My daughter is almost 12 months old and her favorite game she likes to play right now is to act like she’s going to share whatever she is playing with and then she takes the object back. She hasn’t quite figured out how to release it or maybe she never wanted to release it in the first place.
Either way, I feel like she gives us a great visual picture of what most of us do when we “give” something to God. It could be something that we are struggling to control: a situation, a family member, a friend, an emotion, ourselves, etc… Whatever it is, we try desperately to control it. If we have a relationship with Christ, we know or we are at least told that we should be giving that “thing” to God instead. So we pray and ask God to take it but I think so often we act like my daughter and very quickly take it back for one reason or another. Maybe God didn’t act fast enough or maybe we don’t think we are going to like the ultimate outcome He would choose.
So out of desperation we pray and ask our friends to pray and at some point in our journey someone says “just let go and let God” or “stop holding onto this.” The problem is that it feels like we are just throwing that object to the ground. The Entrust card through Gracestoration gives a great visual of this very situation. If you look at the left column on the card below, this person is doing just that. He is “letting go and letting God” or committing this to God. The man is believing that he should give up and do nothing.
If you look at the definition of commit in the box under the picture you see that it means to give something for better or worse to forces beyond one’s control. To the man, it feels like he is just dropping his box behind him and not looking back. That leaves him feeling anxious and fearful and often doubting God. For some minor issues in our lives this method may work but I’d argue that most of us struggle to just give up and do nothing when that box contains ourselves, our emotions, our families, our friends, or our dreams. If we hold that item dear to our hearts, we are not just going to throw it behind us and not look back. Which brings us back to our first scenario where we act like my daughter and never really give that item to God, convinced that we are the best ones to manage it.
Unfortunately the more we hold on to those things in our lives, the more we become held captive by them and find ourselves struggling to function in the day to day life. And this is why I am writing today. I too am held captive by various things that I am holding onto: my daily pain level, my prognosis, my treatment, my fears, my family, my quality of life. I have tried to give them each over to God but then for various reasons, I take them back. Sometimes in my utter fatigue, I practically throw it all at Him and say “You deal with it, I’m done” but after a few days I feel that I still need to take responsibility for it so I take it back. And the cycle repeats itself over and over again. It’s like a vicious tug of war with my heart at the center of it all.
Being a part of Gracestoration I know there is a better way than all of this. I can entrust these things I hold dear to God. The Gracestoration definition of entrust is to transfer the responsibility of something (or someone) valuable to a place of safe keeping. If you look at the man in the picture on the right he is believing that he should release and allow God to be that place of safe keeping and God in his grace (as pictured in the cloud) reaches down to receive the object being entrusted. This becomes an actual transfer from the man’s hands to God’s hands. The man then feels safe and secure and his heart can rest knowing that the thing that he holds dear is in a safe place. It is here that the man can experience freedom from that thing that he was holding onto so tightly.
Luckily as Christians, Christ becomes our safe place to whom we can entrust our most valuable things. When we do, we can experience rest and peace and enjoy this journey of life. I think the key though comes back to something I have talked about frequently: our focus. When we entrust, our focus should be on the one to whom we are entrusting, not on what we are entrusting or what the outcome will be. Despite Paul’s suffering, he kept his eyes focused on Christ and His character so much that he didn’t worry about what he had entrusted or about the outcome of what he had entrusted. He just trusted Christ.
2 Timothy 1:12 “Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.”
One of the biggest barriers to being able to entrust something to God is that we are not convinced that He wants what we want. If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one or a very difficult situation either in your life or a loved one’s life, it’s easy to question God’s faithfulness when what He has allowed to happen doesn’t align with what we want to happen. After my mom died, I found myself often asking the question: Can I trust God with my heart, with my dreams, with my loved ones? It was the first time that His will in my life really didn’t feel good and perfect. Ironically enough, God used the pain of infertility and the blessing of adoption to slowly restore my trust and faith in Him. It was during this time that I started learning Gracestoration and God used the study to apply his perfect grace to the wounds in my life and He started to heal my heart. I began by being honest with God and entrusting my doubt to Him. I started to learn and accept that the outcome of whatever I was entrusting was never better than relationship with my Savior and Creator. One of my Gracestoration mentors encouraged me to stop asking the “what if” questions and start saying “Even if” statements. For instance, instead of asking “What if our adoption falls through?” I started saying “Even if our adoption falls through, God is still God and He is still good.” I’ll say that last part of the statement again:
God is still God and He is still Good.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had this “Even if” mentality when faced with the possibility of being thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar:
Daniel 3:17-18 “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
They did not let the threat of death cause them to renounce their faith. They decided that even if they ended up being thrown into the blazing furnace, they would still believe and trust in God.
I realized that God was asking me to trust Him even if I experience more pain here on this Earth. Along the way, He has provided me with countless times when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He and He alone worked personally in my life: the adoption of each of my kids, financial provision for both adoptions, the house we are currently living in, my husband working from home, etc. I see these times as my memorial stones as seen in the Old Testament when God had Joshua lead the people across the Jordan River on dry ground.
Joshua 4:1-3 “When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 ‘Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.'”
Joshua 4:21-23 “‘In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over'”.
Joshua 4:24 “He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
God had the Israelites take those stones out of the middle of the river so that when times got hard, they would remember the power of the Lord their God. I think in God’s infinite grace, He gives us a glimpse of His power and glory so that we will remember when His glory and power seem so far away.
Even when our trust in God is restored, I think it can be hard to daily entrust our hearts and our burdens to Him. Again I think it comes back to this issue of focus. We often become so Earthly focused that we forget where we are headed. If you read my last blog post, Serendipity, I talked about how our point B is Eternity with Christ, not happiness on this Earth. I think if we just focus on our lives, ourselves, and on those around us, we can forget our ultimate goal and purpose for this life: to spend Eternity with Christ and to spread the love and grace of Christ with those around us.
As I mentioned earlier, I am writing because I too need this word from God. This Entrust card is traditionally taught as the second card in the first semester of Gracestoration and I have heard this taught countless times and I have taught it twice. And yet, I very quickly forget that I can entrust my WHOLE life to Him and He is more than able and willing to take the responsibility for whatever I entrust to Him.
Recently I have been stuck on this concept of entrusting. I know all of the theory behind it but I have still struggled to feel that release from my burdens and I feel consumed with myself and my worries. God prompted me to ask for prayer from my fellow Gracestoration friends and through their prayers and God’s grace, I slowly started to entrust myself to Him and I started to experience rest and freedom from my burdens.
Maybe this is the first time you have heard this concept of entrusting, and if so I pray that God will use this to allow you to experience freedom from your burdens. Maybe you have been trying to daily entrust your burdens and concerns to Him but you just can’t seem to break free. If this is you, I encourage you to ask for prayer from those around you, specifically prayer that you can entrust your daily burdens to Him and experience freedom so that you can enjoy this journey of life.
God wants to do life with us and he wants us to experience joy in the midst of our circumstances, whatever they may be. I’m finding that joy is a choice and the only possible way I can even try to experience joy is through this concept of entrusting daily and often my burdens, concerns, and worries to Him. And when I do, I can rest and enjoy the life God has given me.