Did Billy Joel Have It Right? Has It Always Been a Matter of Trust?

It would be easy for me to say that I’m constantly searching for the will of God.

But I would only be fooling myself. And if I told another person that, it would be a lie.

The truth is that God has a very long leash. He lets me gravitate towards my will all the time. Unfortunately, I can hang out in that my-will-world way too long. Fortunately, God loves me enough to bring me back to his reality, and sometimes even ask me, “So, you had fun and then you hurt bad. Wha-dyah learn?”

Left to my own devices, I could easily veer off the path and into tangent city, where God’s will seems to be in some far off land, a land that I vaguely remember how to get back to.

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. (Genesis 22:1-2)

“Our difficulty is not that we don’t know God’s will,” I read in the Experiencing God Day by Day devotional for May 20. “Our discomfort comes from the fact that we do know His will, but we do not want to do it!”

When God first spoke to Abraham, His commands were straightforward. “Go to a land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). Then God led Abraham through a number of tests over the years. Abraham learned patience as he waited on God’s promise of a son, which took twenty-five years to be fulfilled. Abraham learned to trust God through battles with kings and through the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The pinnacle of Abraham’s walk of faith was when God asked him to sacrifice the one thing that meant more to him than anything else. Abraham’s previous obedience indicated that he would have quickly and decisively sacrificed anything else God asked of him, but was he prepared for this? God did not ask Abraham to make such a significant sacrifice at the beginning of their relationship. This came more than thirty years after Abraham began walking with God.

Abraham’s previous obedience. Wow! So, even though it appears that Abraham led a life that was pretty much in God’s will for a lot of the time, he still needed to be tested. So, God, waiting for Abraham to walk out his faith slowly, didn’t simply zap him with another item on the big to-do list until he was ready.

As the Father progressively reveals His ways to you in your Christian pilgrimage, you, like Abraham, will develop a deeper level of trust in Him. When you first became a Christian, your Master’s instructions were probably fundamental, such as being baptized or changing your lifestyle. But as you learn to trust Him more deeply, He will develop your character to match bigger tests, and with the greater test will come a greater love for God and knowledge of His ways. Are you ready for God’s next revelation?

The 3-day Together LA conference with 50 speakers present to share their experiences as Christian leaders serving the city was more than two years ago. This website was launched just three months ago. As editor of TogetherLA.net I often want to go beyond my Master’s fundamental instructions. But in the end, when I wander my way it most often feels like I’m forcing something to happen. When I don’t simply lean into Jesus… you know, turn the keys over to Him, things have a tendency to go sour.

How did Abraham do it? Sounds like it’s a matter of trust.

And that, my friends, is not just a Billy Joel song. However, Joel had it right in that song as far as the topic of relationships and trust. As nearly as I can tell, he was referring only to earthly relationships. But there is a greater relationship we must put our all into. That one is our relationship with God.

Yes, it’s a matter of trust.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7)

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