God is Trustworthy (Mark 14:32-36) • Pastor Tim Tseng
Loving God is difficult. We may feel good about worshiping and praying to him, but to actually love him is difficult. The most typical obstacle to truly loving God is having a false understanding of who he is – a false narrative in our minds.
False Narratives about God’s Trustworthiness
Christians believe that God is trustworthy, that he wishes us to flourish and live with purpose and joy. But too often we teach and reflect in our behavior a God who is untrustworthy. Many Christian parents, for example, will say that God is loving and good, but they model in their behavior a God who is strict and ready to correct, discipline, and punish every infraction. Kids who grow up in this environment start to develop two false narratives
1: God is not trustworthy and is more interested in punishing us than looking out for our good.
2: God the Father is a projection of our earthly fathers. For example, the woman who has difficulty calling God Father because of her own father’s abusiveness towards her. But to not call God Father is not the right answer either.
Adopting the True Narrative: Jesus called God Abba Father
When Jesus describes God as his Father, we have to let him define what fatherhood means. Theologian Karl Barth said, “It is not that there is first of all human fatherhood and then a so-called divine fatherhood, but just the reverse is true and proper fatherhood resides in God and from this fatherhood what we know as fatherhood among us men is derived.” The Trinity (God the Father, Son, and Spirit) existed before creation. Their relationship existed before any human father and son or daughter existed. Therefore fatherhood was defined by God first.
At Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-35), Jesus shows confidence in God’s trustworthiness in at least two ways. First, he was unafraid to confess his weakness and doubt to God. He knew that abba would hear him and not rebuke him. Second, Jesus was willing to trust God’s plan, whatever the consequences. “Not my will, but your will be done.”
Furthermore, the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) shows us a Father God who is Present, Pure, and Powerful, but also Provides, Pardons, and Protects.
What is Your Cup?
The fact that Jesus asked to have his cup removed shows us that all of us will have to bear a cup of suffering and uncertainty in life. The “cup” represents things that are forced on us, things we have a hard time accepting. Aspects of life that make it difficult to trust God.
Soul Training: Counting Your Blessings
Whenever we wrestle with the cup that God calls us to bear, we learn to believe in God’s trustworthiness by exercising our “muscle memory” of God’s widespread mercy. We make praise a habit. Our troubles are real, but they are small compared to God’s blessings. The more we count our blessings and live in gratitude, the easier it is to love God for his trustworthiness.