James Meehan - What Does It Really Mean to Trust God?
James Meehan: Well, welcome to this week's episode of Switch Uncut, where we wrestle with your questions about faith, following Jesus and the Bible today, I have a very special guest with me, Miss Allison McCraw, youth pastor from Life Church in Rogers, Arkansas, who hopefully, you've already watched The Message by now, but she is the one who taught week six of our message series Kingdom People, where we have been exploring what it means to live according to Jesus's vision of a life in the kingdom of God. Week six, this past week's message was all about this idea that kingdom people fully trust that God is enough. Now with that idea of fully trusting that God is enough. It's one of those things that I really wanted Allison to come on to Switch Uncut, to sort of help us unpack that idea, to flesh it out a little bit, give us some handles to grab onto, because the idea of trusting God sounds really good. It feels really good, but it's one of those things that is easier said than done. And so today we're going to have a conversation about what does it really mean to trust God, and how can we grow in our trust of him so that eventually we can arrive at the place that Jesus talked about. Where we fully trust that God is enough. So, without further ado, Allison, would you mind sharing with our audience, anything that they need to know about you and what you think it means to trust that God is enough?
Allison McCraw: Oh well, first thank you so much, James, for having me and inviting me on. And one, you need to know about me, I'm a Switch-o-holic, for sure.
James Meehan: I grew up in Switch, I am who I am today because of Switch and leaders and what God has done through through our ministry. And so just know like anytime I get to be a part of anything like this, it's just geeks out to me. And like my little student self, I say little, not because like students are a little but just cause I was little in general.
Allison McCraw: So I would be floored, the fact that I get to be a part or do any of this because.
James Meehan: Come on.
Allison McCraw: It's beyond anything I ever could see for myself so, just know that I'm just excited to be here today. And, you never know.
James Meehan: So what I'm hearing, is if you want to be like Allison someday, you gotta be involved and invested in the community and movement that is Switch. Not my words, her words.
Allison McCraw: It's true, it's true. Be connected be a part. Cause God can do a lot through that. Stay in the game people, stay in the game.
James Meehan: That's so good. How, when did you first get involved with Switch?
Allison McCraw: When I was 15, I was 15 in south Oklahoma city little hopeful noob, knew nothing. It was just so excited, I walked in, I was so nervous cause there's like, you know, all these people, and I'm just there with my sister. My mom's like, bye. Okay. And then, we go in the auditorium and they play a game where they blended up a hamburger and somebody had to drink it. And I was like, this is the best place in the world. I'm never, I.
James Meehan: I was like, I'm in.
Allison McCraw: I'm here.
James Meehan: I'm in.
Allison McCraw: What's so funny about that is, I'm pretty sure the first time I ever came to Switch, I was 15 years old, and I arrived and I thought to myself, this place is not for me.
James Meehan: Because the night I showed up to, they were throwing this big old party. It was loud, it was crazy. And it was back in the day before we put a huge emphasis on relationships and being in community. And that was a time in my life where I didn't really care as much about the fun and the games. I really cared about getting to know people and having people who know me. And so it's just so funny to think that you and I came to Switch at a similar time. You loved it, I not so much. Yet each of us have gone on this journey to be where we are now, having a conversation about what it means to trust that God is enough. And I just think it's really cool to think about the ways that God is moving and working when we don't even realize it. And that's like a whole nother conversation that maybe we'll tackle some other day. I want to get us back on topic. We're talking about what does it mean to trust God? So Allison, just start us off. When you think about trusting God, like how do you help other people understand what that even means?
Allison McCraw: I think that's such a good, it's such a good question. It's such a good topic, because like, we say that all the time, like, just like you said, like, oh, you just gotta trust God. Like, when we were like doubting or going through crisis, like what is like, the easy answers it's like, oh Jesus, like you just got to trust him. And it's just like, well, what is that? Yeah but like how? Like, especially when life doesn't look great, especially when you don't see him, especially when you, you don't know what's going to happen. And you're uncertain, and just like, that's just, it's easy to say, it's hard to do because like, does that even mean? Like, even, even as we started this conversation, I'm just like, I don't know if I've ever just sat down and like thought of the definition of trust and just like, it's almost like one of those things, like once you figure it out, where it's just like, and someone to be like, hey how do you breathe?
— How did you figure out how to do that?
— And you're like, I don't know, I don't think about it, you know?
— But I think it's important to think about because we're always at a place and a level where we need, we need to trust God, even in those levels, like man, I feel like I trust God a lot. You never know what's around the corner. You never know what's going to happen and where it's just like God, I don't know, I've trusted you with this, but I don't know if I can trust you with that. And so, just thinking of like the practicality, of like, we had to like narrow it down for myself. Like when I think about trusting in God, trusting God, I think it's, it's the belief that who he says he is. And what he says he's going to do is true.
— And that belief leads to me, leads to an action.
— To me, that's a quest. It's believing that, who he says he is and what he says he can do. And what he thinks about you is true. And that belief leads to an action.
— That's so good, okay. We're going to come back to that in a second, but I want to actually rewind a little bit because you talked about trust as if it's similar to breathing. And as you were saying that, here's what I'm thinking. What I'm thinking is, in the same way that we can have this idea of trust. We can talk about trust. We can actually trust without thinking about the nuances or how it even works. It works like breathing, but until we aren't able to breathe anymore, we don't even think about how important it is to breathe, right? Until you're like under the water, desperate to breathe, or you're being choked out by somebody in jujitsu, you don't realize like, oh gosh, I can't breathe right now. And I think this is the thing that is so important to recognize is that when we're in this journey of following Jesus, there may come a time where we have a crisis of faith, a crisis of belief. Where we're not sure if we can trust God anymore. And that's the point where it matters so much to understand what trusting God really is. Because until we discover what it is, we won't figure out how to actually do it. When we finally arrive at that place where we feel like we're drowning and that idea of trusting God is something we know matters, but we're not even sure how to do it. And so when I, when I think about that, I also think about what you said about how oftentimes we can talk about trusting God. And it's like this easy answer.
— But when you're in that situation, where you feel like you can't trust God anymore, not only does it feel like an easy answer and ominously can sometimes feel like an empty answer where it's like, if I'm drowning, if I'm disconnected from the oxygen I need to breathe. I don't want somebody to tell me, hey, just breathe. I want somebody to jump in the water with me, to pull me out of the water and help me get oxygen again. And I think that's the thing that we want to be really mindful of, is that you might be watching this video right now and you feel like you cannot trust God, because of something that happened in her life. Maybe, something that was really difficult, or it was a question that was presented to you that you don't know how to answer. Like all of that please know is real, it's valid. But what we hope we can do today is help you better grasp what it means to trust God and be the kind of people that go into the water with you to pull you out of that drowning moment and help you reconnect with your heavenly father. Because man, oxygen is really good. Trusting in God is just like that. It helps us be fully alive. So rant over, tangent over. Allison, talk to us more about this idea of trust. You're talking about how it's not just, you know, this kind of abstract idea, but it's believing that what God says is true, that who God is, is real. And then acting upon that belief, keep, keep going, cause you're on a really great train of thought, and I hope I didn't derail us.
— No, no. I want to go back to what you're saying like 51 times, because like, you can't even like appreciate oxygen until you don't have it. Like, you can't even appreciate trusting God until you need it.
— So in like, not only like, hey, we need the people to dive in for ourselves, but other people need us to dive in with them. Like they don't need us to like say, you're doing great, just great. We need to be the ones to dive in with people and, and sit in the fact that they may not get it as fast as we do. It may not, like when they're in their crisis, that they, they don't often need us to go, just trust God. They need us to be in the mess with them.
— Come on.
— They need us to be in pain with them, and care about them where they're at and then slowly help them make their way to the surface. I think we need to do a better job. I need to do a better job of not just being like, Hey, I want to say trust God so all your problems go away, because I hate that you have a problem where it's just like, no, you may need me to sit in, in your problem and what you're feeling and what you're wrestling with God and let you know that it's okay that you're wrestling and I'm going to be with you, throughout the way, that tangent. So how do we, how do we trust God? What is trusting God? All these things of just like, I, I do. I think of it is, it is like going back to that idea is like, I think of it. And you, you had some great examples as we were talking earlier about, about trust and how do we build those muscles. But I do think it's like when I think about it for myself, in the ways that I've, I've, I've seen my, my faith grow in, in trusting in God. And there's still so much to go because we're never, there's always another thing to trust God for.
— Right, right.
— You're living just, tomorrow's a new day. It's just another, another day to trust God for something else. But it is the, I think of it as the belief that who God says he is, is true. What he says he can do is true. How he thinks about me is true. What he's called me to is true.
— Come on.
— And then because of that, because I believe that's true. It leads to an action.
— So, really like it's, to me, it's diving in of more of just like, if you want to grow your trust, like, I think you got to examine what you believe when it comes to God. And who he is starting there. I think that's for myself, like, as I've, I've seen in my walk, like God is just, the seasons of life that, that I've grown in my faith and my relationship with him the most, is a seasons where he has revealed who he is to me even more. It's me shifting who I thought God was, to him showing me who he actually is.
— Yeah, yeah.
— And me trusting that that's true.
— Yeah. Well, it's so interesting because I think it's the idea of like, part of what we're talking about is when we believe that who God is, is true, what he says is true, all of that kind of stuff. It, it almost shapes what trust means a little bit for us where, it's less about believing that something is true. And it's more about believing like, like in God, that he is true. And I think that relational dynamic to trust is a really important thing for us to include in our understanding of it. Where it's like, cause, cause I think sometimes people can think that trust in God, or belief or faith is sort of like this light switch. They either turn it on or off. You either have it or you don't. But relationships oftentimes don't work like that. Right, like when I'm in a relationship with a friend that process of learning to trust them more, is this process, right? It takes time to become friends with somebody, to get to know who they really are, to get to know what they care about. And in that process of getting to know them more, typically what will happen is we'll get to trust them more. And I think the thing that was so interesting about my own journey of learning to trust God was I had to get an accurate view of who God really is. Right, because before I could trust God, I first had to discover that God is real, because I can't, I can't trust this made up being in the sky, that I'm not even sure if it's real. Right, I had to first discover that God is real, before I could trust him. Then I have to, and then I had to learn that not only is God real, but God is good. And when I started to understand the goodness of God, to help me to trust it more. And then from there, I had to move on to the idea that, okay, not only is God real and he's good, but he actually cares about me. And that's where this idea of God being this distant, abstract being shifted into him being a personal father, that I can have a relationship with. And it's in the context of relationship that trust began to grow. And so as, as I'm saying those things, Allison, when you think about your relationship with God, learning more about who he is and what he says and discovering that, that's true. What did some of that journey look like for you personally?
— I think, I think that's a great question. Can I go back on a tangent that you said, because it was so good.
— Yeah, tangents are always welcome on Switch Uncut.
— Cause I'm, that should be my nickname, tangent, for real.
— Is I love, I love that as you were talking about that, because you talked about like this progression for yourself of just like, okay, I trust that God is real. Now I trust he's good. Now I trust that he's good towards me.
— And I think that you meet so many people in this world that I've just talked to so many people and a lot of people are, you know, quick to say, you know, hey, I'm an atheist or just, all these things where just like, I don't believe in God where it's, I meet so many people where they actually do believe that God is real.
— Like they say that like they stopped following him. Not because they don't believe he's real it's because they don't, they stopped believing he's good.
— Right, right.
— And just knowing so many people who bow out on God, because he's not, they don't, they have no problem believing that he's real and he's there. They just don't believe he's good.
— And they don't believe who he says he is.
— And I just think that is just so important. And that's just a step of just like me believing that God is real is not where I stop. Like, it is just continuing to know him, to know that he's good and know that he's good towards me.
— And, I think that just changes everything. And so like, give me a place where we can't stop there in our faith. Just to like, hey, I believe that God's real like, it's trusting more than that, you know?
— Like, so I just, I like, as, as you said that, I just think that that progression of our faith and that's us growing in our faith is, is finding more out for ourselves. Not who people think that God is. And that's part of my faith journey as well. Just like, my perception of God was so much shaped by other people. Like so much of my time growing up was letting other people have a relationship with God before me.
— Interesting, yeah, yeah.
— Where it's like, okay yeah, I'm at church, I grew up in a Christian home. We were in and out of church for a little bit. And then we started going to Life Church and they were like full on but, like so much of that was like, okay, my parents believe, my parents.
— My parents read the Bible, my church leaders pray. My church leaders believe, my church leaders read the Bible. And where it's like, all right, like I'm good.
— I was basically like riding on their coattails.
— Right, yeah, yeah, yeah.
— Of just like, yes, I believe in God. But I wasn't having my own relationship with him.
— Like I was having someone else's relationship, like I was the third wheel.
— On someone else's date.
— Where I'm like watching them have a relationship, but I'm not having one of my own. And, and, and what happened is just like, this emptiness, like, as I watched, you know, just the same as like, if you get lonely for a relationship, like maybe you see all your friends, like dating and all this stuff and getting married and maybe that's just my season of life. But, and you're just like, man, I want that. Like, that's, that's what began to happen to me.
— Is, is seeing, seeing all these other people know God and have this intimacy with him and realize I didn't have it.
— Like I thought I had it.
— But I didn't have it. And it just bring this emptiness.
— And when you have that, like it forces you to seek.
— Yes, well, it's like, I'm imagining in my mind that situation where you've got a friend, who has a friend, and your friend tells you all about this other friend, and eventually you hear so much about this friend from your friend that you assume that they're also your friend. But you've never even met him. And it's like, like, God is not content with just being the friend of your friend. God wants to be your friend. God wants to know you. God wants to be in relationship with you. And that that's kind of the picture that's forming in my head, and it's like, oh my gosh, how many times in people's lives do they settle for hearing somebody else talk about God, or knowing about somebody else's relationship with God. And trying to grasp God through somebody else's relationship with him, without actually making it their own relationship with them. And it's like, yeah, like, of course, if all you ever experienced is your friend telling you about God, or your pastor telling you about God, or your parents talking about God or whatever, then your relationship with God will be just like stuck on, do you believe that he's real? Do you believe that he's good? But until you actually allow God to be your friend, to get to know him personally, you'll never get to that third step of trusting that he really cares about you. And so Allison, as you, as you're going on this journey, like, what was the switch for you? Like what shifted, to where you began to make your faith your own? And what are some lessons that maybe the people watching this video can learn from, on how to make that shift to actually get to know God personally, or maybe if they already do know God, how they can grow in that relationship and learn to trust him more?
— That's so good. I think for me, like I literally hit a season where I watched other people. Like I, like, you know when you meet people where you're just like, yeah, they say they're a Christian, but as I started going to Switch, this was the shift. Because I, like it wasn't just about the hamburger.
— Come on.
— This was the shift for me, is that I started to realize like, as I was a part of Switch, and as I was around people who just didn't say that they were following Jesus, but who really were, like and they were encountering him and they weren't perfect, but they were starting to like, like, they were having feels about it. And I realized that I wasn't having the feels, like I was very much, like I was a kid in like in worship, like looking around, going who thinks like I'm a good parishioner, because I'm raising my hand in worship, like, and it just like, but, but as I started to like be in this environment where I'm seeing other people have this relationship, I'm, I'm seeing that I am missing something, that there is a gap, and like this emptiness began to like form in my heart, like dissatisfied, is what I would say. And it lasted a very long time. Where it's just like, talking about not being able to breathe. Like I felt like I couldn't breathe.
— Like I could like 15, 16 years old, just like something is wrong, like deeply wrong and questioning everything, I began questioning everything like, if I died right now, what I go to heaven, like, do I, am I really a Christian? Like, all this stuff and all this wrestling. And, and, but when you're in that place where you dissatisfied, like, and you're hungry and you're hurting, like, you can't stay there. Like, I, I can't stay here. I don't know how to get there, but I can't stay here. And it just forced me to seek God for myself.
— Not just on Wednesday nights, and not just, you know, whatever, just like, not just relying on my mom's reading the Bible every morning, just like, no, I've got to do this thing for myself and just seeking and asking and begging God until finally I just hit a moment. I remember it wasn't at Switch. It wasn't a hand call. It was literally in my room, finally just something broke where I said, God, I just don't want to look like I know you. I actually want to know.
— Like I don't, I don't, I want to, I want to do this for myself. Like I want to know you for myself, like I'm surrendering everything. You can have my future. I'm trusting you with my future. I'm trusting you with my life. I'm trusting you with my relationships, like, I'm, I'm doing this thing. I'm in on a relationship with you. Not just good works towards you. I'm in on a relationship with you.
— And it's been a journey, and God continues to shape even now in this season of just like my thoughts and my relationship with him. And what does it look like to go deeper? But it was like, it was a moment where I decided that God, you and I are really going to do this thing. And I just, it's probably the greatest moment of my life.
— But it came through being dissatisfied, because I realized I wasn't dissatisfied in my relationship with Christ, because God wasn't satisfied in my relationship with Christ.
— Because he didn't want a play actor. He didn't want a long distance relationship with someone on Facebook. Like he wanted me and he wanted the real thing. And he let me go through the wrestling to where I decided that I was in on this relationship.
— That's so good. It, it's interesting cause I like, two key things I want to highlight in that story. Thing number one was, there was a moment of deciding that you were not content with believing that God is real or that he's good, but you decided to trust that he's real, he's good, and he cares about you. And I think that's the thing that's so important is until we come to a place where we acknowledge that maybe we have put our faith in the things of God, rather than in God, we won't actually take that step to put our trust in him, to get to know him intimately, personally, because that's what God wants for us. So that's, that's thought number one, that there was a decision that you made to say, God, I want to know you. And so you asked you seeked, you knocked, you went seeking after him. So that's thing number one. Thing number two though, was a part of that process was you wrestling, it was you asking questions. It was you realizing there's some dissatisfaction in you. And so you're going to do the messy, difficult and sometimes painful work of wrestling with those questions to get to God. And here's what I think is so beautiful about that idea, is that you cannot wrestle with someone from a distance. Like wrestling is a form of grappling, because you have to be up close with that individual. And in the book of Genesis, there's a story where Jacob is awoken in the night by some man that he doesn't know who it is. And he wrestles with this man until the day breaks. And before he will allow this man to let him go, he says, I'm not letting go until you bless me. Like I am going to wrestle with you until you bless me. And so this man blesses him, changes his name from Jacob, which is the deceiver slash usurper to Israel, which means to wrestle with God and overcome. And it's this idea that it was in the wrestling with God, that Jacob was closer to him than he had ever been before. And that's what changed his identity from that point forward. And so, as you're sharing this story with us Allison, the thing that I'm thinking about is what will it take for us to be willing to decide that what we currently have is not at all what God wants for us. And then are we willing to go through the painful work of actually wrestling with our questions, with our doubts, with our concerns, get close enough to God, that we can really experience him personally. So that's kind of some of the things that stuck out to me, I'd love to hear from you, as you're going through this journey, you know, now at this point, you've, you've developed this personal relationship with Jesus. You've been a pastor on staff at a church for years. What are some of the things that help you continue to learn to trust God more?
— I think for me in this season, like it is, it is continuingly to entering those wrestling processes, like wrestling isn't a one and done process.
— Like if your, your journey of faith, like no, me and Jesus are going to be in the ring, committing time. And it's my willingness to enter the ring, with him, and be with him in it. But also because we get to a point, if we get to a point where we're not in those stages of wrestling, really we're becoming comfortable. And when we become comfortable with someone, like no relationship thrives in that, like, just like, like for you, like you're married to Mandy, who was an incredible person. But if you'd become comfortable in, she's amazing, I love her. We were roommates, she's, I'm a big fan of Mandy, but like, if you get comfortable in your relationship with Mandy, you're just like, yeah, we're good. Like, oh yeah, she knows I love her. Like, oh yeah. Like if you start taking that for granted, instead of doing the hard work to continually to get to know her, and you talk about like, I've heard you talked about like, the more you get to know Mandy, like you take the steps, the more you love Mandy.
— And like, as your relationship develops, like, you probably love her more now, than you loved her when you were dating, then you loved her when you were engaged, then you loved her in year one of marriage too. Having a child like takes it to the next level. And so it's like, it's continually like realizing that wrestling and trusting God is not a one and done process. It is a life long journey.
— Of getting to know him and bringing your question and trusting him, and, and really like in this season, like the more that I am letting God, as I get to know him and putting myself in a position, because I'm not always good at it. Like, let's be honest, like I'm not always good at like sitting with God. I'm not always great at like, I read my Bible every day, but do I take it in every day?
— I'm human like you, like, this isn't easy, but if we're not intentional, like that relationship is never going to grow. And as I get to know God, the more I love him, the more I realized how much he loves me. And the more I trust that and the more I trust him. And so it's really like if I, if I'm going through a season where it's just, God, God, I don't know if I can trust you with this. One, I look back on the areas where God has moved.
— Come on.
— Like if I'm not being moved, like I look back, and think God you were faithful here when I didn't know what you were going to do. You were faithful here when I didn't know what you were going to do. And here, and here, and here, and here, and here. And I guessed you are a person who doesn't change your character, and I'm going to continue to trust you here.
— And I take that.
— And no matter what area of my life like, and again, I don't always do it perfectly. I have things right now, that I have to actively trust God on, that I am wrestling with. And it's, God is showing me that when I remember who he is, and I actually believe that he is good. And not only that, but I believe that he loves me. And sometimes that's really hard. God has been showing me lately. And we've talked about this a little bit, that if people fully believed that God loved them, the amount he says that he loves him, it would change everything in their life.
— Come on, absolutely.
— And the more that I believe that God loves me, the easier it is for me to trust him. It's when I don't remember that.
— When I neglect that, when I choose to look at, the other circumstances in my life, instead of not just saying, yeah Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so, but actually believing that he loves me, believing he is for me, believing when he says he's going to be with me, he's going to be with me. That, that belief forces me to take a step. It's not just believing it. I have to take a step.
— And every time I take a step, I never regret it.
— Come on.
— Even if I fall, even if I fumble, I may fumble but God is never going to let me fall.
— Come on.
— But that comes through trusting too. Just like, I wouldn't know that if I don't take the step.
— I wouldn't know that like, there there've been times where it's just like, I feel like, I don't know if God was speaking to me or not. I don't know if he wants me to do this or not. I don't know if this is you or not, but I'm just going to do it.
— And I'm going to go for it. And because I trust you, and I believe that even if I get it wrong, you can make that work for too, because I've seen you doing it a billion times.
— Come on.
— And so it, it takes time. It takes remembering looking back, and it, it sometimes it just takes taking a scary step, taking the trustful.
— Because you will never know until you do it.
— Come on, it's so interesting, cause I think everything that you just said comes back to this idea that we have to remember that God is a personal being. And so when we forget that God is a personal being. If we assume that he's just some out there, entity idea, whatever, then we're going to treat God as less than a personal, we're going to think of our relationship with him as less than being a personal relationship. But when we remember that God is a loving father, who desires a relationship with us. And we treat him, like we would a relationship, where we actually put in the work to get to know him more, to trust him, to do the things that he asks us to. Then what that's going to do is it's going to further build our trust because the more we get to know him, the more that we'll trust him, the more time we spend with him, the more that we'll trust him, the more that we do the things that he asks us to, the more we'll experience that what he asks us to do is for our good, and we will continue to grow in our trust with him. And so, all of this being said, as we're kind of wrapping up our conversation, we're talking about what does it mean to fully trust that God is enough? What does it mean to trust God? How can we grow in our trust with him? And I think this idea of trusting God is more than just believing that something is true, but it is believing that God is real, that God is good and that he cares about you. And then choosing to live into that relationship with him. That's how we begin to trust him more. Right, it's not just an easy answer or empty words, but it's an active wrestling match with God that will continue to go on throughout our lives. So, with all of that being said, Allison, thank you so much for being on this week's episode of Switch Uncut. It has been an absolute honor, and you better believe we're going to have you back soon, because you shared so many nuggets of wisdom for those of you that are watching. Man, we'd love to hear your thoughts, your comments, your questions in the comment section down below. Don't forget to like the video, subscribe if you haven't already. And we look forward to further dialogue with you about all things, faith following Jesus and the Bible. So see you next time on Switch Uncut. See y'all.