We believe God is all good, all wise, and always in control – until our lives take an unexpected turn. When relationships fail, finances falter, or the doctor calls back with grim news – we desire to cling to God’s promises. But we also struggle to understand why He lets trials shake our world.
In the midst of seasons of serious uncertainty, Bible teacher and psychologist Dr. Larry Crabb encourages us to remember that God is writing a bigger story than we can see.
“We tend to live our lives between our birth and our death. In this life, we want God to give us what we’ve scripted for the smaller story that goes on in-between. But God wants us to live in between the Cross and the Coming – and that’s a whole different paradigm.”
“The script I’ve written for my smaller story is not a script God always cooperates with, but He’s always advancing the script He’s written for the larger story. When problems come into my life and difficulties happen – the job is lost, cancer comes, or whatever it might be – we need to be aware that there is something God is doing here.”
Trusting God when His ways aren’t our ways is a challenge. It’s a paradox that the Apostle Paul describes this way in one of his letters to the Corinthians.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
Dr. Crabb says keeping our eyes on God’s faithfulness, instead of our circumstances, allows us to maintain our trust when things get tough.
“Maybe God is really up to something in every moment of life: He’s up to something when the doctor gives you bad news, or when your husband leaves you, or when the job is lost. What He’s up to is conforming us to the image of Christ. So when troubles come, it’s not our first goal to end them, but to find out what God is doing in the middle of them.”
When bad things happen, we might even start to question whether God is really good. Dr. Crabb says the antidote to our doubts is in the truth of the cross.
“I believe with all my heart, as every sincere believer does, in this: that when I die, Heaven awaits – all because of the value of the blood of Christ. He died on the cross for my sins, so I’m going to heaven. So I can say “God, you’re really a good God because I know when I die, I’m going to live eternally in heaven and it’s going to be wonderful.”
“But how about before I die? The question is, what good is God now?”
“The real issue in my mind is: Am I aware of the deepest desire of my soul? The Spirit of God is asking me, “What are you thirsty for?” Am I thirsty to know the Lord and to reveal Him by the way I live? If that’s the case, then when problems come, rather than saying ‘what good is God?’” I can say “I know what good God is.” He’s good to satisfy the deepest thirst of my soul in this life by giving me all that I need to live the Christian life in a way that glorifies Him and brings me joy.”
Trusting God is a process, and we can begin to practice it today by thanking God for all the things that never change: His unfailing love for us, His total forgiveness of our sin, and His everlasting promise to make all things work together for good–in His perfect timing.
“The LORD is good, a strong refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7
Dr. Larry Crabb is a psychologist, speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder of NewWay Ministries. He is currently scholar-in-residence at Colorado Christian University in Denver, and visiting professor of spiritual formation for Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. Dr. Crabb and his wife, Rachael, live in Charlotte, North Carolina.