Placing Our Trust in the Unseen
- Thursday, July 02, 2009
Journey back to 1935, discover ominous ruins deep in the dense jungles of India's Lost Delta, board a rugged troop transport, and enter the legendary Temple of the Forbidden Eye in search of unimaginable rewards.
This is the prologue to the Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland in Southern California. The ride touts, “the adventure is almost never exactly the same twice, including three potential rewards: earthly riches, eternal youth and future knowledge.” (Isn’t this what we are all told to strive for in life?)
The trip takes you on an unknown path through caverns, tenuous crossings, explosions, deadly creatures, and into the path of menacing obstacles. The experience is never quite the same as a result of computer generated options that provide and control the different possible outcomes.
At times, my life feels like that ride—making my way through the ups and downs, trying to avoid pitfalls and obstructions, lacking control in search of a final reward. Instead of my adventure being controlled by a computer or, in some cases, my own efforts, I recognize it is held in the hand of my Creator.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
However, in this day and age where we have unbridled access to endless information instantaneously, it becomes easier to place more emphasis on what we see, what we know, and what we can understand, than on having faith and trusting the Lord.
Seeing Is Deceiving
Oftentimes, what we see can be deceiving. After feeding thousands, Jesus sends his followers ahead in a boat. He later walks out on the water to join them.
Jesus quickly spoke to them, “Have courage! It is I. Do you not be afraid.” Peter said, “Lord, if it is really you, then command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come” (Matthew 14:27-29).
Peter did as Jesus commanded, yet when he saw the winds and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink.
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. Jesus said, “Your faith is small. Why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).
My “faith-meter” is sometimes dependent upon how I see my situation. When things look like they are going along as I plan and as I want, my faith is strong. However, when things look adverse my faith occasionally waivers. The Bible makes it clear what true faith is.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
Every day we face many unknowns. We try to minimize the obstacles and pitfalls in our life, but in the end we don’t have full, if any, control. Our faith should not be dependent upon how we see our situation, rather trusting in the one who is in control. That is why Jesus tells us to have courage, not be afraid, and to come to Him.
Knowing Takes Patience
Even if we have clearly heard and know the plan God has for our lives, sometimes our own lack of patience gets in the way. This was the case with Abram and Sarai.
“You will have a son of your own who will inherit what you have.” Abram believed the Lord. And the Lord accepted Abram’s faith, and that faith made him right with God (Genesis 15:4-6).
As Sarai neared 90 years old, and Abram 100, she told Abram the Lord has not allowed her to have children so go ahead and have sexual relations with her slave girl, Hagar. Abram agreed and Hagar got pregnant with Ishmael.
Abram’s faith made him right with God, yet he chose to listen to his wife over waiting on Him, and they walked outside of God’s plan. Even so, God did not abandon His people nor go back on His Word.
Sarah your wife will have a son, and you will name him Isaac…As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will bless him and give him many descendants (Genesis 17:19-20).
We live a world where patience is no longer a virtue. We rarely have a desire to wait for anything and usually want everything immediately. Yet oftentimes, what God has for us, which is His very best, requires waiting for.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalms 27:14).
Who Could Have Envisioned?
Some of us discern what God has for us and many believe we know. However, most of us can’t foresee how He will accomplish it, appreciate the amount of time He will take, nor understand His methods or rationale.
- A man survived a near-death experience as a child and became inseparable from his parents. Even after his mother’s death, he remained at home caring for his elderly father. His father eventually sought a woman suitable for his son, who he later married at the age of forty.
- A single woman lived her entire life with faith in God and a love for her family. She gave into sexual promiscuity, yet her heart remained open to God. When faced with a decision, she chose what was right even in the midst of great personal risk. She ultimately met a man and had children.
- A young girl grew up and married a foreigner of a different faith. When she lost her husband, the girl decided to go to her mother-in-law’s home country to support her, sacrificing her own personal desires. There she met an honorable man, remarried and had a child.
- A young boy inherited everything from his father yet never followed in his father footsteps. He chose wicked ways and encouraged others to do the same. The boy lost everything he had and was imprisoned. While behind bars, he rediscovered God, discarded his wickedness and led others to Him.
Maybe you can relate to one of these stories. Each was faced with feelings of doubt, despair and the unknown. Every one sacrificed something along their journey of faith while trusting in God, yet all of them (in His time) received desires of their heart.
- Isaac—son of Abraham and Sarah, married Rebekkah and was the father of Jacob.
- Rahab (the prostitute)—harbored Joshua’s men in Jericho in exchange for safety, married Salmon and had several children, including Boaz.
- Ruth—married Boaz while caring for Naomi and was the mother of Obed.
- Manasseh—became king, lost his throne, returned to the throne where he redeemed his ways and followed a life in the Lord, married and fathered Amon.
Unbeknownst to them, they were also being used for a purpose greater than any of them could have imagined—in the lineage of God’s only Son.
At times, we may be so consumed by our own problems and our own desires, or be fixated on wanting to follow someone else’s path (not realizing they are facing obstacles too), that we can’t step back long enough to look at the bigger picture, or to let go of the situation and have faith that God will and is handling it.
The Indiana Jones ride offers potential rewards of earthly riches, eternal youth, and future knowledge (during its five minutes of excitement). Jesus offers actual rewards of riches in heaven, a glorious body in eternity, and knowledge and wisdom (and more), if we put our faith and trust in Him.
Jump in, take your hands off of the wheel, and let Him take control. He has plans for you, “plans to prosper not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
What an amazing ride it will be.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com.
**This article first published on July 2, 2009.
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