Those were the words of a desperate father, struggling to trust the Lord to heal his epileptic son. He wanted to put his full confidence in God, but wasn’t sure how to do it. If that dilemma seems all-too-familiar to you, here are four things you can do to shore up your trust in God.
If you’re not certain whether you should trust God, do a background check on Him. Start with His references from the Bible. Investigate His work in the lives of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Hannah, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha and Mary, among countless others. Get a sense of His past work habits and reliability. Talk to others who know Him, people you do trust. Find out what He’s done in their lives and how He’s proven Himself to be trustworthy in their eyes.
In Romans 8:28, the apostle Paul writes, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God.” All things, in this context, include circumstances and situations that don’t appear to be good at all at first glance. This is the elusive heart of trust, the belief that even when things seem to be going wrong, God is laying the groundwork to bring about something good from them. That doesn’t mean we should be glad when something bad happens; it just means we recognize that nothing is so bad that God cannot bring good from it.
Every time God answers a prayer—in your life or in the life of someone you know—write it down. Every time He fulfills a promise in His Word, write it down. Every time He brings about something good in your life, write it down. Don’t rely on memory. Create a body of written evidence. Give yourself something to look back on, convincing proof for your future self that God can and should be trusted. (Check out 7 journaling prompts for help you mediate on biblical wisdom.)
“You shall be holy; for I am holy.” Those were God’s instructions to His people in Leviticus 11:44 (later referenced by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 1:16). The perfect logic behind the instructions is that those who claim to follow the Lord should reflect His qualities. Holiness is one of those qualities.
Another is trustworthiness. God might just as well have said, “You shall be trustworthy; for I am trustworthy.”
The best way to convince people that God is trustworthy is to demonstrate that you are trustworthy. In your interactions with others, go to great lengths to be a person of your word:
• a person who can be depended on to do what you say you’re going to do
• a person who keeps confidences
• a person who places the highest priority on telling the truth.
Let people see God’s trustworthiness through you.
ENCOUNTER THE BIBLE ALONGSIDE THE GREAT VOICES OF THE CHURCH, PAST AND PRESENT
Many things have changed over the past 2,000 years. The good news of Jesus Christ isn’t one of them.
It seems so easy in the Bible. People put their trust in God, and He rewards them by doing something miraculous in their lives. Why, then, is it sometimes so difficult for us to put our full trust in God?
We put our trust in lesser things every day, including weather forecasts and news sources—not to mention the online retailers and social media sites that promise to safeguard our personal information. So why can’t we extend the same trust to God? Here are four possible explanations.
When we suffer tragedy, or even a string of misfortunes, we face a very real temptation to place the blame at God’s feet. We may reckon that if He’s all-powerful, He could have intervened. The fact that He didn’t may cause us to question His reliability. Seeing His work in other people’s lives can exacerbate the problem. We may start to feel as though we’ve either been “targeted” or ignored by God. Trust is difficult for people who feel as though they’ve been burned before.
Picture a little girl with floaties on each arm timidly making her way to the edge of a swimming pool. Her father stands chest-deep in the water below. His arms are outstretched. “Jump,” he urges her. “I’ll catch you.”
The girl hesitates. The pool deck is familiar and safe. The water isn’t. Her thought process is clouded by “what ifs.”
• What if I slip?
• What if the one who’s supposed to catch me isn’t strong enough or quick enough?
• What if he tricks me and lets me go under?
In order to demonstrate trust, she has to ignore the what-ifs and leave her comfort zone.
Sound familiar? Trusting God almost always involves a leap of faith away from what we know and where we’re comfortable. The fact that the leap inevitably lands us in a better place doesn’t make it any easier.
To truly trust God is to acknowledge that His way is best and that His Word is the ultimate authority in our lives. But acknowledgement is only the beginning. Trusting God impacts the way live, the way we think, the priorities we establish and just about every other aspect of our lives.
Trusting God means that we can’t decide to overrule His Word when it comes to, say, the way we treat enemies or the choices we make. In order to trust Him, we must do what He says and ignore our own instincts and desires. Giving up that kind of control doesn’t come easily to most people.
Maintaining a solid, unshakable trust in God is difficult—so difficult, in fact, that we can’t do it without God’s help. The father of the epileptic boy who begged Jesus to heal his son understood that. When Jesus told him “all things are possible to him who believes,” the man cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (see Mark 9:23-24).
God doesn’t take offense at our bouts of unbelief. He stands ready to strengthen our trust in Him whenever we need Him to.
For further reading, check out 66 Reasons to Trust God.
Many great Christian thinkers, past and present, have talked about the struggles of trusting God. Now you are explore what many of them say with the in-text commentary of the Ancient-Modern Bible. One Faith. Handed Down. For All The Saints.