A Test of Trust

  Each of us has a castle. A castle we've planned and established to the detail, all we have to do is build it. But God has a castle too. A castle specially designed for each of us. Generally God's castle contains a few elements of our own, but on the whole, it is usually quite different from the one we had anticipated.

    My castle was laid on the foundation of fiction, wrought with the stones of wishful thinking, and patterned after perfection. Unfortunately most of ours are that way. Between the ages of 10 to 15 I read voraciously. But my reading was mostly based on a romantic ideal of noble manhood, virtuous maidens, and only dragons and bottomless chasms barring their path. In my halls, there was never any lack; poverty never reared its many faceted head. I was never threatened by a whirlwind of doubt or washed out by the murky waters of deception. All was as it should be. If deception was there, it came in small pools which we could bypass, or a small river which could be bridged. Poverty lasted only for brief moments before it returned its barbed coils to the land of oblivion. Doubt came in gentle showers and the dragons were always slain. I never had to go out on a limb or be at a point where the mist obscured my castle. It was always there, always the way it should be, never disturbed, never diminished; I trusted in it.

    But the time was fast approaching when the fault line would show; its ugly, ragged jaws peeling apart to swallow my castle where it stood. The first shock wave came three years ago when our family left the church we had attended ever since we left the boldly colored, freshly crisped northern state of New Hampshire and made our home in the languid, friendly south. Suddenly, I had to step out on a limb I had never even tested before. I was compelled to be among people who talked, dressed, acted, and simply were different from me. Suddenly, I had to cast around for my spare tire which I called God, and frantically transform it into my steering wheel. But I didn't trust it, I wanted my own furry, fuzzy, friendly auto pilot back in charge. I hated feeling different in spite of the fact that I tend to revel in my differences.

I hated the conversations which were so foreign to my comfort bubble access group.

  I hated having to be gracious when my flesh didn't feel like it.

    Having to smile when it hurt.

      Having to talk when I would rather have thought.

         I hated having to stand closed mouthed, and seemingly aloof, while songs were sung in which it went against my conscience to join.

                 It was a spiritual exercise. God was chipping apart my castle, putting new stones in place, digging new foundations, waking me up from my comfortable lethargy, showing me that even castles, when they are set up in His place, must be demolished.

     I felt like the man in Angela Morgan's poem:

"How He hammers him and hurts him
And with mighty blows converts him
Into trial shapes of clay which only God understands-
While his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands!-
How He bends but never breaks,
Him whose good He undertakes..."

  I learned how often God must break us before he can fix us. 

      How we must get worse to get better. 

          How it is in the Valley that we have the greatest Vision.

    The next tidal waves were smaller but more frequent, as I had to wake up to the fact that some of my older siblings seemed to be pulling away from me. My relationship with my father was horribly pathetic and I could not just avoid him if I wanted to actually solve the problem. The fact that friends whom I had imagined cared for me, distanced themselves, and relatives whom I used to admire, because of their social status, showed how great was their inside decay. My Grandfather died and I couldn't convince myself that there was any possibility of his having passed into the Lord's presence.

      To one conclusion I could only come. Either God must be my all, or my all would be nothing to God. 

      I couldn't do a thing right. Every sin I thought I'd ever mastered, always came back. Every temptation I thought I'd overcome won the victory the next time. Every earthly hope was shown to have deceived me. I was walking on thin ice, and the only way to keep from a dunking was to cling to the supports from above.

     Like a waterfall, I must abandon my castle and cast myself into the arms of God. Only in His fortress can I find the strength, the love, the freedom and the peace I so desire.

     As I continue to realize how great even my good acts are tainted by pride and selfish desire, I must continue to realize how Humble was the road Christ walked to Calvary, and how selflessly He cut Himself off from His Father for the transgression of his people to whom the stroke was due.

   I realize that it is not in mourning over my own sin that I will find renewal and reconciliation, though that is a necessary part of the Christian life, but it is through rejoicing in Christ's righteousness.

      It's true that when we gaze upon the face of God, the troubles of the world become their own proper insignificant size once more.


     We remember that He is our Father, we are but children, and our job is not to fret, but to trust. We are not capable of designing castles, but we can build them with His help, according to His pattern.
   The idea of a leap of faith is cliche, but when a child jumps from a tree branch into his father's arms, he has perfect confidence that his father will catch him.

   "Catch me Daddy!" he cries, and then he leaps, with total trust, wild with the joy of perfect abandonment. And as the father grabs him with his strong arms, there is no surprise that he was caught, only laughter and the childish voice begging to do it again.

  And when God sends us so many good gifts, what can we do but trust Him? His name is 'Jesus' not 'Jailer' and He comes in power, not helplessness.
        I've often thought that the very fact that he robes the flowers so beautifully is proof that He is good.

   And now, with that thought in mind. I have something to tell all my faithful readers.

I have been accepted into the college of my choice and have a couple years of trust in my future.

     God has blessed me. This college is the cheapest I could find, it is very much Christian, I can do the work from home, and get my B.A. in two years!

   Cheap as it may be, however, it's still too much for me on my own to afford. However, we decided at the beginning, that if everything except the money bag was leading me towards this goal, the money bag should not be the deciding factor.

   I boast to my siblings that as a Christian I have unlimited credit in the heavenly bank, but do I actually believe that? My Job is to  "Ora et Labora"  -  "Pray and Work." Will I trust God to do the rest?

   So far He has never failed me. Will I fail to trust Him now?

At any rate, I hope you haven't been bored stiff by my lengthy "Sermonette." I just had to share my thoughts with you all! ;) But I'd love to hear from you.

   What have you had to trust God for that you felt was impossible?

       Has reality differed from your former dreams for the future and how has God grown you through it? 

 To close this post, I want to share a beloved old hymn with you. It reminds me of how faithful God is. An when we build our foundation in God's word, that foundation will stand firm.
     This arrangement is the best I could find. One pro is that it has all the verses, and they incorporated both tunes into their arrangement really nicely. Listen to the gorgeous harmony too. I wanted a choir, but this will have to do!

    ...Oh, did you want to know what college I'm going to?

     Verity College is it's name and it is located in Indiana.

     As for how this will work, I am excited to see what the Lord will do!

    With Love,

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Esther Olson said...

Hey Christianna!

This was not boring at all - it was beautifully written and was simply a captivating story. Thank you for sharing. :)

A few months ago, I was commissioned to help with an art project for a friend, and I was super nervous about it because I hadn't done that kind of art before. I'd painted, but not on a wall or nearly so large, or even been in charge of a project like that. It didn't seem impossible, necessarily, but I had no idea how it would turn out. So I prayed and prayed, and God directed my hand, so that it turned out wonderful and the friend was so happy.

Will you go to the Verity campus, or do the Distance Learning program? I'm doing the latter this fall, actually! Looking forward to getting lots of CLEPs/credit out of the way.

Christianna Hellwig said...

Dear Esther,
Thank you for sharing your experience. What a wonderful example of God's faithfulness!

I'm doing the Distance Learning Program.

Does this mean I'll meet you at Orientation in a couple weeks?