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Trust

It is over six months since I decided on my word for the year. In 2016 my word was Rest, but I ended the year very tired!

This year my word is Trust. I wrote about my reasons for choosing this word in an earlier post.

It didn’t take me long to realise that I find it very difficult to trust God. Although I am familiar with the promises set out in the Bible and the stories of God’s faithfulness, I find it hard to believe that God is working his purpose out and knows what is best for us.

Reasons to trust God

Reasons to trust God

There are many bad things happening, according to the news media. The good things are not reported. We begin to have a skewed outlook on life, when we only think about the news (which is available to us 24 hours a day). We need to look around us and notice the acts of kindness, the people working on behalf of others, the beauty of creation. We need to go on reading about the way God has worked in the lives of other people, not just in the Bible, but through the ages and in our own time.

If I say I trust God, but expect things to go wrong (a tendency I have), what does that say about my trust in God?

Recognising a fault in ourselves is the first step towards overcoming it. As I write this, I keep remembering words from the Anglican baptism service. The parents and godparents (or the candidate if he/she is old enough) are asked, “Do you believe in God?”

The question is asked three times – once each for each person of the Trinity.

Each time the response is, “I believe and trust in him.”

Thus a distinction is made between belief and trust. Trust is action based on belief.

Another phrase from the baptism service is, “With the help of God we will.”

Trusting God involves accepting that we need his help and that it is available to us at all times and in all places. He is ready to guide us and strengthen us, if we turn to him.

Each day we face choices. How do we spend our time?  How do we deal with situations as they arise? How do we interact with the people around us? How do we react to news? By turning to God and trusting him for strength and guidance, we are able to experience his peace.

We may find that we are able to refuse to do something that we might have done from a sense of obligation in order to rest. We may find we are able to do something we had not planned, because an opportunity arose. Perhaps others see us as less predictable if we are acting out our trust in God.

One exciting thing that happened recently was that I was able to take up a cancellation on a writing weekend, which had been fully booked for months. I don’t know who dropped out at the last minute, but I enquired about space and was able to go. While it is not always a good idea to leave bookings until the last minute, in this case it worked well. I didn’t worry about whether I’d be able to go as I only knew two days beforehand that I could.

I shall try to remember that this year I am concentrating on putting my trust in God.

 

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Prayer strands

Do you pray?

When I think about prayer I mean praying to the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Prayer is so easy a child can do it, but it can also be difficult. It can be difficult to be honest. It can be difficult to find time. It can be difficult to listen in case God is speaking or showing us a picture.

I recently had a half formed idea about the strength of groups of people praying. Jesus said, Where two or three are gathered in my name…

I wondered about a sort of plant rising from people towards God. We are supposed to be branches in his Vine – a sort of network. I thought about the strength of intertwined creepers. There is also reference in the Bible to a three-stranded cord.

Then I saw a picture on Twitter of wisteria in Kew Gardens. I have permission from Isabel Hardman to share it here.

Wisteria

Wisteria

I am not claiming to understand what happens when we pray. God wants us to treat him as our Heavenly Father and talk to him. We should expect to hear from him too.

Perhaps our prayers have substance, becoming a strong interwoven fabric or a tangle of creepers. Perhaps in praying for a person our prayers build up a barrier against evil. Prayer is something of a mystery. Does this picture resonate in any way with your experience? Can you shed any light on these tentative ideas?

 

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My word for 2017

In 2016 I decided that the word I needed to concentrate on was Rest. It is difficult to say how successful I was. It was a busy, stressful year in many ways. I found it helpful to have a word to work towards – if that is the right expression. So I have chosen another word for 2017. There were a few words, which vied for my attention. I wondered about sticking with Rest. New words I considered included generosity, steadfast and obedience.

In the end I settled on Trust. My reasoning was that learning to trust God more would help me to be more generous, steadfast and obedient.  I believe that God is worthy of our trust. In the words of a hymn, “There is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”

A page from Images of Grace by Jacqui Grace

A page from Images of Grace by Jacqui Grace

It sounds easy, but there are so many distractions and I am not always as attentive as I ought to be to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Here are some things I must remember to trust God for:

His forgiveness, even when I am still annoyed with myself for getting things wrong,

His unconditional love,

His peace, even in unsettling and uncertain times,

A joyful, thankful heart (mentioned in another hymn)

Opportunities to serve others,

To be able to live in His strength rather than my own,

Protection for those I care about,

Guidance, and wisdom.

Have you settled on a word for 2017?  If so, what is it?