Learning to Trust God

Published in the December 2010 issue of Faithlink, the magazine of Faith Methodist Church

learning to trust God

Is there an area in your life or ministry that you find difficult to trust God? Usually, this difficulty has to do with our past experiences and our present situation.

When we read Luke 1:5-38, we see Zacharias' response to the foretelling of the birth of his son, John. He too was confronted with a situation that required faith and trust.

18 Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years."

20 "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."
Zacharias was not a lukewarm, nominal believer. He and his wife were righteous in the sight of God; they walked blamelessly in all the commandments (v6). In other words, they were obedient servants of God. Zacharias believed in God; and yet there was an area in his life in which he was not able to trust God.

Zacharias and his wife tried hard to conceive a child. We know they prayed to God (v13). After countless attempts, they probably had given up hope by the time the angel Gabriel pronounced the good news of John's impending birth. From Zacharias' perspective, there was no way for it to happen:
  • Elizabeth, his wife was barren.
  • Both of them were already old.
He was struck dumb for his unbelief but eventually he learned to trust God as shown by the subsequent events.
After the birth of the child, Elizabeth went against the accepted practice of naming the child after the father and insisted that the child be named "John" (v59-60). How did Elizabeth know what to name the child since Gabriel appeared only to Zacharias (v8,12-13)? Zacharias confirmed by writing on a tablet that the child's name was John (v63).
Like Zacharias, I found it hard to trust God during one period of my life. When I left full-time Christian ministry in June 1994, our family savings would have lasted about a year or so; I felt very insecure about this. In the three jobs that followed, circumstances forced me to leave each one. In the corporate world, jobs are never secure. I felt more secure when I was in full-time ministry even though I was earning less! Intellectually, I know that my security should rest in the Lord; emotionally, however, it is a roller-coaster ride. I am learning to trust God in this area of my life.

Let's look at another passage ... Mark 8:15-21

15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

16 They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.

17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?

18 "HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember,

19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve."

20 "When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven."

21 And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
In Mark 8:15-21, Jesus used the leaven (in bread) as an object lesson to illustrate the pervasively corrupting teachings of the Pharisees and of Herod but the disciples failed to understand and began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. Jesus' earlier miraculous feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000 ought to have reminded them of Jesus' power; yet the disciples did not seem to have learnt from their past experiences. They had difficulty believing Jesus in all circumstances. In exasperation, Jesus accused them of being blind and deaf with hardened hearts!

Again and again, the disciples failed Jesus ... asking for positions of power (Mark 10:35-37 cf 10:45); failing to keep watch and pray (Mark 14:34-41); and denying Jesus (Mark 14:66-72). In this latter example, why did Peter weep? Because although in his heart of hearts he wanted to follow Jesus and be loyal to Him, he failed Jesus when it counted.

God knows all things; He knows our hearts ... our desire to be committed to Him and our rebellious nature. But we must take the first step to trust Him in each area of our life. Take that step, another step and then the next one; this is the way to grow your faith in God, one step at a time. Remember, nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), not even in areas where you had experienced nothing but failure, disappointments and frustration. Trust Him - it is the only way to be happy in Jesus!
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Phil 1:6



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Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © 2005 by Alan S.L. Wong | Revised Dec 2010