Spinning or Trusting? (Part 1)

I’ve often heard the comment: “I wish I found it as easy to trust God as you do…” I generally smile and say something along the lines of, “If you see that, it must certainly all come from the Lord and His graciousness, because I certainly don’t feel that way a good portion of the time,” gently – or perhaps nervously – laugh, and then try and direct the conversation away from that particular topic because trusting God isn’t something that comes easily or naturally for me… not at all. The head knowledge is all there. I know He can.  That statement uttered by the three Hebrew boys before they were cast into the fire, “but even if He does not…” is the part that trips me up every time. I know He can, but what if He chooses not to act the way I think is best… or to provide in the way I want?

This stumbling block touches all areas of my life missionary wife and mom, including finances. We are your larger than average family. The support allowance our mission requires us to raise stopped growing several children ago.  As children grow, appetites increase, plane tickets inflate and tuition jumps, it becomes more and more difficult to plan how we are going to make ends meet from month to month. For a planner personality, that is difficult. We left the field for home assignment a bit over a year ago at 65% of our recommended support allowance. Scheduled to return to the field in July, 2010, last spring we flipped the calendar from April to May still shy of the 80% mark and had only half of the funds needed to purchase plane tickets. We were wondering…

So my husband sat down and started crunching numbers, looking at our budget, trying to figure it all out.  The numbers never added up. They certainly didn’t look neat and tidy. People frequently asked if we were going back; frankly I would avoid the question with the spiritual sounding answer of “Lord-willing…,” all the while doubting and desperately wondering how in the world it could happen.

At that moment, these words from Job 8 described me well: “…the hope of the godless will perish, whose confidence is fragile and whose trust a spider’s web.”  I was functionally godless. Skeptical that God would provide, in my head and heart I was spinning a web of intricate, delicate and fragile filaments, attempting to construct the needed support, yet knowing such a concoction could not stand the winds and storms of life on the mission field. I think it was Matthew Henry who wrote “…the spider’s web, spun with great skill but easily swept away, represents a man’s pretensions to religion… without the grace of God in his heart.”

Isn’t it interesting that trust is both a noun and a verb? As a noun, it carries the idea of a sure and confident hope as described in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.” But trust is more than a thing or idea; it is a belief that requires action. Proverbs 3 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” and then continues by showing us just how that verb “trust” looks in action:  “Lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

I’m so thankful for a husband whom God has graced with an incredible ability to gently trust… and to gently encourage me to trust, too. He looked at the same numbers that I did with eyes of faith and said, “We’ll go, Lord… and I can’t wait to see what You will do,” while I was saying “God, just get us to this level. Then I’ll be able to trust. Then I’ll commit to taking my family.” Once my husband committed to a July departure, God opened His storehouses and provided abundantly, lavishly, far above and beyond what we had hoped for…  (to be continued)

Are there areas in your life where you are “functionally godless?” …areas where you say you trust God but instead of waiting confidently on Him, you find you are spinning some sort of web?

(Post by: Richelle)


4 Responses to “Spinning or Trusting? (Part 1)”

  1. 1 Karen October 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    This post is definitely timely for me! We are making a decision today whether to return to the field or to delay our return. Our main reason is because of support needs. We have gone back in the past being a little undersupported, and God took care of all of our needs! Right now we are a little more undersupported – and we also have to consider the rising cost of living, future cost of furlough housing, and a son in college. Our mission board policy is 100percent support, and unless we do some heavy duty number crunching, it is just not going to happen. We also have the needs of our college bound son to consider. He has not found a job, is planning to start college in the spring, and is struggling with his faith. This is another deciding factor for us – we just don’t feel at peace leaving him right now.
    I look forward to the rest of your post!

  2. 2 Ashley L. October 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Thank you so much for this, Richelle! I often feel this way about finances, especially regarding both support raising and what it will take to provide for our growing family. One think that i often worry about is the cost of plane tickets and how incredibly expensive it is becoming to fly our family back and forth between the US and Russia. I worry that our times seeing family in the US would become too few. Though of course it is important to take a good look at our finances and to budget and plan well, I know it is ultimately up to the Lord to provide for our needs, but I often need this reminder. I’ve also been thinking a lot and trying to plan for our future (retirement, kids college, etc.), and again, with the economy the way that it is and support being a challenge, it is tempting for me to “spin my own web.” Thank you so much for this encouragement and truth!

  3. 3 Sarah October 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. My heart was so challenged by the verse in Job 8. Since I read your post last night, I haven’t been able to get the idea of “spinning vs trusting” out of my head. That is such a good analogy. There are several areas that we are waiting on God for direction and provision right now (some financial, some not), and it is so tempting for me to try to spin my own web of solutions even though I know that it is futile and wrong. I’m looking forward to part 2… 🙂

  4. 4 richelle October 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    thanks for your words… and your transparency in your struggles in this area.

    funny how God gives us the opportunity to practice what we preach. He gave me such an opportunity last weekend and i must say i did both – some spinning and some trusting….

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