Do we rely on God first or last?
Why do most of us (myself included) wait until we are pushed to a corner, have all hands tied and be in a breakdown before we learn to fully trust and rely on God completely? Why do we wait for God to be our last resort? God's promises to us are smeared across His Word. Do we rely on God first or last? Do we desire Him above everything else?
"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth."
God's promises to us
God promises us that He will provide for us, if only we ask. And yet many of us leave God to the last resort. We wait till we have exhausted all our options, we wait till we have spoken to all the "right" people, we wait till we have no more hope left in us, we wait till we are broken before we kneel before God, and yet God is never far. God never wants to leave or forsake us. God was there all along.
Recently, I've had to re-learn this lesson. I say re-learn, as this is one aspect of my Christian life that continuously needs re-learning over and over again. I can say I trust in God, and I believe in God.
But the true test comes when we are put through the fire, the refining process. Do we come out strong and still believe in the Almighty? The Alpha and Omega, the One? Or do we crumble in the face of defeat, pitying ourselves for needing to go through a difficult time?
I have learned that being a Christian isn't about asking for what we want and getting it. God isn't a magical being who grants wishes. God wants and desires a relationship with us. He needs us and we need Him.
And yet, we always tend to choose what's right in front of our eyes. We fail to see the unseen. As God says: Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1).
How to have complete faith in God
These are three habits I continually practise in learning how to have complete faith in God. I use the word 'practise', as it is a process and not a quick fix.
1. Read His Word
To me, not reading God's word and expecting God to answer to our needs is like walking in the dark, and not having any sense of direction as to where we are going and what is going to hit us. It is vital we read His Word, everyday if we are able to.
It sets our hearts free to allow the Holy Spirit to come inside us and move our hearts with what God wants to say to us. We cannot expect to believe that God is leading us, away from dangers and difficult circumstances, without allowing His Word to guide us.
Many of us struggle with seeing what God's plans are for us, and yet if we sat down and read His Word, He becomes alive to us, speaking to our hearts definitively. I myself struggle with daily reading of His Word, but even a five-minute quick verse can change my mindset from hopeless to hopeful.
Prayer, to me, is about first believing you have someone to talk to who you know is listening and will answer. Whenever I pray, I do not speak as if I am talking to thin air. I speak with confidence, with a knowledge that God is there for me and is fully aware of my needs even before I even ask.
I speak to God with reverence for who He is, that He is my heavenly Father who desires a relationship with me. I can be confident in what I ask, because:
'He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say, the Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid."'
This—to me—is the hardest one of the three. Once we have read His Word and know His direction, we pray to act on that direction, and now we wait. Waiting can seem like forever when we have decided to put our faith in God. But it is ultimately the biggest test of our faith and heart. For waiting is an act of patience, of deliverance, of complete faith in God.
To me, we should be honoured and joyful when God makes us wait, because it is an opportunity to speak of His goodness and providence when He brings to pass whatever it is that we are waiting for.
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD."
Our God is a living God. He wants us to always seek Him first rather than last. He wants us to cast our burdens and anxiety onto Him. He wants a relationship with us. And all we need to do is have faith.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa is a mum to 1, owns and runs her cake business, Lollicakes, full-time. She also is currently studying towards an Early Childhood Studies qualification. www.lollicakes.com.au
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html