Can I Trust God?

Can I Trust God? The reason we even ask such a question is that bad things happen to good people. 

O’ Lord  Lauren Diagle

Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.

Everything rises and falls on relationships. You know that when the relationships in your life are good, things running smoothly interpersonally, life is good. Of course, the opposite is unfortunately true. One messed up relationship can cloud your skies. When there is a bunch of messed up relationships, things can feel mighty bleak.

The basis of every good relationship is trust. That word trust paints a lot of pictures. A definition of Trust includes being able to predict what other people will do and what situation will occur. This creates a sense of control and safety. What you trust in is reliable, dependable; you are confident of integrity, and when it comes to trusting others, the greater the trust the greater the conviction that your heart is safe in their hands. 

Today we are going to try to answer the question: “Can I Trust God?” The sage tells us to trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). The prophet says “Trust in the Lord forever” (Isaiah 26:4).  The Apostle writes: “ I will put my trust in Him (Hebrews 2:13). Jesus said:
John 14:1 (NIV)
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” Certainly, the scripture urges us to place our trust in God, but can we. Can I Trust God?

The reason we even ask such a question is that bad things happen to good people. Bad things have happened to you. When things happen and we lack an explanation as to why the situation can tempt us to doubt God; “why am I struggling in this crisis?” We naturally wonder if God indeed has my best interests in mind. How we proceed is a matter of Trust.

The Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy: “… I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Timothy 1:12).

I know the One in whom I trust. The better you know God the more you will trust God. God invites you to a right relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. When you accept that invitation you begin a journey of discovering the type of person God is.

When I met Sherri, you could say we were introduced to one another through mutual acquaintances. As we spent time together, we learned facts about each other: likes, dislikes, similarities, differences, the struggles of life we had dealt with, the problems and challenges we were facing.  As we experienced life together, we learned that the other was safe. We learned that each of our heats was safe in the others hands. This allowed us to open up more, to become more vulnerable to each other, knowing that this vulnerability would not be used to hurt us. These experiences allowed trust to flourish. The greater the trust grew, the more we were able to reveal ourselves to each other. We began to feel that we knew one another; that we could depend on one another; that we had each other’s backs. Trust is built over time through shared experiences.

Paul trusted God. Now you can give someone your trust because of the position they hold. It used to be certain professions in society held a sacred trust with the population—Pastor, Doctor, Police Officer. We would trust these individuals because we esteemed the system that granted these titles. But as we all know that after that initial encounter, they must prove themselves to be worthy of that trust. The scripture makes the case that because God is God we can trust Him fully. The way you discover if someone is worthy of your trust is to spend time with them. Paul spent time with God and discovered God to be trustworthy.

How do you spend time with God? My advice is that you practice the 7 habits of a disciple. It is through reading and studying the Bible, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience and contemplation that we encounter God, that we experience God in our life. I have another suggestion but I will save it for a little later on.

What did Paul experience? Paul trusted God, therefore, Paul must have experienced the prosperity of living the American Dream, fame, fortune, great health, success in work, and everything else that goes with it. As you read his story, you discover that this was not Paul’s experience at all.

If Paul is writing this letter to Timothy in which he wrote “ I know the one in whom I trust,” from Rome,  he would be my age, 60 years old. He would have been a follower of Christ for about 30 years. He had traveled extensively when travel was not as easy as it is today. He received thirty-nine lashes with a whip on five different occasions, he was beaten with rods three times, people threw stones and left him for dead once. Scars crisscross his back, his face, his hands.  He has been deserted by friends, betrayed by co-workers, battled false teachers, bitten by snakes, shipwrecked, run out of town, well acquainted with hunger, sitting in a jail cell at the time of this writing.

Paul certainly didn’t experience God protecting him from any of that. Troubles happened. His God-appointed mission often met with great opposition. Life was hard. Why was Paul able to trust God? Paul experienced God in every adversity as One who got him through every situation. So Paul wrote: “I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of his return.”

Let’s consider another person whose story is in the Bible, Job. Job was a wealthy man, a loving husband, good father, respected in the community. Then he loses everything through no fault of his own, except his wife. Everything of importance to him is gone, except his wife.  His wife who told him as he sat in ashes scrapping his sores,  "Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9). Job suffered, he was very confused as to why, his friends did a lousy job in counseling him, he called them miserable comforters (Job 16:2). Job feels that God had treated him unjustly. To summarize the closing scenes in this drama, Job comes to the realization that God does not explain or justify his actions or inactions and regardless of what happens Job’s task is to walk through the adversity with God. The result of walking with God was God’s blessings that returned everything that was lost.

To walk through the adversity with God trust is required. You are not going to get an answer to the why question unless you have caused your own circumstances. Keeping walking, remembering the times in your life that God has supplied every need: provided at the last possible moment: at just the right time encouraged you. “Why” is a cry of protest. You can protest but keep walking with God. 

We don’t trust God because someone tells us to. We trust God because we have experienced that God is trustworthy. I sympathize with those who find it particularly difficult to trust God in times of adversity. I’ve been there myself often enough to know something of the distress, despair, and darkness that fill our souls when we wonder if God truly cares about our plight. Yet even in my ranting and ravings, my misplaced anger with God, I still had enough experience with God to know that there was nowhere else to go. Those past experiences gave me a thin string of trust to hold on to. Upon that string, I  found the grace and hope I needed to keep on walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

We cannot trust someone we don't know.  You need a track record of trustworthiness. As we grow in our Christian life, we will trust God more and more because we will experience His influence and presence in our lives.  We will not increase in trusting because we try harder; we will increase in trusting because we know Him better and are living closer to Him.

As previously mentioned your practice of the 7 habits of a disciple are key in encountering God, in those encounters you get to know Him, in knowing Him you grow in trusting Him, the more you trust the more intimate your relationship with Him becomes.  There’s another piece of advice worthy of our consideration. Practice the habit of acknowledging the presence of God throughout your day. Another way to understand this is to consciously invite God into participating with you in your moment to moment activities. "Acknowledge Him in all your ways..." By doing so you are going to focus on Him first, not the problem, not your weakness. Recall what He has done for you in the past. Hope comes that we will walk you through this situation as well. Trust increases when that hope is realized.

Can I trust God? I can tell you yes. If you’re not sure ask yourself “what has He done to help get through?” 

Do I Trust You, Lord?  Twila Paris

When someone says, “Trust me,” we have one of two reactions. Either we can say, “Yes, I’ll trust you,” or we can say, “Why should I?” In God’s case, trusting Him naturally follows when we have firsthand experiences with God.

We can learn to trust God as we see how He has proven Himself to be trustworthy in our lives and the lives of others. The more we experience His grace, faithfulness, and goodness, the more we trust Him (Psalm 100:5; Isaiah 25:1).

Even in the toughest of times, you know that somehow God will get you through because, you know the One in whom you trust, and are sure that He is able to guard what you have entrusted to Him until the day of his return.


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