In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov 3:5-6
If trust is defined as a firm belief in, and full reliance on, the truthfulness, justice, strength and commitment of a person or body, how does our trust in God measure up?
We may firmly believe that God is true, just, strong and committed. The question becomes, is that belief borne out in full reliance on Him? How much rust is on our trust? Rust corrodes and weakens tools that are left unused. If we’re not trusting God, we won’t be strengthened in and by our faith.
Scripture calls us to trust in God with ALL our hearts. There’s the rub. The hard truth is that many of us are part-time, half-hearted trusters. We pick and choose the times we’ll trust Him – when we’re up against it, when we have no other option, when we know we’re powerless. But most of the time, we much prefer to trust ourselves. We like to think we’re in charge, and we’re stubbornly resistant to submission to anyone, let alone to God.
We don’t submit to Him in all our ways – in fact, we may hardly submit to Him at all. We claim to worship God on Sunday mornings; the rest of the week we go our own way and make our own decisions. We not only lean on our own understanding, we prop it up and reinforce it when it threatens to collapse. When we’re spending time worrying, fretting and trying to figure out strategies, we’re leaning on our own understanding.
In Psalm 55:23, we read that David is troubled, distraught, betrayed by a close companion and under attack from all sides. In these circumstances, we might think that God had abandoned us, but David responds, “But as for me, I trust in you.” He knows that despite all appearances, God can be trusted.
More subtle than the temptation to stop trusting when things look hopeless is the strong tendency to stop trusting in God in the good times, when the sailing is smooth. Then we fall back on trusting in ourselves, our wealth, our abilities, our wisdom, our network of family and friends. Congratulating ourselves on how well we’re doing or have done – or allowing others to congratulate us without giving God glory – is a giant red flag that we’ve gone off course. Self-satisfaction is the enemy of trusting in God; the strength we gain from it is an illusion.
Trusting God means taking decisions to Him first – not when we’ve exhausted all other possibilities. It means searching His word and seeking his voice, waiting for His timing, following His lead in the complete confidence that despite all evidence to the contrary, He will make our path straight. That’s trusting with all our hearts. It means we have to change the way we’ve always made decisions. It means we have to be patient while we wait for God. Submission to God is counter-cultural, radical. The world thinks submission makes us weak; God know that submission to Him makes us strong. But, as God said through Isaiah, “you would have none of it.”
“Be still, and know that I am God.” This verse from Psalm 46 gets to the crux of the issue. First, trust is knowing without any doubt the goodness, love, power and wisdom of God. We can know these things because God has revealed Himself, both through Scripture and in the person of Jesus.
Second, trust involves knowing that HE is God – He, not me. When I trust in myself, I’m putting myself in the place that belongs to God. I’m relying on my weakness instead of His incredible strength. Not too bright, to say the least.
Half-hearted trust in God not only affects the quality of our lives, but our witness to others. If by our actions and reactions we demonstrate a lack of trust in God, why would unbelievers or seekers want to trust Him?
A wholehearted trust in God brings light and victory in even the darkest situation, defeating Satan’s plan to demoralize and discourage us. I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. (Psalm 44:6-7) This kind of trust offers a continuous source of strength regardless of what happens around us, a strength that allows us to live fruitful lives for God’s kingdom:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
No worries. No dryness. No fruitless living. May we each discover the strength that comes when we put down deep roots of trust in God.
TRUST IS THE KEY TO VICTORY AND EFFECTIVE WITNESS.