Originally published in Hope B-P Church’s Lively Hope newsletter (Volume. XXI, No. 43)
“In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid…..” (Psalm 56:11).
Who can honestly testify that they always practise this verse? So why do we find it difficult to trust God? There are probably many reasons why trusting God is difficult. God’s ways do not always make sense to us and we want life to make sense. God works on a different timetable than our minds can comprehend and we always want to set our own times and timetables. Often, it is because we are afraid that things would not go as we want them to unless we control them ourselves. The less we are in control, the more anxious and worried we become. We often think our situation is too difficult for God. If we cannot solve things ourselves, we doubt that God can. Our common experience is that our trust in God is mingled with episodes of worry. We have our Christian beliefs, yes- but that is not the same as believing God. Believing God is a personal response that grows out of our Christian faith and is expressed by our increasing trust in Him and His promises.
Recently, I read a book by an author who wrote: “When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called worry. When you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation. If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate!” The more we meditate on God’s Word, the less we need to worry. In Psalm 23, King David meditated on his “Great Shepherd” instead of worrying. Later, God chose him to be the shepherd of His people (Psalm 78: 70-72). God uses those who can honestly say, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
We, as Christian, must be willing to admit that sometimes we become fearful- of dying, of losing our jobs, of our children getting in trouble, etc. We do not like to confess it, so we may ignore, deny or repress these fears. Even the Apostle Paul had some anxieties. He confessed to the Corinthians: “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Corinthian 2:3). But to overcome our fear, we must first acknowledge it. To admit that we are afraid is to admit that we are human. But to admit being afraid and then trusting the Lord and going forward will take the fear out of fear. When fear and worry test your faith and anxious thoughts assail, remember God is in control and He will never fail.
If you have experienced an intense feeling of loss or fear, you will appreciate the words of King David in Psalm 55. Oppressed by the wicked, hated by his enemies, and betrayed by a friend, King David spoke of the anxiety and anguish that threatened to crush his spirit: “Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” (Psalm 55:5). But instead of caving in to fear, King David poured out his heart to God: “As for me, I will call up God; and the Lord shall save me”. “Evening and morning and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:16-17). Also in Psalm 56, he recognised his fears. He said in Psalm 56:3: “What time I am afraid, I will trust thee.” His trust in the Lord gave him a growing confidence and it was his conscious decision to trust in God.
To live as if there is no God is foolish as Psalm 53:1 tells us: “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.” and Proverbs 28:26 says: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” It leads us to pain, despair and eternal death. But to live in the “fear of God” is wise as Psalm 111:10 says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….” Those who fear Him act with wisdom; they walk faithfully before Him as they obey His commands. It leads us to satisfaction, rejoicing and everlasting life.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had no problems and no uncomfortable situations in life? Someday, when we all get to heaven, that’s the way it will be. Until then, the closest thing to heaven is keeping God first in our lives and being in a complete state of trusting God. In order to trust in God, we must totally surrender our will, our ideas, our desires and our future to God’s hand. If we do not believe that God loves us fully and really does have our best interests at heart and desires the very best of us, trusting Him is going to be extremely difficult. It takes a very special relationship to allow that measure of surrender.
Most of us have a tendency to claim to have trust in God. However, at the first sign of any difficulty or trial, we think that God must have forsaken us because He is allowing this difficulty to happen. These trials are exactly what God uses to test the level of trust that we have in Him. In spite of the trials, we always have God’s promise that the trials and tests that we go through are for our good. Roman 8:28 says: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” We learn that it is through trust that our relationship with God strengthens and our love for Him grows.
We can trust in many things. None, however, offer the protection plan, the long term security, or the benefits that trusting in God offers. All of the other things in which we place our trust can fail. God never fails! In the words of King David: “….fear not, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee, he will not fail, thee, nor forsake thee….” (1 Chronicles 28:20). If we keep our minds focused on Him and continue trusting Him, God’s promises will keep us in “perfect peace”. The God who delivered us yesterday is worthy of our obedience today.