“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,” – A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.
Maybe you’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities, but you are probably familiar with the popular idiom from the book: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of time.” This is one way Dickens used to create a parallel between his readers and history. This line has become so iconic because each generation thinks their struggles are uniquely difficult. 2020 is a perfect example. Many people feel as if we are living in unprecedented times. Yet the world has seen pandemics and hurricanes, and political upheaval before. It’s one thing to read about these events in history books, but when you’re living through them, they are overwhelming and can naturally lead to an erosion of trust in God.
It is much more difficult to trust God in confusing, uncertain times. However, it is even more important to trust Him in times like these. God is our anchor and firm foundation when the pandemics of life are raging all around us. He is trustworthy even if nothing or no one else is. But we have to be careful that our trust doesn’t come with conditions. Too often our version of trusting God comes with expectations. Scriptures tell us to trust God in every circumstance. But that is not so easy when the circumstances are negative. Without intending to, we tend to expect the good not the bad. Real trust is the belief that God has our deepest well-being in mind even when the news from the doctor is bad, or you didn’t get that job you so needed. If we truly trust God, then we will have the confidence that God does all things well, even if the worst we fear happens.
There is a disconnect between what we want God to do and what we need Him to do. We can have the expectation that God should cooperate with the script we’ve written rather than live a trust-based relationship on His terms and His plan for our lives. The omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful) God who loves us as no one else can is the same loving God who so often frustrates our expectations. On His watch, we may not get the job we wanted, or get into the university of our choice, or the medical report we hoped for.
Can we trust that God is telling a larger and bigger story that is wiser and better and longer-lasting than the smaller story we have in mind with our limited, time-bound perspective? Is it not possible that an infinitely wise, graciously loving, and supremely powerful God could somehow be working a greater good than we can imagine through all the disappointments and difficulties that come our way?
If we’re to follow Jesus on the narrow road, we must discover a kind of trust that sustains us in our trials, frees us to love others when others fail us, and anchors us in seemingly irrational hope and inexplicable joy, even when it seems like the worst of times.
- How does your trust in God change in good and bad times?
- What can we do this week to trust God no matter what is happening around us?