Maybe you’re here because you feel like you just cannot trust God anymore. Or perhaps you want to understand what it means to trust Him. Maybe you are struggling to believe in Him at all.
Wherever you are in your story, this is for you.
Every single one of us is, has, or will struggle deeply with their faith and trust in God. For some of us, that struggle is rooted in serious grief, heartache, and disappointment. For some, it is a long and gradual process until one day, we just cannot find it in ourselves to believe and trust in Him. And in others, it is a lifelong, daily struggle to trust and obey.
Today, I want to talk about what it means to trust God and why we can hold on to His promises and goodness, even when the circumstances of our lives are unbearable or we find ourselves drifting away.
Faith and Trust
What is trust in God? Is it like faith?
Let’s start with faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV). Faith is essentially a belief in God and in His Word. Faith is being assured of in our hearts and minds that God is genuine, and that His promises are true. And it is the prerequisite to trust. Without faith, there is no trust.
So, what is trust, then?
Trust is faith in action. It is walking in obedience to God, believing that His promises are true and His ways are good and beneficial to those who follow them.
It seems simple enough, right?
Believe and act.
And yet, we find it so very difficult to trust Him fully.
Why do we find it hard to trust God?
There are a myriad of reasons why we so often find it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to trust Him.
Sometimes life has come with difficult circumstances, and in the midst of them, it seems as if God is silent. That perhaps He doesn’t really care. It’s hard to trust God when we see our loved ones suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
I know it’s hard if we lose our jobs and find ourselves in jeopardy of losing everything else. It’s difficult to trust God when we find everything in our lives crumbling to pieces. It’s hard to believe and trust in Him when we see so much evil and brokenness everywhere we look.
Sometimes, the problem is that people have failed us. And the lack of trust we have toward everyone is also applied to our perception of God.
Other times, the problem is that we expected God to move in a particular situation, to act in certain ways. And when He did not do as we believed He would, our ability to trust in Him, even to believe in Him was shattered.
How can we come back to faith and trust in the Lord when we feel as if there is no reason to do so?
Let’s go back to the basics and remember anew Who we are talking about.
Who is God and why can we trust Him?
God is sovereign.
2 Chronicles 20:6 says, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” We are not talking about some genie in a lamp who answers to every whim and desire we have. God is sovereign over all things, and He rules over all things with great power and capability. Nothing happens without His knowledge.
We can trust Him because He is in control of all things. And even when bad things happen, and we cannot see what He is doing, He is there working all things according to His good purposes.
God is faithful to His promises and His people.
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). God is not the sort of being to leave us to fend for ourselves. Often, He is fighting for us, even when we cannot see what He is doing. Everything He does is out of us steadfast and faithful character.
We can trust Him because He will never leave us on our own. Unlike finite and sinful humans, He is completely faithful to His Word.
God is loving.
He has demonstrated that love to us by sending His only Son to dwell with us, to teach us how to follow Him, and to sacrifice His life for us. Isaiah 12:2 says, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Everything He does is out of His unconditional love for His people and His desire for all to know Him.
We can trust Him because of His unfailing love toward us.
God is full of grace and mercy.
Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” We can rest in the knowledge that no matter what we do or how far we wander, He is ready and waiting to forgive us and restore us.
We can trust God because He has never given up on us, and is always ready to welcome us back. Like the ever perfect Father, His grace and mercy are unending.
God’s character does not change.
He is not a fallible human, prone to changing his mind with every season or whim. Numbers 23:19 tells us, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (ESV).
We can trust Him because He does not change. His character remains the same forever. We can be assured that no matter how crazy the world gets, our Creator will never let us down. He is true to Himself, and we can stand secure in His promises.
Now, we have looked at the relationship between faith and trust, looked at the reasons why we find it hard to trust God, and reminded ourselves who God is and why we can trust Him. But, the question remains: how do we go about trusting God? What does it look like to trust Him? And what are some practical steps to trusting Him?
How to trust God
As I mentioned before, trust is essentially faith in action. Trust must ultimately be built on a solid foundation of faith. So, the very first thing we must do is cultivate a sound faith.
How do we go about ensuring that our faith is sound?
We do this by examining our beliefs about God and carefully discerning if they line up with what He has revealed to us about Himself in His Word. It is through spending time studying the Bible that we come to know who God is, what His character is like, and how He works in His creation and among His people to accomplish His purposes.
Just like we come to trust the people in our lives by getting to know them well and observing their character and attitudes over time, so we come to trust God by learning about Him and observing His works.
In addition, prayer is an important component of this because to know God, we must not simply read His word, but also speak to Him. A solid relationship does not work without communication between both parties, and the same thing applies to our relationship with God.
We also can learn from the study of other believers, such as through Bible study and theology books or articles. Many brothers and sisters of the faith have gone before us and have left behind resources to encourage and challenge us to press on in our faith in Christ.
What does it look like to trust Him?
Trust, as an outworking of our faith, is obedience to God and an adherence to His Word, no matter how difficult that may be. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
When we allow Him to guide our steps, and we choose to walk in obedience to His Word, acknowledging Him in everything we do, He leads us in the direction in which He has purposed us to go. That is trust – believing in His promises and stepping out in obedience to walk in His ways no matter that the cost.
It is to stand up against injustice, even when no one else will, because God’s Word tells us that our calling as His people is to pursue justice.
Trust in Him is to forgive someone who has wronged you horribly because God has called you to love mercy and to forgive them in the same way He forgave you.
Trusting God is to place the troubling circumstances you are facing in His hands, knowing that He is capable of handling it incredible ways that you cannot.
It is to lay your fears and worries aside and firmly set your mind on who He is and what His Word promises.
Trust in God is bold and audacious. It is uncompromising. And it pursues the things of God without worrying about the opinions or actions of others. It presses through even the darkest of valleys because it is grounded in the belief that He is with us even in the valley of the shadow of death.
Now, we know how to make sure our faith is well-grounded to provide a foundation for trust, and we have looked at what it looks like to trust God. So, let’s turn toward the practical side.
How can we develop trust in God?
To illustrate this point, I want for us to refresh our memory about a particular situation in which Jesus healed a boy.
In Mark 9:14-29, Jesus along with Peter, James and John, had come down from the mountain after the Transfiguration only to find the other disciples in the middle of a crowd where an argument was transpiring. Jesus asked what was going on, and a man spoke up and said that he had brought his son to Jesus to be healed from the work of an evil spirit that had possessed him since childhood. The father stated, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus responded by saying that anything is possible for someone who believes. At which, the father said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Why do I mention this story?
Just as that father so timidly approached Jesus, even with great doubts in his mind, and asked Him to help his unbelief, so we can go to God and ask Him to help us believe and trust in Him.
What you do with the knowledge of God’s character and these steps to trusting Him is up to you. Are you ready to step out in faith and trust Him? Will you spend the time necessary to get to know Him in a genuine way? Are you going to be bold and persistent? Will you ask Him to help you trust Him?
I want to close with the following verse as a final word of encouragement: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4). He is the Everlasting One, the Sovereign Lord over all, and He alone is infinitely worthy of your faith and obedience.
Place your faith in Him, believe in His promises, and walk in obedience to His ways, trusting that He will fulfill His good and perfect purposes in your life.