So, for about two weeks now I have been feeling challenged to think about my faith and how much I really trust God. It kind of started really when I was helping to plan our mid-week children’s small group material. We’re using the ‘What’s in the Bible?’ DVDs by Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, for the second half of every term. We have just finished writing the material up to the end of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, and the DVD looks at how the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years because they did not trust that God would give them the land he had promised.
Through the ‘object lessons’ we are using with the children in the small groups we are teaching the children that our relationships with God can be like that, sometimes we don’t trust God even though we believe that He wants the best for us. We try to work things out in our own way rather than trusting God to be in charge and doing things his way.
The things we are teaching the children are things that I have struggled with myself. I have been working as a Children’s Ministry Parish Assistant (like an intern) with my church since September and this has made me look at my faith in new and challenging ways. The things I have learnt myself and been teaching the children over the past nine months have made me stop and consider what I believe, why I believe it and what my relationship with God is really like.
One night in November I had a revelation about my relationship with God. I was at a Kids’ Leaders Training event and I was there with my new colleagues, people I had seen at church and wanted to get to know better, but didn’t really know at that point. I was feeling beyond myself and wished that my best friends were there with me to talk to. I figured maybe God was trying to teach me to depend on him and that was really difficult for me. All I could see was the brokenness and the bad things that had happened in my life, the things I thought I had dealt with but had only locked away. It felt like the grief and anger of my losses were locked behind a door inside me but were emitting a gas that seeped under the door and through my life.
It was after midnight when the penny finally dropped. I couldn’t put my dependence on God because I didn’t trust him implicitly. I felt betrayed by the God I believe in. My God was a god who could wrap great joy in the same package as devastating heartache and make that package a tiny baby boy I would call David. The same God gave me a loving, supportive grandmother and then took her away when I needed her more than ever. How could my head and heart trust that the blessings God gave would not be taken, that every good thing would not have a sting in its tail?
Luke 11:11-13 says: ‘You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?’
It had felt like I was asking God for eggs but getting scorpions, which would kinds of suck, so there was no wonder I was a little cautious about what God had given me since I asked Jesus into my heart. I can see now though that the main ‘scorpions’ in my life were before I had a real faith and the poison from their stings was still in my psyche. I had to adjust the way I look at things to stop the poison affecting the good gifts God gives me now.
God doesn’t give gifts with a sting in the tail, all his gifts are good. I’m trying to trust God with the little things in my life more, because I can see the time coming, just around the corner, where I have to trust Him with the big things.
Having realised this and tried to learn the lesson for myself I feel more comfortable that I am one of the right people to be teaching this group of amazing kids about trusting God. I still have more to learn, but I think most people do. I just know that I’m trusting God more and trying not to lean on my own understanding as much these days.
I’m having to trust that God knows what my fiance and I want for our wedding and will help us to achieve those things. It’s an exciting time and although a little scary knowing that I have God to trust makes it seem less daunting.
This evening I’m going to be one of two leaders in our group. I have spent almost three hours drying out a quantity of play sand that I bought at a pound shop so that we can all make sand timers to remind the children of the Israelites in the desert and how they were there because they didn’t trust God. I’ll be holding onto mine after so that I have a reminder too.