Humility Produces Trust
How do we grow in our trust of God’s plan for our lives? More to it, how do we grow in our trust of God? While we may say with our lips that we believe God is working out all things for our good, often our hearts believe something very different.
In Genesis 50, Joseph shows us what quality is necessary before we can trust God. When his brothers - who had previously abused him and sold him into slavery - approach him to tell him their father, Jacob, had died, they beg for his forgiveness. Joseph’s response is instructive:
19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?”
It is easy, isn’t it, to become judge and jury in response to a negative circumstance. It’s easy to take the place of God and respond, “there was no higher purpose for this pain.” In so doing, we’re snatching authority that’s reserved for our Creator. Joseph models for us humility.
To be humble is to recognize our limited view, our limited place. We don’t see the whole story. We don’t know how each act will work its way into the narrative of the play. Joseph’s humility allows him to offer the following response:
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Joseph’s humility allowed him to see his circumstances through the lens of hope. He was able to trust that God was working out his purposes, even when life seemed unfair. Joseph is a wonderful example of God working out good through evil, but his story is by no means the best.
Jesus being nailed to the cross by the hands of evil men was the worst, most evil thing to ever happen. Yet, it was through those things, not in spite of them, that God was working out his plan to redeem his people—the best, most wonderful thing to ever happen! This is the point of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2. The people had one intention, but God had another. His sovereign purposes were being enacted through their actions.
“People treat God’s sovereignty as a matter of controversy,” says J.I. Packer, “but in Scripture it is a matter of worship.” You see, even when we cannot identify why God is allowing a certain bad thing to happen in our lives, if we know that he used the worst thing to bring about the best thing, we can trust that he can use every adverse thing in our lives to bring about good.
Pastor for Faith Formation at All Saints Anglican Church in Downtown Dallas, TX.
Pray with me this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, whose beloved Son willingly endured the agony
and shame of the cross for our redemption: Give us courage to
take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.