Have you ever wondered how someone could question your motives? Felt as if all you do is spend your time trying to prove yourself?
Early on in relationships, there is something to be said for proving oneself. New employees must show themselves worthy of their employers’ trust, new friends earn trust through the test of time, and a fiancée must prove him/herself faithful throughout a time of engagement to prove they are deserving of a lifetime commitment. There is a place and time for proving of motives.
Unfortunately, many find it difficult to move past proving and into trusting and fall into a lifetime pattern of making people prove themselves to us. As a parent of 4 children, I have watched my children pass through times of proving themselves – to me, their friends, teachers, and as they have matured and married, to their spouses. Initially, times of proving for young children are as simple as trusting them to brush their teeth, clean their rooms, and do their homework without being told. As they progress, our confidence in them grows. They are proving themselves.
It’s normal to have moments along the journey of proving ourselves that we fail, and as my kids learned, there were consequences to those moments. I felt badly for them when they faced consequences for their actions: no TV time, early bedtimes, to name a few. Their sweet faces pleading with me to “pleeeease” forgive them. Forgiveness wasn’t the issue, their father and I explained, they were forgiven. They still had to pay the price for their actions.
I remember how angry they were with me as they grew older when I would pepper them with questions, “Where are you going? Who else will be there? How long will you be gone?” To which they would reply, “Don’t you trust me?” The pain in their eyes betrayed their feelings, and it was then that I knew it was time to step back.
As they grew and matured and spread their wings, I cringed when they made certain decisions that I knew were off. I learned to bite my tongue, pray, and see them grow and follow the wisdom that we had instilled in their hearts when they were growing up. Witnessing this process was perhaps the greatest privilege I’ve had as a parent. All of the self-doubt that had plagued me throughout their childhoods was put to rest when I saw them following right paths. They grew up wiser than I could have hoped, smarter than I ever was, and gained reputations of being faithful in whatever capacity they were working or serving in. I am just a little bit proud.
I remain with daughter number 4 at home; she is our “bonus” baby coming home when the 3rd born was nearly 15. All of the lessons I learned with the first 3 have come back to me vividly as I pray to lead her down the same road of learning the importance of her facing the consequences of her actions.
There was a time when friends, close friends, of King David scorned his trust in God. Surrounded by enemies at a time of intense distress, they told him to “give up and run away.”
Imagine how God, Who had faithfully given David and his men victory after victory, must have felt when those who surrounded David, who had seen His power, told him to quit. I wonder if God wanted to ask them, “Don’t you trust me?”
Psalm 11:1,4 TLB “How dare you tell me, ‘Flee to the mountains for safety.’ When I am trusting the Lord?…But the Lord is still in His holy temple; He still rules from heaven. He closely watches everything that happens here on earth.”
“How dare you?”
That’s what David’s response was to those mocking him. Anger filled his heart; he was outraged with their doubt. Hadn’t God rescued them time and again? Why did they need more proof than what they had already seen?
He knew God was faithful, God had proven Himself time and again. He wasn’t going to be silenced into defeat – he told everyone who was near him that God didn’t need to prove Himself. No, he wasn’t going to run away in defeat.
How dare we?
When we have seen God come through for us time and again, question His character by failing to trust Him? It’s as if we have amnesia when trouble comes; we forget all of the miracles, all of the times God came through for us.
How dare we?
I’ve decided that God doesn’t need to prove Himself to me again; I have seen His power, I have experienced miracles that are too numerous to list. I’ve decided not to allow the doubt of others creep into my experience and cause me to question God’s faithfulness. If this means that I alone trust God, as David did, so be it. There is no other that has proven himself to me as my Heavenly Father has – He is closely watching me.
Joshua 1:9 TLB “Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”