The Ease of Mistrust
Take care brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the Living God.(Hebrews 3:12)
I sympathize with those who find it difficult to trust God in adversity. I’ve been there often enough myself to know something of the distress, despair, and darkness that fills our souls when we wonder if God truly cares about our plight. I have spent a good portion of my adult life encouraging people to pursue holiness, to obey God. Yet, I acknowledge it often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him.
God’s moral will given to us in the Bible us rational and reasonable; the circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable. God’s law is readily recognized to be good for us, even when we don’t want to obey it; the circumstances of our lives frequently appear dreadful and grim, perhaps even calamitous and tragic. Obeying God is worked out in well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will; trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries, where we’re always coping with the unknown.
Yet it is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him. When we disobey God, we defy His authority and despise His holiness. But when we fail to trust God we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness. In both cases we cast aspersions upon His majesty and His character. God views our mistrust of Him as seriously as He views our disobedience.
When the people of Israel were hungry, “they spoke against God, saying, Can God spread a table in the wilderness?…..Can He also give bread or provide meat for His people?” The next two verses tell us, “When the Lord heard, He was full of wrath…..because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.”(Psalm 78:19-22)
In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through eyes of faith, not of sense.
From the beginning the strategy of Satan has to get us to question the love, nature, character, and integrity of God. In his approach to Eve in the Garden he implies that God is withholding good things that she deserved. He entices her to question what God had said. He offers her the shortcut to what God has in store for her. As we read of Jesus n the wilderness, we find that Satan hasn’t changed his strategy. He tempts Jesus to use God for personal satisfaction(command these stones to become bread); he offers Christ a shortcut to becoming Lord over His creation(worship me and I’ll give you the kingdoms of the world); he pushes the Lord to test the love and protection of God(cast yourself off the temple, the angels will be sent to save you).
Each of these moments is an attempt to entice the children of God to question His love and care. Trust for most of us is a difficult thing for we are in a sin-cursed world where failing to keep our promise or word is the norm. We sign lengthy contracts that attempt to cover every loophole to prevent promises from being broken. We now have marriages that begin with prenuptial agreements in anticipation that the vows will be broken. We view with skepticism anyone who dares to trust, even fully trust God with everything. While this might sound radical, we try to insure everything so that we have to trust nothing. We insure our health, our lives, our possessions against every foreseeable calamity. That seems easier than trusting everything to God. This is the strategy of Satan to get us to trust our means and ways more than we trust God. The issue of trust is the issue of ownership. The safekeeping of everything is the responsibility of the one who holds ownership. For example, I am not responsible for your possessions, you are for they are yours. The degree of trusting God is the degree of giving Him ownership. What ever we give Him, we trust Him with. Those who for example those who invest their finances with a broker trust to a large degree those resources to him. I sure most don’t call and advise or check on their investments every hour. Paul gives us the best plan when he gives us these words,
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.”
2 Timothy 1:8-14
The Psalmist encourages us with these words,
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.”
May God grant that in these uncertain times we commit to Him all and to believe that from the ashes of calamity we will rise and stand upright for a testimony to the keeping power of our God.
Dr. John Thompson