There are those inevitable moments in life when we question the veracity of God's promises. In effect we ask ourselves "Can God be trusted?" Of course, we are often too shrewd to ask the question in such a blatant form. We pose it with our lives: we balk at the critical moment of obedience: when the opportunity to speak for God comes, we hesitate; when the moment of sacrificial giving presents itself, we rationalise it away; when we recognise the need to stand against the flow of group behaviour, we find ourselves continuing in the flow. We are, by our failure to act in ways we know God is asking us to, questioning whether God can be trusted if we carry through.
In earlier days I marveled a the faithfulness of God's saints as they stepped forward unstintingly in obedience to God - confronting dangers without a second thought, speaking boldly when risks were high, travelling great distances to share the gospel. "I could never have such faith," I reasoned - I question too much... But as the years have progressed, by admiration has deepened as I have discovered that they too confronted the same fears which echo in my own mind, but continued on where I hesitated. Through talking with people I admired as "great in faith" I discovered that they had to confront the question of God's trustworthiness over and over. For each there were many critical moments when they took their heart in their hands as they step forward in obedience.
As Israel confronted the reality of exile, Isaiah hears the echoing question in Israelite hearts "Can we trust God?" All that they had known as God's promises were now remote from them. But Isaiah calls them to "look again to the rock from which you were cut" (51:1), the beginning of a reminder of God's faithfulness which had not diminished even in exile. "I, even I, am He who comforts you", reminds Isaiah. God CAN be trusted, even in our darkest moments.
It is important that
we do not silence this question. We need to recognise where we are struggling
to trust God. To walk ahead in faith is not to be without fear, but to
hold on to God in our fear and uncertainty. It is there that we discover
the depth of His faithfulness.
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