Learning to trust God

Trust is a precious and rare commodity in the world. It is easily damaged and destroyed by thoughtlessness and selfishness. To place ourselves or a part of our hearts in the hands of another is a delicate step.

We have learned therefore that trust is not to be extended lightly. We’ve become skeptical, even hardened against hurt. Love is a jittery bird, easily frightened.

Coupled with our desire to see before we step, such reluctance to trust prevents us from having a full and free relationship with God. He deserves our unreserved confidence. He never fails his people. He always comes through. He never forgets a promise.

Sometimes we may doubt the power of God. Yes, we know he’s the Almighty, but we’re not convinced he has put that power into effect on our behalf. But as soon as we tell him that we trust in him to provide and we believe that the impossible is for him but a snap of the fingers, we may soon see wonderful things happen.

Someone has said that the Lord is the God of surprises, but when he acts, why should we be surprised? Ought not we expect the God who creates with a word to provide for his people’s every need?

The history of Israel holds a long list of God’s wonderful actions on behalf of his people. The early church also witnessed God’s hand that blessed time and time again. We must consider ourselves as heirs of that same history, as recipients of the same active God who cares for his own. The inspired record of Scripture ought to motivate us to trust God.

In our own lives, we have, you and I, reason for trusting God. We easily forget how he has cared for us in the past. Satan would have us think of God as mean-spirited and hard-hearted, but our own personal histories show differently. Somewhere, we ought to note his kindnesses to us, for future reference, when the prospects seem bleak and all the doors appear to be closed.

The word faith contains a wide range of meanings. One of them means trust, a deep belief that leads us to act based upon God’s goodness and power toward us. Jesus reminds us that the pagans run after the things of this world. Those who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness do so because they know that the Lord will provide in his own way what the pagans clamor over. Some of us in the church are still chasing after things for security. It makes for a sad, sad picture.

King Hezekiah learned trust. “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after” 2 Kings 18.5. Because of that trust he destroyed idols and led Judah to obey the Lord. In that same chapter, Sennacharib’s chief advisor tells the people, “Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord” v. 30. His whole speech is on the issue of trust.

Perhaps Hezekiah learned to trust God from his mother. He certainly didn’t learn it from his father. We can learn it from the example of godly people, but more so from the record of Scripture. We can also learn it from observing God’s providence in our own lives.

Facing crises in our lives forces us to admit that we do not control events in this world. So we can either fret or trust God. We can worry or wait upon him. We must choose to rest in his care or we will race ahead of him in our attempts to pick up the pieces. Disasters can confirm our trust in God or destroy what little faith we have, when we depend upon ourselves to solve problems.

Trust doesn’t sit quietly. Like Hezekiah, it gives impetus to clearing out the idols of our hearts and seeking to do the will of the Lord completely.

Trust moves forward. That’s the lesson of Hebrews 11. It believes that the all-seeing God will make a way when for us the door is closed as tight as the Red Sea was deep to the people of Israel.

The waters never part until we step into them.

¶ Don’t underestimate the importance of planning. This was a good trip in the USA for The Missus and me, but it might have been even better had I done some better planning. I arrived one day, spoke at FHU the next, and then had no specific map for the next two weeks. Good things happened, for sure: family time, preaching opportunities, some writing. But more could have been accomplished, perhaps, with a more detailed plan.

¶ We’ve shuffled things around on Forthright Magazine, after Richard Mansel’s lamented retirement and Christine Berglund’s scaling back to every other week, to distribute the articles more evenly. We’re grateful for the columnists’ hard work and are trying to showcase their contributions in a good way. They deserve it.

¶ For those who are interested, the GoSpeak.org website has been updated. This is the ministry side of our work, featuring regular reports.

¶ Earlier, I’d shared that my verse for the year was 2 Tim 1.7. Little did I know how God would work this early to prove the truth of the statement.