she always chooses in, she always trusts the One that sees the whole picture, fully believing that He hasn’t finished writing the story and He is capable of throwing in a plot twist whenever He likes. She hopes and has faith even when every single thing she sees around her screams that she shouldn’t expect a thing. She trusts that God will work all things together for her good, even when it seems like nothing has worked out and all around her is bad.
So that’s how I know I don’t trust God, because I know exactly what it looks like to trust God and I’m not there yet. I write blogs because I know when a person is struggling it can be isolating, you can feel like nobody is having the same internal struggles as you, like you’re the only Christian who doesn’t trust God. Everyone struggles, we struggle differently yes, some secretively, some publicly but we all struggle.
Trust is the my missing link in my relationship with God but if there’s anything I’ve learnt this Christmas though, it’s that I know to new heights why God picked my mum to be my mum – my weaknesses are her strengths.