I’ve been continuing to think about the things I explored in my previous post on fear and faith. [Read it here]
I was particularly struck by something my Mum said recently as I related a worry to her. After a flood of anxious words from me about “trying to trust God in the situation”, she looked at me calmly and said “Naomi, faith is rest.”
This stopped me mid-rant, because Mum had pinpointed a key thing that I had failed to recognise! Although I was talking the talk, when it came to faith and trusting God my anxious striving demonstrated that I hadn’t fully grasped the concept. To trust God is to rest from anxious striving, because we know that he is in control and that he is good and worthy of our complete confidence. We can rest, because he is at work.
What a simple powerful truth, yet how difficult it can be to put it into practice!
Unbelief Disguised As Efficiency
Fear and worry bring out the control freak in me. I like to tell myself that “I’m just being organised”, but if I look at my heart I know that often what lies behind is unbelief disguised as efficiency.
I replace trusting God with tangible human action, as though I’m wiser or more capable than God himself! And while careful control of all the variables might get me through a situation, or allow me to feel ‘in control’, I know that I’ve traded list-making and relentless action for the peace and rest that come from faith.
Of course it’s not really either/or. We can be both trusting and organised, resting in God and active!
A Child with its Mother
Faith is rest.
Yet this is not about inaction so much as right attitude. Psalm 131 provides a helpful model:
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
We’ve all seen sleepy toddlers snuggled contentedly with their mothers. They have no troubles because she provides all that they need, making them feel safe and loved. Any need will quickly and trustingly be communicated to she who is constantly engaged in loving, protecting, and guiding her child.
What an astounding truth that our powerful, eternal God is willing and able to give us that same security and provision, causing the psalm writer to say “I have calmed and quieted myself like a weaned child with its mother.”
We, like Israel, would do well to humbly put our hope in the Lord and rest in him instead of proudly trusting in our own abilities or worrying when we know they aren’t sufficient.
Join me in cultivating this attitude towards our faithful God in pursuit of his rest!
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22