I love to ski and through this activity, I have learned a lot about trust that we can apply to our spiritual lives and trust in God.
I belong to a ski club in Breckenridge in Colorado. What this means is I go skiing with a small group of men and women, of a similar skiing ability to myself, led by an instructor. The instructor’s role is to improve our abilities so we ski like the pros and feel more confident than before on difficult runs.
To do this, I have to put my full trust in the ski instructor. I have to believe he knows me well enough not to make me ski a run that is beyond my capabilities. I have to put my faith in him that wherever he takes me on the mountain, I can follow.
Having confidence in my instructor is easy when we’re skiing down familiar runs, but when we come to a steep slope, it takes willpower to follow where he leads. On a couple of occasions I have doubted him, and I have gone my own way by taking an easier route down!
In the same way, trusting God might be easy to do when life is going well but when things get difficult, trust is much harder. We cry out to God for help, but when he doesn’t seem to be helping us out 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. 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
This sounds familiar. We can easily take an idealized or sentimental view of something in the past that has been difficult or problematic.
They 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
We have to be carefully that the wilderness we are facing doesn’t make us fickle in our loyalty to God.
However, although the Israelites showed dissatisfaction, God never abandoned them.
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 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, and like I do sometimes with my ski instructor. Perhaps you do the same.
We cry out to God in desperation, but when the answer is not quite what we want, then we start to complain. We focus on how things haven’t turned out as we planned, or as we had hoped.
We may show discontent, but God never disregards us.
Or God may lead us on a path that looks difficult. Doubt starts to creep in. We question, and ask “why?” “Why is this happening?” “Where is God leading me?” Instead of following closely.
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.
Scripture tells us we have what it takes to build our trust in God and continue to have confidence in our heavenly Father:
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
Look to Jesus
Jesus 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 Jesus understands fully our inclination to distrust God and go our own way. Hebrews 4:15
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 30:11-14 MSG
Do you need to renew your trust in God today?
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with his power to help you trust God fully. Share in the comments an area where God is asking you to trust him.