What does trusting God really mean? We often throw around the phrase like a good luck charm or some thoughtless Christian catch-phrase . . . We tell people, “Just trust God,” or “I’m trusting God in this situation.” (Which I am not saying are bad to do.) But often saying something is very different from actually doing it. We might easily counsel someone going through hard times to “just trust God,” but when our own difficulties come, we find it tough to take our own advice. We realize that, surprise, surprise – trusting God is actually harder than we thought, and we struggle to know what that even looks like practically.
So what does it look like to trust God? I can tell you one thing: truly trusting God demands that you make some pretty significant changes in your life. Here are some thoughts that I’ve been mulling around recently.
Trusting God means…
Not letting your worries and fears keep you from moving forward
If you really do trust God fully, you will go ahead and do something that you know God wants you to do, even if you’re scared 3/4 to death and you’re looking out over a craggy cliff into a sea of mist and fog. God didn’t say that this Christian walk would be an easy sightseeing vacation; we don’t walk by sight – we walk by faith, so we should expect a couple of leaps into the unknown every once in a while. And when God proves Himself faithful every single time, that just boosts our faith to greater heights where God can do seemingly impossible things through us. He is the God of the impossible, after all.
Many people freak out at the thought of committing to something. I know the feeling. But if it’s something you really want, and especially if it’s something God is telling you to do, you’re going to have to step out and do it, no matter the risk. Trusting God looks like making commitments, standing firm on them, and believing God for the results.
Believing that God will provide for your every need
If God says it, He will do it. And in this case, He says it. Here is one of God’s many promises to provide for our needs:
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:19
Think about that . . . His riches in glory! God has an abundance of riches to supply us with, and He’s never going to run out. God has promised it. What more do we need? That doesn’t mean that you can sit back and expect God to drop money from the sky while you lounge in your easy chair sipping on soda and watching TV. Though God is merciful, he doesn’t reward laziness, and there are natural consequences for it. We all have the responsibility to work hard and do our part to provide for what we need, but at the same time, we can trust without a doubt that God is looking out for us, and He will never allow us to go without our daily necessities.
Not only can we trust that God will provide for us, but we can also stand firmly on all of God’s promises to us no matter what. God has said that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5); He has promised that He will listen to our prayers and answer them (Psalm 34:17; 1 John 5:14-15); He has promised the wonderful power and guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives (John 14:26); He’s said that He will keep us in perfect peace if we keep our minds fixed on Him (Isaiah 26:2). And those are only a few of them. There are so many wonderful promises in the Bible that we can hold on to and claim for our lives, but so often we don’t even know what we have as God’s children because we haven’t taken the time to search them out. But every one of them is just another reason why we can trust God completely, with no reservations, and without giving up when difficulties arise.
Forgiving others no matter what and refusing to let bitterness set in
God always has a purpose in our pain, even the pain of broken relationships or betrayal or deceit or hurtful words. If you won’t forgive and instead let bitterness grow deep in your heart, then you are not truly believing that God has a purpose in your pain. We have to always forgive – there is no other way. We can trust God and forgive, because He knows what that feels like, to forgive someone when they don’t deserve it, when there is no apparent chance of reconciliation. He still did it, even in the face of death. And if He can forgive us when we were so undeserving, how can we not show the same forgiveness to our fellow man? Trust that there is a purpose, and that he can bring beauty out of pain.
Not relying only on your own common sense or logic
Trusting God implicitly means that you’ll submit to His higher wisdom and counsel instead of listening to what your head tells you to be true. Sure, we do have some great reasoning capabilities, but they can often get in the way of God’s plans when we think that we know better than God.
I don’t think any of us would come right out and say, “Yes, I do know better than God.” But what we don’t realize is that we are saying that very thing by our actions when we allow ourselves to get all worried or upset, or when we try to manipulate circumstances or people, or when we ignore God’s gentle leading and take our own pathways instead of humbly and patiently seeking His best.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss God’s best for me in the midst of my own “superior” logic or my own machinations and plans. I want God’s best, and often that means going against what feels natural, and trusting to God’s unique wisdom and purposes. After all, He has been here for quite a while longer than me, and that means He surely knows how things work a lot better than I do.
Humbly accepting whenever God closes a door
Life doesn’t always go as you planned, but you can know for sure that it always goes according to God’s plan. God is perfectly just and wise and holy, and He allows things to happen for a reason, whether good or bad. Even if you make wrong choices, and are having to deal with the consequences, you can rest in knowing that God can always bring good out of that situation. So when God closes a door, even if it looks like it was the perfect plan in your mind, there must be a good and wise reason for it. If you find yourself in that situation, just hang onto Him, and know that He has something much better in store for you.
Going through life with a smile on your face and joy in your heart
Knowing all this about God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness is enough to fill my heart with joy overflowing and put a genuine smile on my face! I hope it does that for you, too. God really is in control, and He will always care for His children. He cares for the birds and the flowers; how much more does He love and care about you and me?
Some of this stuff I have learned and grown in over the past couple of years, and some of it I am still struggling with a lot. Many things in my life lately have required a huge amount of trust in God, and it hasn’t been easy, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I do want to testify that God is awesome, and He always does keep His promises! Every situation I’ve trusted Him with, He’s always come through and been faithful, and I would love for you all to experience that for yourselves.
I’ll leave you with some words from a well-known old hymn that touches on the rest, peace, and contentment that comes from trusting Jesus and His promises.
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.