Today, as I write this article, I sit on the verge of the unknown.
It’s my senior year of high school. College is just around the corner. Plans are shifting. The world is changing. I know certain things the Lord has called me to, but besides that, I don’t know what’s going to happen.
All I know is what God’s laid out right in front of me.
Today is a special day, because I’ll finally find out for sure if I’ll be able to return to New York City on my church’s annual youth mission trip. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for months.
Ever since last year when I wasn’t able to go because of limited availability, it’s been a huge desire of mine to return to the city with my closest friends and serve alongside them in bringing God’s truth to the many lost and suffering people there.
And as I sit and wonder how my fate has been decided, a battle rages inside me — between the temptation for anxiety and acceptance of the assurance of Christ. It’s today that I need to decide to trust God or not. To either believe that He knows what’s best for me, even if it’s not what I had in mind, or to disbelieve. To accept that He knows the plans He has for me, or to reject.
I have to decide if I’m going to have faith…or not have faith.
You see, over time I’ve learned that true faith isn’t just believing something you have no reason to believe in. True faith isn’t trusting that what you want God to do, is going to happen. True faith is not a feeling you get or a superstitious way of life.
True faith is a choice.
It’s a decision to trust God’s truth, even when it’s really hard to do.
My example might not seem like much. After all, in light of what’s going on in the world around us, whether I go on this trip or not isn’t really that significant. You have so many other people stepping out in faith in big ways for the kingdom of God.
You had Moses stepping out and placing his staff in the Red Sea. You had Mary, trusting God even when she would face ridicule, shame, and scorn for the baby God would put inside her. You had Jim Elliot, martyred by an unreached people group for stepping out in boldness for the sake of the gospel. You had George Muller, trusting God to provide for literally all his needs as he served Him. The list goes on.
As we look at lists like these — at people like this, we think, “If only I could be like them.” We say, “If only I could make such a difference.”
But the truth is, we can be like them. We can make a difference. But it has to start small.
God’s not going to let us live comfortable lives and then just suddenly, one day, throw us into the most crazy, front-lines, faith-testing circumstance imaginable.
No, God wants to use us right where we are in the small things, so when the time comes, we’ll be ready in the big things.
It starts with those little, everyday, seemingly insignificant acts of faith. It starts with you and me trusting God even when we don’t feel like it. It starts with you and me living in obedience to His word, even when it doesn’t feel like it makes sense.
It starts with stepping out in boldness to do what He has commanded us to do. It starts with doing small hard things… so when we’re finally ready, God can use us in the biggest, most groundbreaking, mind-blowing hard things ever imaginable.
But it starts with the little acts of faith, even when circumstances are rough or uncertain. It starts with you and me.
But from there, one question remains: are we ready to step out in faith?
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Trent, this was a God-send for me today! Thank you for your encouraging words!
Hey Kateyln, super glad this encouraged you! I think you’ll really like the follow up article to this coming out March 17th.
I’m excited to see it!
Well written, Trent! I love how you mentioned George Muller. I read a biography on him this year and was blown away by his great faith, especially how he was willing to simply take care of orphans while his friend Hudson Taylor went out to unreached people with the gospel, which was his original dream. His life definitely was one full of trusting God.
Yeah! George was The Bomb .com when it came to faith.
This. This is really good. It’s almost humorous how much God has been trying to get my attention about this lately… I guess He thinks I’m stubborn or something 😉 Thank you for writing this article, Trent. I’m a senior too, so it hit pretty close to home.
God does have a sense of humor. Haha. I have stories about God arranging things in my life so coincidentally that it almost feels hysterical.
This was fantastic! Jim Elliot is my hero. Love Him and his story. Thank you for this 🙂
Yeah, Jim Elliot was very bold in not only trusting God emotionally, but actually doing something about it.
Nice article, Trent! I read a fantastic book last night called, “The Shack” by William P. Young (highly recommend it). While there is a ton of controversy surrounding the theology presented in this book, there were some quotes that really grabbed me specifically speaking to the topic of trust. Here is my favorite: “You cannot produce trust just like you cannot ‘do’ humility. It either is or is not. Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved. Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me.”
As the Theology Nerd in Residence here at the Reb (jk I totally just made that up ;D) I’m obligated to point out that The Shack (both the book and the movie that came out very recently) teaches several blatant heresies that have condemned by the church for millennia. One such heresy is modalism, the belief that God reveals Himself in various forms (modes), which is in direct contrast to the Trinitarian view of God as described in the Bible. Modalism has been condemned as heresy by prominent church leaders since the 200’s AD (check out this link if you wanna know more https://www.theopedia.com/modalism).
Another flagrant heresy in the film is portraying God as female, which obviously contradicts how the Bible describes God.
Of course, I’m sure you know I don’t say this to attack you personally. =D Also, I know that you acknowledged that the theology of the book was controversial. However, an author that denies one of the most basic tenets of the Christian faith cannot be trusted in other matters relating to faith, either. =)
Hey Josh. Thanks for the response! I appreciate your insight. 🙂 I don’t think this is a book to hang your theological hat on, that’s for sure! Someone actually shared a link with me today on another platform with Randy Alcorn’s thoughts on the book. You can access that here: http://www.epm.org/resources/2012/Sep/26/reflections-shack/. I found his approach to be balanced, rooted in the word, and thought-provoking.
Here’s the deal, though, Josh. I think that we need to test all things with scripture, which is why I love Randy Alcorn’s response so much. The book, however, did not draw me in on its theology. Rather, it drew me in on the premise of dealing with “the problem of pain.” Currently, that is something I am struggling through because of genuine pain, hurt, and sorrow in my own life. Essentially, I am dealing with “the problem of pain” on a daily basis (as did the main character and the author).
For me, that is what this book was about. Dealing with pain and how to seek God through the pain. Trusting God. Forgiving others. Resting in the Truth and finding freedom in a relationship with Jesus. Interestingly, Randy Alcorn said that this book did not touch his soul, as many (including myself) have claimed for it too. That’s fine. God used this book to speak into what he and I are dealing with right now in our relationship: pain and trust.
My only other question would be, have you read the book? Even for those who are skeptical of it, I think it is a great read. The story itself is fantastic, and when we are rooted in scripture, reading things we disagree with is not dangerous, but an opportunity to learn how to defend our faith. And for the record, the narrative itself explains some of the things that are commonly criticized (like God being portrayed as female).
Thanks for the response =)
Alcorn’s article is very well thought out and I agree with what he says for the most part.
As for the rest of your comment, please excuse a very nerdy math analogy =P If a mathematician writes a treatise on advanced integration techniques but then it’s revealed that he doesn’t how to do basic arithmetic, would you trust that the treatise he wrote is accurate?
This author clearly has a fundamental misunderstanding of the very nature of God (essentially the basic arithmetic of Christianity). Is it smart to trust him on the very complex topic of dealing with pain and loss? I for one don’t think so, and therefore I won’t be reading the book or watching the movie. =)
I think we can agree to disagree here. =) I appreciate the discussion though!
Haha. Interesting conversation here. I see Josh couldn’t resist. 🙂
And that quote is so true: if we don’t know Christ or the extent of His love, how can we trust him? We can’t!
Lol, yes, we had an interesting convo. We’re not quite in agreement, but that’s fine. I’m always up for a discussion!
An yes, that quote struck me hard. 🙂
Really encouraged by this Trent, thanks for writing. Continually I find myself doubting where God is taking me in my relationship with him. God has been telling me over and over to not doubt, but guess what? I do. My questions vary from “Why am I not super on fire for God right now?” to “How is this doing great things for my Father?”. I always need these little reassurances to tell me that I’m doing okay. I find over and over again that it takes faith to push away the doubt that seems so comfortable.
Yeah. So often in the moment we feel like anxiety is easier then trusting, when really it just drains us emotionally.
This encouraged me a lot today. Thank you so much, Trent!
Ether you fully Trust God or ye don’t. It can be hard and I know that for sure……..
Thank you for this Trent! This was perfect for me right now 🙂
Choosing to trust God right here in this moment is so easy and so hard at the same time.
Wow, Trent! Great article! Thank you!