By Dayna Street
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
Trusting God is one thing when our lives look just like the storyline we have written for it. Trusting God is entirely different when you wake up one morning to a medical diagnosis you weren’t expecting, a family crisis that seemingly came out of nowhere, an unforeseen layoff, or a betrayal that has cut you to the core. What do we do when we are facing situations in life that don’t make sense? We trust Him even more.
Choosing to hang on to God in the midst of intense heartache requires a determined faith—a faith that trusts even when life doesn’t make sense.
Peter wrote to believers who were suffering for their faith, “My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace” 1 Peter 5:12 (NLT).
Biblical trust believes in God’s presence, strength, and grace to sustain us—no matter what happens. Trust chooses to have resolute faith and confidence in God’s ability to work out every circumstance that comes into our lives for our good and His glory. This kind of trust is filled with hope, peace, and a sense of abandonment—an abandonment that liberates us from carrying our heartache alone and connects us with Christ, who will walk with us through our trial.
Nancy Guthrie writes, “Our task is not to decipher exactly how all of life’s pieces fit and what they all mean but to remain faithful and obedient to God, who knows all mysteries. That is the kind of faith that is pleasing to God—a faith that is determined to trust Him when He has not answered all the questions, when we have not heard the voice from the whirlwind.”
Here is our dilemma: It is relatively easy to trust God when all of the puzzle pieces in our lives fit together. But it becomes an enormous challenge to trust Him when life falls apart and we are left holding a piece in our hand and asking why?
When that happens, what are our options? We can continue numbly plodding through life on our own, relying on our own strength, trying to make life work apart from God. We can blame God for our heartache and suffering and turn our back on Him. Or we can abandon ourselves to Him and trust.
I had two very different conversations with two women this past week. Both of them are in the midst of a crushing test of adversity. Both are Christians. One had turned to medicine to numb the pain. The other had turned to God and was walking in victory. She told me, “these are just mere circumstances and I am trusting in a big God.”
The essence of our issues with trusting God lies in our confidence in the Lord’s promise to ultimately prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
There are two areas in our lives in which we must choose to trust God: the unknown and the unexplainable.
Let’s think a minute about the unknown….
It would be much easier to trust God if we knew the outcome in advance. But God doesn’t work that way. It is in the dark that our fledgling belief morphs into trust.
I smile every time I read the Old Testament account of the Israelites’ crossing the Jordan River in order to occupy the Promised Land. Joshua asked the priests to carry the Ark ahead of the people, and the priests’ assignment was to start walking into the swollen river. Thinking about what those priests were thinking as they stood on Jordan’s stormy banks makes me smile because I can just imagine their thoughts. “We are going to look ridiculous in soaking wet priestly garments. They are going to be so heavy, we will probably just drown. But, here goes…” And as they stepped out into the unknown in trust…God parted the waters and their feet never even got muddy!!!!
Let’s face it…humanly speaking, Jonah should have drowned, Daniel should have been a lion’s lunch, and Shadrach, Meshack and Abegnego should have been burnt toast. But God took care of them and He is well able to do the same for us.
The other area we have to deal with is the unexplainable…
These are the “whys” in our lives. And we all have them. Why me? Why us? Why this? Why now? Why not?
George Mueller, a nineteenth century evangelist and the founder of several orphanages wrote these words…
Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him and expect help from Him, He will never fail you. As an older brother, who has known the Lord for forty-four years, who writes this, says to you for your encouragement that He has never failed him. In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him He has always appeared for my help. I delight in speaking well of His name.
I love the words, “I delight in speaking well of His name.” Regardless of what is going on in our lives today, we can choose to trust in Him, and watch our roots grow deep. He has never failed. I delight in speaking well of His name.
Whom have I in heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever. Psalm 73:25-26 (NLT)