The way memories work is a funny thing. In the most challenging season of my life, a time where it felt like I only had two choices — to trust God or die — I can remember laying on the floor in my bedroom. I know I was praying, crying out my dependence on God, but it is not the words I said that were memorable. In fact, I cannot remember those at all. It is the feeling of the carpet on my face that is stuck in my head. It had the strangest combination of soft comfort and rough abrasion. This combination mirrored my situation. It was a rough season, but God was so gentle to me in that time.
That’s the thing about trusting God. You often have to stand in the midst of where he has brought you and audibly ask him if he knows what he is doing. Does he remember you? Does he really have a plan for you? Can he see what you’re going through, feel what you’re feeling? And these are not questions that inspire confidence. Of course, God is trustworthy. You’ve read the Bible and seen the sea part, the enemies defeated, the dead rise. But are you confident enough to do what it takes to trust him?
Trusting God’s process in your life is often more about being willing to do the crazy hard thing that God is inevitably asking you to do, and less about if you think he is trustworthy. And that day on the floor, with my right cheek smooshed into the carpet, I was faced with the decision to get up and do the hardest thing I had ever done, or to lie there.
Don’t hear me wrong, on Sunday we looked at the life of Paul, who was willing to actually give up his life for the gospel, ministering while he was literally in chains. My situation and his are almost incomparable, except for this one thing: the Spirit was urging me, calling me to do something that would make his name great, though it would cause me pain, and this is the same Spirit that urged Paul on here:
And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,
— Acts 20:22
The thing Paul and I have in common is that the Spirit of God asked us to do something hard and unimaginable. The great thing about this shared experience is that it involves the same God, the one who parts seas, defeats enemies, raises the dead. The God that we serve is trustworthy and, knowing that we are doubters, he is willing to prove it over and over and over again.
The day that etched the carpet into my memory is not the most memorable part of that experience. What stands out to me still, several years later, is that I did get up off the floor. I walked straight out of my room and, for about four months, I woke up every day and told God that I trusted him. And every day he proved himself to me. He made his name big, he furthered his kingdom and, in the midst of that, he took care of me. I can now look back on the hardest time in my life as one my sweetest experiences with my God. Often, when I need a reminder of how good it is to trust him, I find myself back on the floor, face in the carpet, telling myself that, while I do have a choice, what other option is as rewarding as placing my faith in him and living my life for him? Then I get up and walk right out of that room and into his plan for me. Because while I often do not understand what he is doing, I do know that following him into the unknown is far better than hiding my face on the floor.