Saturday, March 28, 2020

Trusting in the Lord




What does it mean to trust in the Lord? It’s not about learning how to generate a warm fuzzy feeling. You’re not going to feel the fuzzies when you’re on a roller-coaster – just dread – but you can still trust in the Lord, even at these times. How? Simply by deciding to! Even when it seems that your life has come to an end, you can say to yourself, “Lord, I’m going to trust in You and Your promises, even as my mind is racing out of control.

This is what the Psalmists repeatedly wrote about. King David related how, in the midst of his torment, he made the decision to turn to his God and decide that he had to trust in Him:

·       Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:1-3 ESV)

There is no indication that his fear suddenly subsided into billows of comforting faith. In fact, there is no reason to believe that fear will be suddenly dissolved by this decision, any more than my fear on the roller-coaster was suddenly dissipated, when I exercised faith. Instead, our comfort is usually the result of our deliverance.

Later, David experienced a loss that had caused him great distress. While he was residing with the Philistines, during his flight from King Saul who wanted to kill him, and while he and his 600 men were away from their camp at Ziklag, the Amalekites attacked and had taken captive all of their wives, sons, and daughters:

·       Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:4-6)

How did David strengthen himself in the Lord? There is no indication that he was able to conjure up soft-fuzzies. Instead, amidst his distress, he turned to his only source of hope, and asked his priest to inquire of the Lord about what they should do. As a result, he and his men pursued the Amalekites and defeated them and recovered their families.

Instead of crediting the prowess of his faith for his victory, David gave all the thanks to his God. Any trust in our faith is a misguided and self-centered trust. Instead, our trust has to be in God, apart from whether our faith gives us ecstatic chills of confidence.

Later, David wrote:

·       For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken…For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2, 5-6)

David had learned that there were many times that he would have to “wait in silence” for his God to rescue him, even after any sense or feeling of hope had evaporated.

As a new Christian, I proudly told myself “I will never allow anything to separate me from my faith.” However, sometimes, God waits until our faith is dead, as dead as Lazarus in his tomb. After the crucifixion, two disciples walking on the Emmaus Road had already surrendered their hope in Jesus. However, it was at this very instance that He appeared to them and renewed their faith in Him. So too will some of us have to experience the death of our faith until we too learn that our Lord remains faithful even if we fall.

I also had to learn that I couldn’t place my trust in faith but in Christ alone, that He would deliver me no matter how hopeless I had become. In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, a demon is boasting to his master of how hopeless and demoralized he had succeeding in making one church-goer. The master responded to his subordinate that he was a fool for thinking he had been victorious. He explained that their victory is more than ever in doubt when their hopeless victim continues to turn to God, especially when lacking any sense of hope.

Let us not, therefore, pay much heed to our feelings of hope and faith but to God alone.

2 comments:

  1. I've spoken with some people who insist that their faith has miraculous power as long as they pray "in Jesus name", regardless of what God's will is in a situation. My experience in discussing such things causes me to believe that they cannot see the truth on the matter. It seems to me that they cite verses out of context to support what they want to believe. Often I don't know what else to say to them. I can only pray for wisdom and try to seek counsel from mature Christians. njp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scripture has to be our foremost guide. People report many contradictory experience, many of which are demonically empowered.

      What does it mean to pray "in Jesus' name?" I think that it means praying according to His will and Person.

      Delete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.