Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. Psalm 40:4
Trusting God might be easy to do when life is going well but when things get difficult, what happens? We cry out to God, but when the going gets tough we may also be tempted to turn away from God. So, how do we keep trusting God?
The Israelites, after the initial euphoria of liberation from Egypt, found themselves led by God into the desert. He did it for their protection and well-being. Exodus 13:17-18 Yet, living conditions in the desert were wearisome.
Desert-like living conditions can test our faith in God.
God provided food but the Israelites grumbled because they wanted more choice. They yearned for the variety of fare found in Egypt–fish, onions, garlic, melons, cucumbers, leeks. They forgot the misery of their slavery. Numbers 11:4-7 NLT
The people became fearful and uncertain of God’s intentions and thought God meant them harm rather than good. They even decided it would be better to take matters into their own hands and to go back to Egypt. Numbers 14:1-4 Deuteronomy 1:27
The wilderness can make us fickle in our loyalty to God.
However, although we may show discontent, God never disregards us.
Deuteronomy 1:30-31 MSG reminded them:
God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here.
I read the story of the Israelites and I think, “How could they have been so ridiculous. Couldn’t they have been more trusting? Couldn’t they see what God was doing for them?”
But, then I think about my own life, my attitude and reactions to my circumstances, and I realize it is easy to behave in the same way as the Israelites.
I cry out to God in desperation, and he answers my prayer. He brings relief and I am thankful. But then life returns to normal, or I’m living with a new normal, and I begin to forget what he has done. I focus on how things haven’t turn out as I planned, or as I had hoped, and I start to complain.
Sometimes, I don’t get the answer to prayer that I wanted. Doubts starts to creep in. I question, and ask “why?” Why doesn’t God provide? Why does he seem distant and silent?
Even though God has shown his kindness to us in the past, we can be uncertain about God’s goodness for the future.
Perhaps, we even begin to keep God at arm’s length. We confine our time with him to Sunday mornings at church while the rest of the week we rely on our own abilities and resources we have to hand.
However, this is not having assurance in God. Read what scripture tells us about having confidence in God:
God provides the ability for us to trust him.
The Holy Spirit helps us to have faith in God. Romans 8:26 MSG says: the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. God changes our hearts so we love him. Deuteronomy 30:6 NLT
Jesus identifies with us.
Jesus understands fully our inclination to distrust God and go our own way. Hebrews 4:15 He struggled in the wilderness with the temptation to turn from God and to use his powers to meet his own needs. Matthew 4:1-11
We are capable of trusting God.
The Message puts it this way:
This… isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it…the word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it! Deuteronomy 30:14 MSG
As we begin a new year, what better time to renew our trust in God.
Read Exodus 13 and note the ways God carried the Israelites during challenging times.
Look back to a time when God carried you in his arms to give you strength to face a new challenge. Remember Jesus understands your situation fully, identifies with you, and intercedes for you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with his power to help you trust God fully this year. Share in the comments an area where God is asking you to trust him.
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