It’s funny how we can look at others and know just how they should respond towards hard life events, and yet, when it’s us, we find it so difficult.
We look at the Israelites in the wilderness and during the time of the judges and sigh heavily. “C’mon guys, why can’t you just trust God? He literally just parted the Red Sea and you’re already freaking out about food? Don’t you remember what He just did?”
We read the story of Namaan healed of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14) and shake our heads while rolling our eyes. “Wow, Namaan – what on earth are you complaining about? Elisha told you exactly what you need to do; just do it. Are you seriously going to let your pride get in the way of being cured? Sheesh…”
Or, maybe, it’s observing family, friends, or other people in your life making tough or wrong decisions, or them struggling to rest in Christ. “Just trust God,” we think, perhaps almost smuggly. “You know He’s sovereign and good – why are you worrying?”
It’s not that we don’t have a point: we can, and should, trust God. We should remember how He’s proven faithful before. We should not let pride get in the way of trusting God and obeying Him. We should not be worrying and anxious because He is sovereign and good.
The problem is that, when we’re in the thick of things, we stop choosing to remember and trust, and instead we start letting worry, pride, and insecurity take over.
Maybe it’s due to the death of a loved one. A split in the family. Someone that appeared to be a dedicated Christian walk away from God. Someone precious taken away from you. People failing you. Broken trust. A breakup. The loss of a job. Regret. Constant overwhelming emotions plaguing you. Abuse – whether physical, emotional, mental, or neglect. Years of hurt and disappointment.
Maybe it’s one big thing, or maybe it’s a combination of a million little things piling up. Whatever it is, we all face personal difficulties that cause us to struggle to trust God.
We struggle to trust because we have expectations. We have a mental checklist of our lives of where, when, and how things should work out. When a difficulty arises that conflicts with our expectations, we resist. We don’t want to be where God has led us – we want to be somewhere completely different. We don’t want to wait on God’s timing – we want our problems solved immediately. We don’t want to push through the pain – we want ease and convenience. Trusting means letting go of your expectations, accepting and submitting to what God has allowed into your life, and choosing to rest in Him, remember his promises, and take joy in His sovereignty and goodness.
It’s hard because we have real, legitimate fears. We don’t want to be hurt again. The sting of past hurts and mistakes can be debilitating. We simply don’t know what God has planned, and the insecurity of the unknown scares us because of our lack of control in the situation.
But, at the end of the day, we go back to this one question: do we trust God?
Yes: trusting won’t always be easy.
Yes: the journey may be painful.
Yes: we will often struggle in our trust.
We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know what pain we may endure. We don’t know what hurt and disappointment we will face.
However, what we do know is this:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,” (Romans 8:28a, ESV)
What we do know is that sometimes our ultimate good, and God’s ultimate glory, means temporary physical pain for permanent spiritual gain.
Choose to trust God. Push through the pain and fears, giving them over to Him. He loves you, and He will only put you through the difficulties that are necessary for you to endure.
Trust the Author of Eternity. You only see one chapter – He sees the whole story.