Vol. 8-48 – 11-26-2023 – Choosing to Trust God
When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose Word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? –Psalm 56:3-4
Years ago, I was introduced to Jerry Bridges, at the Navigator’s Ministry in Colorado Springs. I had read some of his books: The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, and Transforming Grace. I was able to put a live face with the great spiritual insight he offered. He suggested another of his books, Is God Really in Control: Trusting God in a World of Hurt. He said, he was only the writer; the book was God’s idea implanted in his heart, and his experiences of life—and the result of others’ experiences.
Jerry is home with the Lord today, but the observations he presents still register to people who are hurt over events and seasons of their lives. Today’s blog is the result of pulling out of that great book some applicable parts of one of his chapters, the title of our blog today. If you have not read the book you need to. It is still fresh in its life applications.
Jerry Bridges’ first wife died as the result of a malignant tumor. She had had numerous radiation treatments and awaited the results of yet another CAT scan. The doctor was to tell her how successful they were in the treatments. In the days before her doctor appointment, she remarked regarding her struggle; she was turning to Psalm 42:11 frequently. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.
Have you ever struggled in events or seasons with your hope? Have you ever had that deep conversation with your soul?
Eleanor chose not to be disturbed; instead, she chose to put her hope in God. She said her emotions did not change immediately. But they did change. She became calm as she determined to simply trust God.
God is for us. Always. Always with us (Hebrews 13:5). However, we must choose to trust. Recognize His presence. Choose to believe. Choose to rely upon His promises. Eleanor did. Trusting is a matter of the heart. A matter of the soul. So, how do we get there?
First, we need to be willing to believe. If we only trust God in the good times, and not in the times of adversity, we are not complete in our relationship to God. Trusting God is based in faith. What does Paul record that is related to the fruit of the Spirit? Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control (Galatians 5:22). How are you doing with that list? I did not provide it with those little checkboxes.
I can almost hear your response. “I am going to try harder.” It will not work. You will get tied up with your feelings/emotions. It is either you depend on yourself or God. Which is the better choice? Eleanor Bridges chose God for the person she would rather trust. David remarked: I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4). He also wrote our introductory verse. Read it again.
Secondly, we need to know that God is trustworthy. Bridges writes straightforwardly; the whole idea of trusting God is based upon the fact that God is absolutely trustworthy. Therefore, we must be grounded in His truth.
Have you noticed as you read through the Scriptures that God makes a lot of promises? He keeps them. Therefore, we need to lay hold of them. I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:6-7). Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me (Psalm 50:15). It is hard for us to dismiss the truth given in these promises.
Thirdly, there are some pitfalls. You knew that didn’t you? As difficult as it is to trust God in times of adversity, there are other times when it may be even more difficult. The time when things are going “well.” When you are having a mountain-top experience, getting blessed, having those seasons of prosperity, and getting complacent. Remember that God often blesses us so that we can be a blessing to someone else; the blessing was not for us in the first place. And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination (Proverbs 18:10-11).
A mark of Christian maturity is to continually trust the Lord in all things—the good and the seemingly ugly. The little adversities prepare us for what will seem like a disaster. The minor or the major should not lead us differently. The purpose of the chapter in Bridges’ book is to draw us to trust God and to do so continually while we live on this side of heaven.
Jerry Bridges’ wife died; lost her battle with cancer. She still trusted God.
Bridges has some study questions and suggestions at the end of his chapters that are helpful.
- What role do these have in trusting God: Our will, choice, decision?
- What kind of feelings/emotions do the writers of Scripture indicate that are proper toward holy God?
- Why does God deserve your trust?
- Make a list of the responses that honor God, and reflect His love, grace, and mercy toward you.
- When you are able to trust God in all things, is it a result of being in His Word?
Is there anything still missing for you to trust God?
Next week we begin our Advent Series: Seasons of Hope. Joy. Love. Peace And Hope Still. Join with others to glean what God has for us in the coming weeks.