I go running with my pastor, David, 3-4 times per week. These runs help us build our friendship, get exercise, and relieve stress. We end up talking about all sorts of things, from spirituality to cooking tips. Our conversations usually continue 15-30 minutes after the end of the run, and this past Monday was no different. As we headed towards our cars David brought up a topic I’d asked him for help on a few weeks prior: Volunteering. As you can imagine might be the case for a young(ish) unemployed man, I’ve got some time on my hands. As a pastor and professor I figured David would know a few people who might need a hand.
We had talked in the past about having me help some folks from the church with their counseling business, but that fell through. This past Monday David brought up the topic again, this time briefly describing an exciting opportunity to help a doctoral student. He told me he’d follow up with the candidate to confirm if, and when, she could use my help.
I answered David with something like, “OK, thanks for keeping me updated and for trying to connect me. If and when this volunteering thing happens, it’ll be the right opportunity at the right time. God will figure it out.” David agreed, and we both said goodbye and turned toward our cars. I took no more than three steps before what I’d just done hit me like a truck.
I whirled back around and practically shouted at David, who was now half-in, half-out of his car, “Whoa! What the heck was that?”
“What?” he said.
I blurted out, “Didn’t you hear what I just said? We were talking about plans for my future and I completely trusted God and His process…without even thinking about it! I just said, ‘It’ll be the right opportunity at the right time. God will figure it out.’ Why was that so easy? Why can’t I trust God like that with my career?”
Why is it so easy to trust God with my plans for volunteering but not my plans to make a living? My best guess: Money. We don’t have a lot of it, and you generally need it to buy things like food and pay rent. In other words, the fear of survival is at stake when looking for work, a stressor which is categorically absent when considering volunteer opportunities.
But you and I both know this is an irrational fear, don’t we? If God is who He says he is in the Bible, can’t I believe the One who created the heavens and the earth can find me the right volunteer opportunity and the right career opportunity?
Maybe without even breaking a sweat?
My moment of trust in God was powerful because it was unconscious! It just ‘came out’! Like an ancient symbol, this moment has clarified and crystalized what trust in God can look like for me.
Over the last 48 hours I’ve repeatedly focused on trusting God with my search for work the way I trust him with my search for volunteering. I picture that moment of conversation in my head, but instead of volunteering I superimpose the area of my life in which I need a little help trusting God (in this case, my career). I picture David telling me about a possible job opportunity, and then I hear myself say to him, “It’ll be the right opportunity at the right time. God will figure it out.” Though brief, this meditation is potent! And I want you to try it right now!
Ready? Here we go!
- Quickly answer this question without thinking: What area of your life do you not trust God with? (Hint: This is the area of your life that you stress about, pray about, and generally agonize about more than anything else)
- Focus on the main issue at stake; ignore peripheral issues
- Now think about something you implicitly trust God with, something you feel breezy and carefree about. Maybe it’s your marriage, your health, or the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. Whatever it is, you’ll know you’re on the right track because this is a part of your life you almost never complain about, stress about, or pray about
- Spend at least one minute focusing intently on this part of your life. If it’s the sunrise, think about today’s sunrise (if you saw it). Think about your favorite sunrise of all time. Meditate on the idea of the world continuing to spin, day after day, and the sun always being there to greet you every morning. This is important, so spend as much time as you need locking this into your mind
- Quickly now, think again about the part of your life you don’t trust God with. Let your feelings of unwavering trust in the sunrise bleed over into this part of your life. Imagine God fulfilling your need in the right place and time, the same way He causes the sun to rise at the right place and time every day of your life
- If you find yourself getting stressed out, release the thoughts about your trust-issue and go back to your sunrise. Spend another minute or two watching the sun rise in your mind, then bring back thoughts of your trust-issue
Lacking faith and trust in God isn’t wrong, but we are awfully good at feeling bad about it! Let’s work together to trust God until having faith in the most painful part of our lives becomes second nature, like our trust that the sun will rise tomorrow.