Posts Tagged ‘trust

15
Oct
10

childish or childlike

I have been thinking some about what the difference is between being childish and being childlike. Jesus did tell his followers that we are to become like little children (Matthew 18:3), but I believe there are some misunderstandings among church-goers as to what it means to become like a child again.

Let me try to explain what I believe is the difference between having a childish faith and a childlike faith. The first is sad when you see that in an adult, the latter is what Jesus commended and something that brings life to the person and the people around this wonderful, childlike grown-up.

To be childish and to have a childish faith has to do with the self-centeredness that is typical of children. It’s all about them. Everything is interpreted through the grid of how it may or may not affect them. Children are excellent at remembering information, but terrible at interpreting it, because everything is filtered through a self-focused filter. A childish faith is one of give me this, give me that. It’s one of prayers that only center around what I deem to be important for me to have. A childish faith doesn’t grow, and it doesn’t attract other people to Christ. An adult that is caught in this childish, self-obsessed lifestyle doesn’t need to be encouraged to stay this way, and unfortunately I’ve seen that happen too many times, but, on the other hand, needs to be challenged to actually start growing up and start learning that the world doesn’t center around the individual. The childish believer needs to see that other people are important too, and that when you learn to rest in who you are in Christ, you also learn to give space for other people to learn and grow, and you don’t have to always be the center of everybody’s attention.

A childlike faith, and a childlike grown up, on the other hand, is something beautiful and life-giving. These people exhibit the beautiful characteristics of any healthy child: trust, love, passion, excitement, hope. These are the qualities that Jesus referred to when he told us to become like little children. A healthy child is at rest and filled with peace, even when things can be difficult, because the child knows instinctively that Daddy is in control and will take care of the child! That’s a picture of childlike faith. Though life may bring storms and problems, these people trust that Daddy is in control, that God knows best.

I am happy that I know some of these people with a childlike faith. Too many adults have lost their childlikeness, and either they’re just plain old childish, or cynicism has set in so any relationship with God is considered not worth while.

The childlike people bring hope, life, joy, and love to all of us. These people don’t attract the headlines in the media, but these are the people where the kingdom of God flow most naturally through. There is a sense of life and vitality that has the power to bring down even the most cynical and cold people.

Blessings, Torben

12
Jun
08

Trust and living on support

I’ve had the privilege of living on support from friends, family members and churches the past four years. I call it a privilege because being dependent on finances from other people is something that I learn a lot from and that teaches me to be humble in an area where it’s extremely easy for me to worry and to rely on me and my abilities and my effort. It’s part of my make up as a man that I want to make sure that I take care of my family’s financial needs. I want to provide for Jeannette. But these four years and many years to come there is very little I can do to provide for our needs. It’s simply not up to me, it’s up to God. If God wants me to get a regular job, he’ll tell me that, and I’ll do that. But for right now it looks like he wants us to continue to be dependent on support from other people.

Jesus had many things to say about worrying, and worrying is a big part of most peoples’ lives. And we worry a lot in the area of finances. Prices on food, apartments, gas, etc. are going up all over the world these days, and money is tight for many people, even in the rich Western nations. I can easily get caught in the circle of worrying, and it’s easy for me to forget that I never ever get anything out of worrying. Worrying never helps anything, it only helps to steal my sleep at night and it helps make me stressed and harder to be around for my wife and other friends. 

My grandmother said that there are 365 places in the Bible where God says “don’t worry” in one way or another. One for each day. I haven’t counted them, and I don’t know if the number is true, but I know that we do need daily exhortations to not worry. 

The opposite of worry is trust. When I don’t worry about finances, it means that I’m in a place of trusting God to provide for all my needs. Trust doesn’t come easy, and I believe that growing in trust is gonna be a life long project for God and me. He knows I am not very good at trusting. He also knows that my heart desires to trust him more. And he knows how to teach me through life’s circumstances and choices what it looks like to trust him more and more. 

The problem is that in the area of finances (and many other areas) it feels comfortable to rely on myself. I need to do it. I need to make it happen. It’s dependent on me. For many people around the globe the area of finances, financial security, pension, insurance policies, etc. becomes an idol. It becomes something we build our sense of security around. But the truth is that when we build our sense of security around something we do, we’re building our houses on sand. And at any time a storm can come and blow it all away. 

Living on financial support from other people that God reminds to give us money is wonderful in the sense that I’m forced to trust God. I’m forced to not rely on myself. I can’t force anybody to give us money. I have no guarantees that the people who have been supporting us this far will continue to support us. I have no guarantees that we will have more supporters and more support which we would obviously need the day we would have children. I don’t know how on earth we would be able to raise maybe four or five times as much support compared to what we have now which we would need if we had a family of five or six a few years down the road. 

I don’t have the option of saving up money to pay for all kind of expenses. We live from month to month, and already the next few months I can’t really see how we’ll be able to afford all the expenses we have connected to moving to America, Jeannette studying, paying our insurance on our car over there and paying the fees for the nine week internship focusing on Exchanged Life counseling that I will be attending this fall. 

I have no clue how we will have all we need for all those expenses. But I know that God is good. I know that God has been good and faithful towards us so far. I know we’ve never lacked anything. I know we’ve been able to go to amazing places these past four years. I know we’ve had enough money to be able to visit family and friends in our home countries. I’ve just seen how God out of the blue provided the money we needed to be able to buy a used car in America! He did that through a couple of people that I’d never talked to before. God showed them that they needed to give us money for a car, and so they did! Hallelujah!

The evidence is heavy on the side of: “God is good, he’ll provide and everything is going to be alright!”, and yet I find myself worrying these days. I find myself checking my web bank more than necessary hoping that some money will have come into my account. I know God is not disappointed with me or mad at me when I worry, but he encourages me to cast all my worries and burdens on him, and then he’ll – once again – show that he is God, and I’m not!

Torben – who even in days of worrying is already looking forward to seeing the cool ways God will provide for everything we need these next few months! God is good all the time! 

08
Mar
08

Doubt and trust

This week I have struggled a lot with trust. I do trust God, but this week I’ve seen different areas in my life where my trust in God and who he is is not strong, and where lies from Satan and my flesh determine what I really believe when the door is closed and I’m all alone with my thoughts. I know that God has taught me many things about who he is and who I am in him, and I know that I’ve been growing in my trust in him these past few years, but I see, once again, how many steps I still have to take. I am so grateful that God doesn’t cast me away when it’s more doubt and unbelief that I allow to run my heart than trust in him. I am so grateful that Jesus never tells anybody to take a hike when we struggle to put our trust 100% in him. 

This week’s quote is again from Frederick Buechner whom Philip Yancey quotes in Reaching For The Invisible God.

Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me

What a deep truth. The more I learn about God, the more I see how important brutal honesty is to him. He is not interested in my religious statements of faith where I act and talk as if everything in my relationship with God is easy and straightforward. He wants the truth. The honest truth. And the truth is that all of us doubt God at some level. Some have a more straightforward, childlike faith and find it easy in most cases to trust God. Others, and I count myself in this group, have seen hundreds of signs of God’s goodness to humankind as a whole, to friends and family and to ourselves, but we still struggle to trust God completely with our deepest desires, longings and dreams. I know that God is good. I know that God loves me, but these days I struggle to trust that God will provide all the little miracles we need for me to get my visa to stay in the United States the next three years, and for Jeannette to get into a university, and for us to get a cheap (free!) car, etc. I know that God can make all of this happen without breaking much sweat. And I’ve seen countless times how he has come through for me, but still my faith is little these days. My flesh yells that I’m all alone, and God won’t help me. It’s days like these where you (if you can recognize yourself in any of these ramblings…) and I need to hold on to what we know to be true about God. 

I know that I know that I know that I know that I’m God’s son, and I know that he is working out everything for me so I’ll grow and look more like Jesus. I know that he will provide everything we need, and I know that if this crazy plan of Jeannette and I moving to America this summer really is his will, he’ll make sure: that the post people of USA, Denmark and Ukraine do their job so we’ll get our many different documents on time, that the embassy people in Kiev are nice and quick in their processing, that the State of Georgia accepts Jeannette into a college and provide her with enough scholarships to pay for her studies, and he’ll make sure we get a cool, little, cheap car! God is the good guy! 🙂

Torben – still trusting, but thankful that God allows me to doubt and question him! 




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