Those of us that have read the Bible for any length of time know that followers of Christ are repeatedly told to trust God. Yet, impatience pushes us and presses us to impulsively proceed ahead of God, which equates to ‘without God,’ as in, leaving Him ‘in the dust’ of our daily plans. Ouch! Earlier this year, following a season of pain and heavy stress in my life, the Lord spoke some very specific insights to my heart and mind that I want to bless you with, dear reader. (All the listed Scriptures are from the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise cited.)
1. I can only trust God for the moment in which I live and breathe and have my being in Him.
Acts 17:28 – “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.”
2. I cannot trust God right now in the five seconds from now since I have not made it into that 5th second yet. When and if I make it into the next five seconds or five minutes or five years from now, THEN and only then can I actively trust God in each and every new moment He gives me.
a. Matthew 6:33-34 says, “33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
b. James 4:13-17 says, “13Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
3. I have such a poor tendency to think I can actively trust God with whatever future He grants me and then just stop actively trusting Him in the moment He is giving me right now. It is true that, by faith, the Christian, (the true follower of Christ), trusts God with all that they can see, touch, taste, smell and hear in the here and now and with all that the future holds, because we know Who holds the future. BUT, just because God has secured my future in Christ Jesus does not mean I can just become passive regarding my active trust in Him right now, right here and right in the midst of all the happy, sad, easy, difficult, fun, pleasurable, unpleasant and miserable circumstances of my life.
Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. 4Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”
4. Trusting God when I am sad, hurting and depressed goes against all that my flesh is screaming. My carnal nature, Paul says, has been with me since my parents conceived me.
a. Romans 7:14-15 says, “14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”
b. Romans 8:5-9 says, “5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
5. I have suffered from anxiety and depression on and off since I was in my adolescence. Only two times in my life do I remember feeling so hopeless over a situation that I genuinely wanted the Lord to kill me and take me home to Him. I remember in both of those dark, dark valleys hearing God’s voice speak His comforting and exhortive words of truth to me to lovingly walk me out of my depression one painful step at a time. I also remember in the first dark valley that I often heard the voice of God’s enemies telling me to kill myself. The workers of Satan that tormented and tempted me in those night and morning hours suggested many creative ways for me to murder myself via violent and non-violent forms of suicide. (Suicide is such a temperate way of labeling self-murder, isn’t it?)
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 says, “3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
6. Because of my faith in the Lord Jesus, I cried out to Him for the help I knew I needed. He gave me specific, mature Christian women that assisted me in my journey back to trusting Him in each moment of my depression. It took weeks in both cases for me to regain enough strength to walk on my own again without feeling the need to draw strength more often from these precious Christian women.
a. God taught me in both times of hopelessness and helplessness that He is not only there with me as a “very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), but He understands my pain and never leaves nor forsakes me, even when I am totally absorbed in my pain and not actively trusting Him.
b. He also taught me that He does not want me as His child to remain long-term in that dark place. You see, it is in those dark places that God refines His children who trust Him. He allows for a season whatever it takes to bring the focus of His precious ones back on Him – for worship, fellowship and intimate communion with Him – to actively trust Him once again, right where we are.
7. Abiding in Christ is one of the hardest things for me to do. This is a spiritual discipline I must practice every single moment of every day God gives me this side of eternity. Abiding in Christ is an attitude in the heart/mind of the person that is submitted and surrendered to Jesus Christ. Abiding in Christ, or walking intimately with God, is taught from Genesis to Revelation. To abide in Christ, as Jesus commands in John Chapter 15, is to rest in His finished work at Calvary for my repentance, atonement, salvation, justification, redemption, sanctification and lifelong service in His kingdom and unto His Lordship. Hebrews 4 tells us that Jesus is our Sabbath rest – not for one day a week, but for 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
8. Successfully trusting God in hard times happens when your mind is already made up before the next big trial hits, because you have learned to trust God in the small trials of everyday life. Regardless of our stage of life, there are endless trials that we experience every day. Some trials, fewer than most, cause us to experience a crisis in our heart and mind. Henry Blackaby teaches in his “Experiencing God” book that God sometimes brings us to a crisis in order to ponder and really consider what we truly believe about Him and His word/will.
a. We must ask our self what or who it is that we genuinely trust when we are facing a life crisis. Do we trust our self to get through the trial? Do we trust money, tv, movies, food, illicit sexual fantasies or sexual activities that are forbidden by God? Perhaps we go shopping for things we don’t need and spend money we cannot afford to spend. Perhaps we vent our anger and bitterness upon any set of ears without realizing the damage and devastation we inflict upon our victims. Whatever or whoever it is, IT or THEY must be confessed as an idol in our heart, since we are seeking to meet a need or have that need met by something or someone outside of God — the Creator of our soul.
b. As the Creator of our soul, only God knows precisely what we need and when and how we need it. Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “28Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
9. When we experience easy times where there are no pressing trials and heartaches in our life, we are often tempted to fall into a pit of spiritual apathy. This happens as we take the reprieve from trials and sorrow for granted and become spiritually lazy. When we are most needy for the Lord’s presence and power in our life, we tend to seek Him more faithfully and fervently according to His word and in times of prayer with Him. But, when all seems to be going well for us, we may slack off on seeking God in His word and spending times in prayer with Him.
a. A genuine follower of Christ is not a fair-weathered friend of God. If we only go to Him when we perceive we need Him, we make our relationship with God one-sided, since we are making the relationship all about what we get out of our connection to God instead of really walking with Him by faith in both the good times and hard times. The truth is, we need Him always.
b. Jesus says in John 15:5 KJV, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” We must make our mind up now that in both the easy and hard times of this life, we will trust the Lord, come what may.
10. Jesus is waiting for us every moment of every day to cast our burdens upon Him according to Psalm 55:22 so that He can sustain us and make us ready for service unto Him each and every day – for His glory and for our blessing. He does not want us to wait until the pain is unbearable to run to Him. He desires for us to walk with Him all the time, trusting Him in the moment with whatever we are facing.
11. The fact that each of us are still alive today attests to the fact that God is not done with us yet this side of eternity. My little plaque at home says, “O God of second chances and new beginnings, here I am again.”
a. The small groups I lead have adopted the song “He’s Still Working On Me” as our theme song and life motto, and appropriately so. No matter how many times we fail to faithfully trust God in the moment, He invites us back to Him in humble confession and contrition to make things right between us and Him for the sake of Jesus Christ.
b. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We must admit to God that we sin each time we choose to trust in other things, our self and other people instead of trusting Him by faith in every situation and circumstance.
12. What do you say to all of this? Shall we agree that God not only wants us to but gives us the strength and power to live by faith in His truth moment by moment every day?
a. Proverbs 3:1-8 says, “1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
b. God has a word for us every day and all day long. Let’s choose to seek Him for that word in His word – the Bible and in quiet times of prayer to Him, even if just for a moment during the day or night. Let’s purpose to give Him the first fruit of the time He gives us each day to seek Him while He may be found. His Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth – will meet us there as we choose to actively trust Him in each second of each day that He sustains our life on earth.
I close with the words of Jesus in John 14:27 that Jesus spoke to His disciples before His ascension to heaven: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Sisters in Christ: let’s choose in each moment to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Let’s make that hard choice not to lean on our own understanding. In all our ways, let’s remember to faithfully acknowledge Him, and He WILL direct our paths!