Articles - Christian Growth
by Lyn Packer
It's all very well to say we trust God but do we really? I suspect that your life is probably like mine to a degree. I say that I trust God and then I go and worry about whether things will work out how I hope they will.
Learning to trust God has been a journey for me. Growing up in a life where I felt I could trust no-one certainly didn't prepare me in any way for trusting God. To start with I had to just take him at his word and also rely on other peoples' testimony of his faithfulness. That time spent in Scripture looking up verses relating to his faithfulness was an absolutely crucial part of learning to trust him. Seeing in scripture how God came through in their lives told me that if he came through for them he would come through for me. And over time I began to build my own record of God coming through for me in different situations.
So fast-forward to now. I was thinking about faith and trust the other day and how they are linked. The Thesaurus says that other words for faith are = trust, belief, hope, conviction, expectation, reliance, dependence. Faith is linked with trust! When I saw this it sparked some thoughts that I spent some time mulling over. So it's that 'trust' aspect of faith that I want to talk about here today.
Faith is so much a part of our life with God. The Bible even states that without it it's impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6), so it's a pretty important thing to have established correcty in our life. If faith is linked to trust then how much do I really trust God? What is that trust built on? How do I know he's trustworthy? These, and many other questions, have invaded my mind and sent me on a journey of discovery.
Our faith is built on the foundation of the trustworthiness of God. We long to see 'God be God' to us and through us, and for this happen we must settle the trust issue. Then we will be able to walk in the kind of faith that pleases him.
We say that we have faith and that we trust God, but do our actions, attitudes and responses line up with our words? It is these things that really show how deep our trust goes. How often do we make snap judgments and decide to trust someone we have known for a couple of seconds and yet struggle to trust the God who has proved his faithfulness and goodness over many years or even generations?
Trust can be a very subjective thing. What do we base our trust on? Is it a snap judgment on our part, based on how someone presents themself to us, their appearance, demeanor etc? Is it made up of assessing someone's track record and seeing their trustworthiness or is it just blind acceptance?
In a counseling course that I attended a while ago the lecturer said that 95% ,or more, of people do not have an adult way to assess who is trustworthy and who is not. Most of us simply assess trustworthiness based on our feelings (instincts) or our response to our dealings with people.
Trust is "loaning power to another". To trust means to give one's safety and future to the judgements and decisions of another. Trusting means being vulnerable to someone else's choices and thoughts. So trusting is therefore risky. The alternative to us trusting is our avoiding any form of loaning power to another, which results in our attempting to control lives, both ours and others.
Check yourself out. Has God proved his trustworthiness to you or are you being lied to by your own bruised feelings and echoes from past hurts? Your 'stuff' from past betrayal may mean that in reality you trust no one, not even God. God does not mean us to go through life not trusting others and he also doesn't mean us to go through life trusting unwisely those who don't deserve our trust. But he does mean us to go through life trusting him, the one who is worthy of our wholehearted trust and faith.
So how do you assess trustworthiness?
I think some of the same ways you assess trustworthiness in people can also be applied to firming up our trust in God.
If he is not Love then none of the above criteria can ever apply and he is not worthy of trust or belief. But if he is, then we must settle that in our hearts and know that he is utterly trustworthy, and so we can believe and have faith in whatever he says to us.
I have come to realise that while I trust God in most areas of my life there are still others where my responses are sometimes at odds with my words. I have discovered that the lack of trust in those areas stems from my past, not his character or lack of it.
Are you the same? Are there areas where your past fights against your ability to trust God? Realise that God has made provision for healing every area of your past in Christ's work on the Cross. Allow God access to those areas to heal them and choose to trust, based on what you know of his love, faithfulness and trustworthiness. As we do it will build a stronger faith and trust in him. Our faith will then have a foundation that will not be shaken easily by the storms of life or the faith steps God asks us to take. Our walk will be transformed as we step out in supreme confidence, knowing that the One who is supreme can totally be trusted to do what he says he will do.