Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Last fall, I was shopping at a store where they sell everything in bulk. I can never think rationally in those types of stores.  “Why buy one jar of mayonnaise, when I can buy ten?” I ask myself.  The reasonable answer is because our family of three cannot possibly consume ten jars of mayonnaise before they expire.  Yet invariably, I will buy ten jars of mayonnaise.

As I entered the store that day, immediately in front of me were bags of flower bulbs. They had bags of 25, 50 and 90 bulbs.  You wouldn’t believe it, but the bag of 90 bulbs cost only $15.  I could not pass up that deal.  When I got home, my husband said to me, “That’s great, but now you have to plant all those bulbs.”  Admittedly, that hadn’t factored into my thinking when I bought the bulbs.

Four backbreaking hours later, I had planted 90 tulip bulbs. And then I waited.  For months.  Every so often, I would look outside and ask my husband, “Do you think they are going to come up in the spring?”  He would answer, “Of course.  That is what bulbs do.”  But I didn’t really believe him.

Then one morning this March, my husband said, “Come with me. I have a surprise for you.”  Lo and behold, little tulip shoots were coming out of the ground.  I rarely have been so excited (we obviously live very simple lives).  Now my front yard looks like Holland in the springtime.

Why didn’t I simply expect the tulips to come up out of the ground? I spent the entire winter questioning something that science already has determined will happen.  You put a bulb in the ground, and a plant inevitably will grow.

I didn’t expect the bulbs to grow, for the same reason that many of us don’t expect God to be good to us. We hope that God will be good to us, but we don’t expect it.  We don’t have faith that God will take care of us.  Why?  I think faith is hard because we don’t want to be disappointed.  So we give God 50% faith.  Our attitude is, “Well, it would be nice if God takes care of me and my family, but if He doesn’t, that’s OK too.”

We’ve all had disappointments in life. Some of them may have been big – perhaps a divorce or the death of a loved one.  Others may have been small – not getting a job or failing at a test.  But once you’ve gotten some disappointments under your belt, you develop ways of protecting yourself from the feelings of hurt and sadness that come along with that.

Faith demands that we don’t protect ourselves. Faith demands that we stand completely naked and defenseless before God, and say, “I give you my life.  I trust you to take care of me.  I believe you will make sure that my life is blessed with good things.”  And you say all that to God without reservation.  Faith means that you don’t doubt God, like I doubted my tulip bulbs.

Letting go of all the ways that we protect ourselves and trusting God is hard. We protect ourselves by trying to control our children instead of letting God take care of them.  We protect ourselves by worrying about our finances or our health instead of being faithful that God will resolve all matters for our good.  We protect ourselves by giving up on the dreams that God has placed in our hearts, instead of giving God the time to make those dreams come to pass.

But when we are truly faithful, when we submit our lives to God, He can make our lives something incredible. If we act as He would like us to act, and if we try to be the type of person He asks us to be, doors open, and opportunities arise that are beyond our wildest dreams.  But that takes complete faith.

This week, think about the areas in your life where you may have doubts. Are there areas where you doubt God’s goodness?  Pray that God might give you the faith to know that He will take care of you.  Believe that He is blessing you constantly throughout the day.  Be on the lookout for the good things that He is trying to do for you.  Like my tulips, those good things will come up when you least expect them to.

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