Honoring God By Trusting Him
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:6)
“Providence is wonderfully intricate,” C.H. Spurgeon proclaimed in a sermon on divine providence. He continued: “Ah! you want always to see through Providence, do you not? You never will, I assure you. You have not eyes good enough. You want to see what good that affliction was to you; you must believe it. You want to see how it can bring good to the soul; you may be enabled in a little time, but you cannot see it now; you must believe it. Honor God by trusting Him.”
In Job’s final response to God, he humbly acknowledges God’s unfathomable ways. After repeating a piercing question from God- “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?”- Job then says, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know”(Job 42:3).
God’s ways, Job realized, were too wonderful for him to know or understand. When he saw God in His great majesty and sovereignty, he repented in “dust and ashes” of his previous arrogant questioning (verse 6). Job stopped asking and simply trusted.
David, in a similar manner, bowed to the sovereign purposes and infinite wisdom of God. “O Lord,” he said, “my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Psalm 132:1).
These “great” and “marvelous” things referred to are the secret purposes of God and His infinite means for accomplishing them. David did not exercise his heart in seeking to understand them. Instead he stilled and quieted his soul in submission and trust toward God.
If we’re to honor God by trusting Him, and if we’re to find peace for ourselves, we must come to the place where we can honestly say, “God, I do not have to understand, I will just trust You.”
One of the more difficult and challenging things in the Christian life is that of trusting God especially in times of adversity. When we are facing a time of uncertainty or when we are in a place of trouble and are searching for the right answer or right response to the situation, and the way seems muddy and we can’t see our way clear; the trusting of God and leaving it all in His hands is not easy. Most of us are wired to “fix things.” We know that if only we knew what to do or if we had the capability to change the things, we would not be in this predicament.
Coupled with the difficulty of trusting that our Lord and Savior loves us and that He is involved in everything that touches our lives is also the struggle of trying to understand why we are experiencing such a trying time. Like Job and his friends we want to understand why life is as it is. We might condemn ourselves by saying that our actions and decisions have brought us to this place and while that may be true to some degree we must also acknowledge that the God who loves us has also allowed us to come to this place.
When we read of the temptation of Jesus, we find that the devil shows up in the wilderness and it is he that is the tempter. What should benefit us is that the Bible says that Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Sometimes God allows us to face adversity and temptation to bring to a confrontation our souls and the devil so that we can overcome and put to rest that part of our past that has been hanging over us like a dark cloud.
In all our futile seeking to know the “why” we often miss the very fact that Paul provides for us in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].”
1 Corinthians 10:13
The first thing God wishes us to know is that we are not alone in our struggles and that we are not the only person who has and is facing this adversity or trial or temptation. Sometimes one of the devices of Satan is to make us feel like that nobody else in the world is as much of a mess and wretch as we are. Truth is that everyone struggles with something and our struggles are no more or no less than any other. It just that it feels like the whole mountain is setting on our shoulders and the weight of the adversity is crushing us beneath its load. Because we cannot see into another heart, we often assume that our burden is greater than that of those around us. Perhaps we project that to others as well for we all attempt to present a front that all is well.
The second thing that God wants us to know is that this trial, struggle ,burden, or temptation is not beyond human resistance. You might respond and say that’s it feels like more than you can bear and that would be true if we just stopped at this point in this verse. It’s the words that follow that gives hope: “but God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability….” Now I must confess there are many times when God trusts my ability beyond what I feel it is. And it is in these times when my only place is to surrender to Him and ask Him to help me trust Him with what I don’t know and what I can’t see. And then I wait for Him to work His plan and purpose in my life, trusting that in the light of eternity, it will turn out for my good. Psalm 30 says that “though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.” So in my adversity, I must trust that this thing will not last forever. At some point, either here or in eternity, joy will come again.
Finally, God wants us to know that either He will “make a way of escape,” that is He will bring us out of the adversity and set a new way before us, a way filled with blessing or that He will give us grace in the adversity. Psalm 23 gives this promise: “surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” If God chooses to delay His deliverance then in the adversity, He gives strength to “endure without yielding.”
What then shall we do with the adversities in our lives. Job discovered that it was futile to spend his life trying to understand the reason why. As a matter of fact he came to the place where he repented of pressing the issue of understanding why things were happening and chose instead to acknowledge that to understand was far beyond his ability. He chose the way of trust, trust in the God he knew.
I think for all of us who are in trying times, that this is our lesson. Perhaps our prayer today ought to be one of asking God to help us trust Him with what we do not understand.
Proverbs 3:5-7 says:
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.
I conclude with the words of the chorus to a song that I literally live by:
Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him
How I’ve proved Him o’re and o’re
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more!
Dr. John Thompson