The words of the preacher effortlessly glide off his lips. His charismatic voice pounds within your heart, pulsing at deafening decibels. The perfectly constructed words, effortlessly spoken, demands that you move into action. The edge of the seat braces itself under the downward pressure being applied by your desire to overcome. You lean in and think about letting out a vigorous, “Yes!” Or even a good old fashion, “Amen!”
The preacher concludes the message with one of those succinct, and Pinterest quality quotes.
The Bible never once says, “Go figure it out.” But over and over it says, “Trust God. He’s already got it figured out.”
You think to yourself, as you walk to your car, “That was so good. I’m going to post that.”
And then life happens.
The phone rings
A person whispers
An email pings
Your calendar reveals
And in matters of moments, the once motivating and invigorating words “Trust God” are shredded into gazillions of fragments leaving you standing in complete bewilderment. Now what?
There is this murky and misleading understanding creeping in the shadows of the Christian subculture around the concept of “trusting God”. Trust has mostly been relegated to just an emotion or feeling. And one of the issues with that is feelings rapidly fluctuate and emotions are convoluted with insecurities, self-esteem issues, childhood upbringing, and countless other factors. Trust is not momentary, fleeting, or even convenient. One of the go to Bible verses when it comes to the subject of trust is Proverbs 3:5.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
I constantly hear people say, “I Trust God.” And with their next breath say, “But. . .” But I don’t feel Him. But I don’t sense that He is with me. But why is He allowing this to happen? But why am I experiencing this? It is easy to relegate trust to only an emotion or feeling. And that is part of the heart component. But the heart represents more than just the emotions. The heart is about your complete being – the entirety of your existence. Trusting God with all your heart sets a clear and concise trajectory for the next 21 words.
And lean not on your own understanding
Built right into these 7 words is the fact that you will experience moments in life that will perplex your mind. The construct that fits your perfect, storybook life is going to look significantly different. When you trust God, you embrace that the life He has in mind for you will more than likely look vastly different than what you have so imperfectly designed. God has made it clear that our thoughts and ways are not His. (Isaiah 55:8). Trusting God must include a radical commitment to not rely on yourself – your own wants and desires. When You do that, then you can move to the much more difficult step.
In all your ways submit to Him
requires demands action. It is the deliberate decision to relinquish your own plans, desires, and direction in order to follow God’s path. Submission starts as soon as you choose to step away from your path and onto God’s path. Trust expects you to actually move behind God and walk in His footsteps. And when you submit to God, something powerful happens to the path you are on.
And He will make your paths straight.
Way too many people sit around waiting for God to do something – to say something – to act. I have this mental picture of God, sitting on a big white throne in heaven, leaning over screaming, “Get off your backend and start moving!!” God has always been a God of action.
One great picture of trust in action is when God said to Abram, “Go to the land I will show you.” And Abram went. Abram didn’t have a five-year-plan. He didn’t have GPS coordinates for where he was heading. God didn’t reveal one component of His plan other than to ask Abram to trust Him. And in that one act of trust, Abram submitted and stepped off his path and moved onto God’s path. Was the journey ahead of him easy? Not at all. Did Abram’s decisions complicate the journey? Absolutely! Was God faithful? Every step of the way. The depth of our trust in God is revealed when the path does not make sense, and yet we still go. It is when our human construct is obliterated and we face the choice to trust in God or not.
Trust Demands Action
Trust is the absolute resolve that God, the sovereign creator, is guiding your steps. It is embracing that His pathway for your life is always better than what you would design for yourself. Trust is embracing that the path God has you on, with all the twists, turns, dark valley moments and mountain top views, are there for you.
How do you trust God? Wait for it. You trust by trusting. (Yes, that was deep.) Think about it for a moment. You trust God by believing that whatever direction He takes you in life, that it is the best path to walk down. And when you truly embrace that reality, anxiety dissipates and God’s peace rests within your soul. You trust God by taking steps forward anticipating God’s gentle hand (or sometimes abrupt slap up the side of your head), to guide your direction.
Years ago I read a book that collided with my heart at the perfect time. God used Brennan Manning’s words to explode my entire idea of trust and then redefine it.
“Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that boarders on the heroic. When the shadow of Jesus’ cross falls across our lives in the form of failure, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, unemployment, loneliness, depression, the loss of a loved one; when we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own pain; when the world around us suddenly seems a hostile, menacing place – at those times we may cry out in anguish, “How could a loving God permit this to happen?” At such moments the seeds of distrust are sown. It requires heroic courage to trust in the love of God no matter what happens to us.”
I have no idea what you are navigating in life right now. What I hope you embrace is this: Trust God. Move into action. Submit. Follow His steps. The journey will be difficult. Life will not make sense. The future might look murky. Questions might run rampant through your mind. Your heart might ache in fear. But one day, you will look back and you will see God’s perfectly constructed path.
And at that point, you will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.