Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
These words, penned by Louisa M.R. Stead in 1882 have been sung in churches for generations. They stand in sharp contrast to the many antagonists who posit that you can’t proof that God exists. The writer states in this hymn that the proof is possible, because His presence has been demonstrated in her life.
I reflected on these words recently, as I pondered when it meant to “prove Him o’er and o’er.” For those who have walked the Christian journey for any length of time, we recognize that as assuredly as there are moments of confident faith, there are instances of questioning despair. A loved one is diagnosed with cancer. A loving marriage is shattered by divorce. A child is the recipient of unspeakable pain. All of these, quite naturally, can cause us to question God; maybe not in the “do You exist?” sense, although that can certainly be the case. However, even in the staunchest Christian when faced with their personal protagonist of pain may wonder that if God has mercy on who He has mercy, and compassion on who He has compassion (see Romans 9:14-16) why does He withhold His power in bringing healing in our particular situation?
That’s when I realized, the proof that the lyricist wrote about wasn’t, I believe, in having a life in which all pain was immediately obliterated, but instead, was in continually putting her faith in Christ. In other words, to change the phrase, the proof wasn’t necessarily what happened in that particular circumstance, in the “pudding” so to speak, but the proof was in the putting…the perpetual commitment to trusting that God was in control, and that in the end His purposes and His plans would stand firm. God’s existence isn’t proven or disproved through His decision not to prevent a particular trial, but as we continually trust Him we see the proof that He is continuously trustworthy. His faithfulness is often clearest seen in our steadfastness to Him.
Now, some may say this is circular logic. “You are creating what you suspect” they may say. However, my challenge is this. Try it. Followers of Christ know that trusting in God often leads you to what you would least expect, so its not like a preexisting determination is making the equation true. However, by putting your trust in Christ, you can see how in your own life, He is proven faithful, time and time again.