For the past four or five days, the Lord has led me to Jeremiah 17:5 - 10. I have studied it forwards, backwards and sideways, gleaning the transforming wisdom from its pages. If you're not familiar with the passage, God compares the life of a person trusting in the ways and strength of man versus the life of a person trusting in the character and worth of God.
The word "trust" in this passage is the Hebrew word "batach" (don't ask me to pronounce it because it sounds something like "buttock" when I do) which means "to trust, be confident, be sure." I asked myself a few questions:
What does it mean to "trust, be confident, be sure" in man?
Seeking approval and worth from others, an obsession with achieving some sort of fame, making worldly things our haven (e.g., having wealth, a nice house, living in a safe place, having "stuff"), living according to the laws of man (e.g., demanding and defending our "rights" at all cost, paying back evil for evil, holding a grudge, letting bitterness and resentment make their home in our hearts).
In contrast, what does it mean to "trust, be confident, be sure" in God?
Making Him our confidence in terms of our worth: to know His infinite worth and our position as His child, to be "a liberated servant" who knows "they have nothing to prove."
Holding earthly treasures with an open hand, trusting that the Lord will do what He will with them for our good and His glory. (I'll be getting back to this one...)
Resting in the fact that God is a just and ultimate judge... "A heart bent on being bitter is a heart that does not trust in God."...let's reverse this...A heart that trusts God is not bent on being bitter.
What are the fruits of trusting in man?
Nothing. As soon as the wind changes, we, like the dried-up shrub in the desert, are cast aside. We have no roots, no safe and secure place to rest in the face of devastation or suffering. We are carried on the winds of man's whim.
What are the fruits of trusting in God?
Everything. We are not tossed about. We are steady, safe and secure even in the deepest drought, the utter devastation, the pit of suffering. He does not change. He stays true to Who He is: faithful, righteous, loving, merciful and just.
So - all this has been stirring in my heart since Saturday. I felt like I had most of this down. I tend to struggle with the fear of man (in other words, being a people-pleaser) but the Lord has given me victory over this in the past year and a half. There hasn't been any bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness holing up in my heart. And I thought - I THOUGHT - I was holding our material blessings with an open hand. Until lunch.
Lunch was great. Lunch was good. Let us thank Him for...His humor!
The Lord has been laying a decision about our finances on my husband's heart for a while. This decision would change some things about our life as we know it. It has the potential to protect us from greed. But it also has the potential to slow down our plans of investing money into our house (i.e., expanding our kitchen, installing hardwood floors, overhauling our backyard, did I say installing hardwood floors??).
This is where the rubber meets the road. Do I really trust God? Do I trust Him with our finances? Will I be okay with old grayish-once-whitish carpet and 80's tile that shows every grain of sand? (This is such an American dilemma.)
I think so. I hope so. I want so. I want to live with an open hand. I want to trust Him with everything. If this makes me more like Him, I want it. If this gives me more of Him, I want it!
"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
And to know 'thus says the Lord.'
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more!"