To Trust God
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O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed.
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. (Job 13:15)
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"Trust God" has become a cliché in our daily intercourse. If we are uncertain about a course of action, we fall back on "trust God" as the default response. It sounds spiritual, but it reduces God to a good luck charm, not much more.
But in the Biblical tradition, trusting God involves much more than merely invoking His name to get His blessing. Trusting God requires four responses in our life:
First, we must trust His word. God has gone to a great deal of trouble to provide us a body of instruction that can be of enormous benefit in navigating our path through life. His word can save us from confusion and stumbling, if we take it seriously. The problem comes when His guidance contradicts our feelings, or when His instructions seem counterintuitive (e.g., “Love your enemies.” Really??). But if we truly "trust God," then we must honor His word, regardless of how challenging it may be.
Second, we must trust His providence. Instead of allowing our minds to become consumed with anxiety when things seem to be going sideways, we must turn all our worries over to God's capable hands. Even when it looks like everything is spiralling out of control, we have to remind ourselves that God knows what is best, and sometimes "what is best" doesn't make sense to us. Disappointments, setbacks, loss--God can use it all to accomplish ends we cannot see; but we must deal with them without becoming bitter.
Third, we must trust His promises. There are tangible benefits that generally we can expect from following God's directions: long life, healthy relationships, prosperity, and so forth. These are nice to have, but not guaranteed. There are other promises, however, that stand on surer ground, and are much more useful: peace of mind, a sense of divine forgiveness, and the expectation of eternal life on the other side of death. These promises make life worth living, if we can cling to them regardless of our physical status.
Finally, we must trust the outcome. Job’s trust was severely tested by the trials that befell him, yet he refused to surrender his conviction that God knew what he was doing. He trusted that someday God would make everything right again. “Though He slay me” was not a clever rhetorical flourish; it was a grim reality that Job could not understand, but was determined to overcome.
Do you trust God? Apply these four tests to your life, and you'll know if you really do trust Him, or are just using Him to get what you want.