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Advent Reflections: Trusting God

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Editor's note: This Advent season, Bread Blog will be running a series of reflections written by lay members of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. This post is reprinted, with permission, from the church's 2013 Advent Meditations booklet.

Lectionary readings:

Isaiah 9:8-17

Matthew 18: 1-6

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3, 13-17

By Tarra Taylor

Whom do you trust? This has become an unspoken question in our society. In a world filled with people with hidden motives and suspect agendas, whom do you trust? The world’s way of thinking suggests that we trust no one but ourselves—not even God. This way of thinking is contrary to God’s will for our lives. So why don’t we trust God? In the passages for our consideration, the reasons lifted up are pride, arrogance, position, power, fear, and anxiety.

In the book of Isaiah, God sends a message of punishment to the children of Israel in Samaria, because of their disobedience. They heard the message, but their pride and arrogance caused them to ignore God. God sent another message, but the children of Israel paid no attention. Arrogance crept into the hearts of the Israelites, and they believed that they no longer needed God, nor did they revere him. They could do things by themselves. Even though God gave the Israelites the land they occupied, making them a nation, they put their trust in themselves rather than in him. 

In the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples were concerned about who would receive the highest place of authority in God’s kingdom. The disciples were more interested in their positions in the earthly kingdom. Instead of looking for service opportunities, they were focused on their status, their positions. Jesus reminded them of their self-centered nature, and let them know that they had to put away their own selfish motives, thoughts, and desires for status, and simply trust in Jesus.

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul speaks to the church at Thessalonica about the end times and Christ’s return. He did not want them to be anxious about Christ’s appearing, or tricked by false teachers who attempted to predict the day and hour, but prepared. He reminds them that they were chosen by God, from the beginning. He tells them that salvation begins and ends with Jesus Christ, and no other. Paul knew that they would face challenges that would test their faithfulness and trust in God. He encourages them to hold to what they have been taught, to stand firm, and to trust God.

Both the Matthew and Thessalonians passages remind us of our need to trust God as a little child—with no agendas or hidden motives, just simple trust. Sometimes it’s hard for us adults to trust as a child, but we are reminded that God chose us from the beginning. He knows our dreams, our desires, and our anxieties. We will stumble and we will have challenging seasons, but we are assured that when we put our trust in God, he will guide, protect, and provide for us. 

Prayer: God, forgive us for not trusting in you. Deliver us from the arrogance, pride, the need for status and position, and the fear and the anxiety that comes when we think we know better than you what is best for us. We acknowledge that we need you in our daily lives. Teach us to come to you as a child, trusting in your love and providential care for us. We trust you, God. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tarra Taylor is a member of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, in Washington, D.C.

 

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