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The Proof is in the Putting

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.

Comments

The phrase is, "the proof is in the pudding" not "putting". It's actually a derivative from an old English phrase that was mangled which is "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" where proof does not mean "evidence of existence or truth" but "test of quality". It's an idiom which means that the quality of things can not be determined simply by their seeming quality (through static observation) but can only be determined through putting them to practical use.

However, I've always though that the further incorrect "the proof is in the putting" works better in the mangled form because the meaning is lost when you replace "of" with "in" before pudding and lose the part about eating.

Now it seems as if you are just saying that the proof (quality) of something is just in the thing intrinsically without having to put it to any sort of test or any indication of what that test might be. So, by further modifying the phrase with putting, which I've always read as "doing" or "using" you can now prove the value or quality of something by observing it in action (presumably for its intended use).

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Loving God's through loving His people across the globe. This blog will focus on issues of international development with a keen awareness that God says that we love Him providing food, shelter, and comfort to those who are in need.


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