God can be trusted
Once I heard someone declare that God was like an umbrella, always standing between you and all the trouble raining down.
My first thought was, then he's a pretty crappy umbrella.
What's the use of feeling protected like this, if you actually get all the same troubles as everyone else? I mean, it's pretty clear to me that God isn't keeping people from breaking their legs or falling off buildings. How would it make me feel safe to know that God was protecting me, if he was still going to let me fall off a building?
My answer back then was that God isn't really protecting us. He's not keeping us from harm, or making sure we do well on our homework. It would seem that he's not in that kind of business.
But I think I was wrong. I think we can trust in God, and can feel the safety of that protection. It's just that we missed what he was really protecting us from.
Like becoming stagnant.
Like ceasing to change or grow.
Like having no options or choices.
We can trust in God to always provoke us to new things, to new realizations, to new experiences. We can trust in God to refuse to let us stay set in our ways. We can trust in God to always shake things up.
Interestingly, this is what most of the biblical story is about. God does all these things, like kick Adam and Eve out of the garden, or stop construction on the Tower of Babel, and all of it is in the service of keeping humanity from getting stuck.
But this is also what we can see just by looking around the natural world. It's clear that God is not keeping people from falling off buildings. But it's also clear that God is keeping people from getting lazy. He keeps pushing us onward, upsetting our economy, our lifestyles, our ability to think in terms of 40-year careers. It would seem that he wants us to be good, but if we're not up for that, he'll take different.
So I have a newfound trust in God. I know he's looking out for me. I just realize that what he's looking out for is a lot different than what I was told to think.