There is a certain beauty in a heart that has learned to trust God eternally…That, in every circumstance, has the capacity to say, “Not mine, but thy will be done.” God has been teaching me so much lately about the power of this kind of trust. One of my all time favorite books is called Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. In it he speaks of the importance of authenticity in our faith walks, and raw honesty with Jesus about our doubts, our anxieties, our stale religiosity, and our divided hearts. He talks about how that raw honestly is the full and mature expression of ruthless trust and explains how, as this trust develops, it begins to mature into overwhelming gratitude towards God. It’s like this beautiful progression from authenticity, to trust, to gratitude.
I recently went back to this book and was reminded of the power and beauty in this kind of trust, but was also challenged with how easily I can forget to live by it… How easily I can begin to doubt, and how often I have the tendency to not want to take one step until the destination is in site. It’s much easier for me to ask God for clarity than it is to ask God for trust. But what He is teaching me more than ever is the power of authenticity in my relationship with Him and the beauty of growing my trust relationship with Him over seeking Him first for clarity. I think the older I get, the easier it is to get comfortable with where I am at in life, and rest in the security of my present circumstances. To not want change, or to have to make myself vulnerable. But the beauty of raw, authentic, ruthless trust is that it calls me out of that and provides me with an opportunity to grow, to mature, to learn how to love more deeply, to learn faithfulness, gratitude, and obedience…and ultimately to glorify God. Manning says it beautifully, “The way of trust is a movement into obscurity, into the undefined, into ambiguity, not into some predetermined, clearly delineated plan for the future. The next step discloses itself only out of a discernment of God acting in the present moment. The reality of naked trust is the life of the pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown…Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it His presence and His promise.”
I love this quote because it is a reminder that we trust not simply as a means to an end but as an act of obedience that in the end draws us closer to our Creator. We serve a God who is a relational God. He wants to be a part of the process. He wants us to rely on Him, to cling to Him, and to be vulnerable with Him along the journey. And the beauty of that is no matter the outcome, we have the promise of His presence. No matter what happens, we have Him, and He in turn gives us a peace that only He can give. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Peace is the byproduct of trust, not the other way around. Peace is an outflow of complete reliance on God. It is born in that moment when we surrender our will, emotions, and desire for control to God and say, “thy will be done”. It is the byproduct of a heart that rests in the knowledge and promise that God has offered His presence as His promise. We can trust because we know, whatever the outcome, He is with us. We can trust because we know that His mercies are new every morning. We can trust because we know that He is faithful in every circumstance. I am reminded here of one of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Elliot. She says, “God never withholds from his child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — ‘severe mercies‘ at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”
God never promises us a pain free life, but he does promise to never leave us. God never promises to give us full clarity in the exact moment that we need it but he does promise to guide us and be with us along the journey. And as Elizabeth Elliot says so beautifully, God also never denies us our hearts desire, except to give us something better. And that is why a heart that has learned to trust God ruthlessly, has the capacity to respond in gratitude. As I begin a beautiful new adventure in my own life, I can rest in the knowledge that no matter the outcome, Christ is with me, and will have His way in my life and my journey. And that is truly all that matters. My prayer for all of you is that you will have ruthless trust in your walks with Christ. That you will trust the promise of His presence in your life, surrender the outcome to Him, and live lives of abundant gratitude in every circumstance.