We all know that we can trust in God. When we have problems we can turn to God for peace, support, comfort and love. We can rely on Him for His strength, grace and compassion.
However, sometimes we strangely try to keep hold of our problems. We bury them down and pretend they don’t exist or that we can deal with them ourselves.
Why is this?
When my youngest son, Alfie was 6, he fell over at school and grazed the palm of his hand. When he came home, he slightly proudly showed us what he had done and we examined the small graze. It was dirty and had a flap of skin which had come away, with just one side remaining attached, forming a hinge.
We explained to him that it would need to be washed, as he had lots of dirt inside it and it might get infected. As you can imagine he was rather reluctant to allow us to do this.
However, we insisted and although we knew it would hurt him, we proceeded as gently as we could. Even though we were as careful and tender as we could be it was still painful for him and our poor little man cried his way through as we bathed his poorly hand.
After we had finished we dried his tears, gave him lots of cuddles and told him how brave he was. The graze was now clean and we left it to heal overnight.
The following morning I noticed that the flap of skin had become hard and was causing him problems as it caught on things. I explained to him that it would keep hurting him all day as it would catch on things and would probably be best if he let me cut it off.
The pain of the night before was all too fresh in Alfie’s memory and no matter how much I explained that it would be more painful to leave it he wouldn’t believe me. He screamed, he held tightly on to his hand, shaking his head, refusing to let me anywhere near the graze.
In the end, I used the tactic that all seasoned parents use when it comes to emergency situations like this – chocolate! I opened a packet of chocolate buttons and told him to eat them whilst Mummy removed his dead piece of skin. Worked like a charm! He didn’t feel a thing and the cut caused him no further problems.
As I sat down to write this post I was reminded of this little trauma with Alfie. I was asking Alfie to trust me.
To trust me even though things would be painful.
To trust in the wisdom I had about the need for his cut to be clean and be free of dead skin.
To trust in my love and the comfort and care I would give him.
Alfie didn’t find it easy to trust. He wanted to keep hold of his pain all to himself. He was confident he could handle it as it was – dirt, dead skin and all.
It’s not always easy to trust is it? When we are going through painful times it sometimes feels safer to hold on to our pain, rather than let it go and trust it to God.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
What causes us to hold on to our problems and refuse to hand them over and trust in God?
1. We don’t trust in God because we are afraid
Just like Alfie with his grazed hand, sometimes we are afraid that if we turn to God with the painful areas of our life it’s just going to hurt more.
We think it’s better to keep things hidden and bury things down, convincing ourselves that we can ignore the hurt they are causing.
Cleansing can be painful. It can be difficult to bring things that need healing to the surface.
Yet, if we ignore them, just like with Alfie’s cut, things can get infected. Our problems can fester within us, growing negative feelings and decomposing good things such as our relationships or our self-belief.
2. We don’t trust in God because we mistakenly believe that we can handle things ourselves
There is a bit of a fallacy in our modern Western World – the fallacy that we can cope.
Through the empowerment that we have been given with more information at our fingertips, more opportunities to grow, develop and succeed, and more wealth and material pleasures than we have ever had before, we feel the need to cope with whatever life throws at us.
We bump into each other asking how we are doing and often the reply is “Fine” even though it may be quite clear that this is not the case. Yet, it seems somehow to be weakness to show that things might be getting us down, causing us worry or causing us pain.
Sadly this fallacy is no less prevalent in our churches.
We all face problems in life that at times overwhelm us.
We don’t need to go it alone.
We don’t need to pretend that we can cope.
We can trust in God with all our anxieties, big or small.
3. We don’t trust in God because of sin
Sometimes the pain in our life is caused by things that we have done wrong. Unforgiveness, deceit, anger are all things which may cause us problems, but we don’t think we can turn to God because we know we are responsible for what has gone wrong.
Our God is a God of grace. We can trust in God no matter what we have done to cause our anxiety or problems. He is always ready waiting for us to repent, confess and be restored in Him.
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Photo credit – John Evans from stock.xchng