Do you really trust God? In all circumstances, with every part of your life?
It is easy to say we trust God when things are going well. It is easy to be bold when we have a safety net. Are we really trusting God or trusting “God plus the safety net?” If we are only comfortable trusting God when we can see the safety net, that essentially is not fully trusting God. We find out the answer when the net is removed.
It is easy to trust God with your finances when you have a healthy portfolio. I had no problem trusting God financially when I had a great electrical engineering job. When I was laid off, I still did not worry too much because I knew I could collect unemployment benefits. When the benefits ran out, I knew I still had savings. That account balance continues to decline, taking my safety net with it. Today as I received yet another negative response to a job application, I felt a twinge of fear.
It is easy to say you trust God to provide love when you have a loving family and close friends. I honestly think the only time in my life I would have said I really trusted God for love was a season a few years ago when I had a group of close friends I loved like family. When that season passed, it brought not only the grief of loss, but the fear of not finding or being able to trust in people for loving relationships in the future.
It is easy to say you trust God’s plan when things are going well. Even through recent challenges, I realize I am still tremendously blessed. Yet last month when Sovereign God allowed the one I loved to suffer, it greatly distressed me. When bad things happen that are outside our control, it can be unnerving. When tragedy or disaster strikes, we tend to question God’s plan. That could mean questioning whether God really had control of that situation, if so, why he would allow those painful circumstances in our lives, or even whether we want to be part of his plan if that is the way it is going.
A mature Christian who has walked closely with God for many years might criticize those statements, but I am just being honest here. Can you really say nothing like that has ever crossed your mind, especially when you were first getting to know God?
Most of my life I did not trust anyone else, so a few years ago when I was first learning about God, if I did not like the situation, I would just revert back to my old mindset that I can take care of myself. The problem now is that I know that I cannot. Many things in this world are outside my control. As HARD as I try, I cannot always prevent myself or my loved ones from getting hurt. I cannot instantly turn $1 into $1,000. I cannot make my heart continue to beat.
God knows it is a normal human response to feel fear, otherwise he would not constantly remind us to “Fear not” throughout the Bible. The key is to recognize that fear and analyze whether it is appropriate for the situation at hand. If a big, hungry bear is chasing you, or if you are dangling off the side of a tall building, yes, you should be afraid. But the Bible tells us that if we are doing our part – seeking God first and being good stewards with what he has given us – then we can trust God to meet all our needs.
Another form of the question is “Do you believe God?” The NIV often uses the word trust in the New Testament when translating the Greek word pisteuo, which means “to think to be true, to believe.” (Strong’s 4100) The NRSV often translates it as “believe,” and the noun form pistis as “faith.”
Safety nets are never as solid as we think they are. They can disappear quickly. God is the only One worthy of our trust. God alone is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He knows what we need before we do. Only God can keep the oil jug from running out. Only God can be with us every moment of every day. And while he might use other people to bless us, our need for love can only be satisfied by God himself.
This week we celebrate the birth of Jesus. He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Emmanuel, God with us. He is also Faithful and True. (Is 9:6, Mt 1:23, Rev 19:11, 13, 16) This Christmas, Let us search our hearts for the areas where we hesitate to trust him, and by his grace decide to believe – and trust God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. Prov. 3:5
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jer 29:11
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 1Jn 4: