by Rob Tims
All of our kids’ grandparents lives about 6 hours away. So while we don’t have constant access to relatives who can babysit any number of our kids with any kind of regularity, we do have grandparents willing to take our two oldest for about two weeks every summer. The benefits of this experience are immeasurable, and the boys look forward to it more than just about anything else all year.
Lord willing, they will go again this summer, only not quite as long as initially planned. The details aren’t important, but something came up that allowed our entire family to spend a week together away from home at minimal expense—a rare treat. The catch: it came at the expense of a few days in the mountains with the grandparents.
The boys were, of course, devastated. Not only would they miss out on a few more days of less-restricted living with regard to diet and screen time, but they would have to spend more time in a new environment that, while not miserable, was certainly less desirable than the mountains of western North Carolina (or as we call it, “God’s Country”).
As they are middle schoolers, the boys were quick to let us know how they felt about the new arrangement. After all was said and done, we discerned that at the heart of the conflict was trust: Could the boys trust that their parents had their best interest at heart?
This is a struggle many have with God. Relationships go haywire. Sin runs rampant. Circumstances are uncomfortable. Seemingly nothing goes the way we expect, and we naturally begin wonder, “Does God have our best interest at heart?”
In moments like these, I’ve found Hebrews 4:15 remarkably helpful.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.
To question God’s goodness … that is, to doubt His character … is a weakness on our part, not His. In fact, you could make a strong argument that a lack of trust in God’s love or sovereignty or providence is the single most harmful weakness we can have, for from a lack of trust flow many other damaging sins.
Therefore, says the author of Hebrews, we must remember this one thing when we think God doesn’t have our best interest at heart: Jesus sympathizes with our weakness. He gets it. He knows what it means to be tempted to wonder if God has our best interest at heart. He has compassion on us when we feel this way, and knowing that He identifies with us in this temptation validates our pain and points us to the solution: trust in His victory on our behalf.
The older I get, the more I’m convinced that the bulk of life simply will not go the way I want it to, and that I can either enter into a spiral of malcontent and misery, or trust the one who dealt victoriously with the same temptations.
Today, by God’s grace, I’m choosing the latter.
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.