It is a Saturday morning in the spring of 1979. My course work for a master’s degree in learning disabilities complete, I enter a lecture hall at Chicago State University to take my written exams. Three questions. One hour allotted for each. No clue what I’ll be asked. I’m handed the first question and proceed to answer it in great detail. Then I glance at the clock and realize that I’ve spent too much time on the first part of the question. If I don’t answer all of the parts, failure is a distinct possibility. Decisive action is imperative- either I trust in God to help me recall the necessary knowledge or I panic and lose everything I’ve worked to achieve. Choosing to trust, a calm spirit took over and evicted my panic mode.
As Jeff Manion points out in The Land Between, trouble and trust coexist in our hearts. When we look at the wind and the waves doubt sets in, paralyzing us emotionally and spiritually. Our thoughts and words drift toward complaint, rather than honestly crying out to God. Yet crying out to God opens our receptiveness to His leading as we release our frustration and anxiety to the Lord. Jeff Manion explains: ” . . . the very act of voicing our trouble to God begins a conversation in which we have opened ourselves up to his care, his mercy, and his provision.” The song “Broken Hallelujah” (Mandisa) refers to this as “shattered praise”. Honestly crying out to God acknowledges His sovereignty and lordship.
Even doubt can build faith. Author Madeleine L’Engle refers to the faithfulness of doubt as a prerequisite for a living faith. John Ortberg (Know Doubt) adds that faith is not simply a statement of belief- it’s putting our trust in God.
Trust requires decisive action, not passivity. It’s not something we can keep putting off because, in the words of John Fogerty, “someday never comes”. Jesus knows where your life is headed. Let Him take your hand and lead.