Published on February 17th, 2018 | by Cricket Hoppmann
What Does It Mean To Trust God?
“Mom, about my birthday…” I start.
“No need to worry!” she replies. “Your father and I have something special in mind.”
“Um…” I think back to my last surprise birthday the two of them planned. It involved a GPS which thought we were in the middle of Afghanistan (no kidding) and climbing 45 degree inclines in 90 degree weather (in “autumn”).
She must sense my concern, because her expression becomes serious. “Trust me,” she says. “You’ll like it.”
Trust…What is trust? It’s knowing that someone will act in your best interest, despite your feelings.
Do I trust my mom? Yes. But people can make mistakes no matter how good their intentions are.
However, there is someone you can trust explicitly. Not only does he love you unconditionally, but he has the power to follow through on that love.
Do you trust God?
I don’t mean the big kind of trust, salvation. I mean little trust, every day trust. Do you hand God the things that are important to you and say, “Not my will, but yours”?
Trust is not a lack of care.
You’re standing on the edge of a tree house, peering down at your dad. If you jump, will he catch you?
If you don’t care whether or not you break a leg, it’s easy to jump. But if you don’t care if you break your leg, then you don’t care if your dad catches you—and that’s not trust.
But what if you have a genuine eternal perspective? You know that a broken leg or a failed test won’t end your life; you know you are going to heaven. You have “set your mind on what is above, not on what is on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). If you truly feel this way, you are blessed.
However, when I try to comfort myself with these thoughts, I am fooling myself. I still care, but in trying not to care, I rob myself of an opportunity to trust God. And God knows my heart.
Sometimes, I think God lets us fall and break that leg or fail that test so that we can realize that, yes indeed, we cared about that. And once we recognize what we consider important, we can turn to him and truly trust him with whatever it is. As 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your care on him, because he cares about you.”
Trust is knowing that we are loved and that God has the power to act in that love.
Back to the tree house analogy. Why do you trust your dad to catch you if you jump? Because you know that he doesn’t want to see you hurt. He wants to catch you—because he loves you.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
But no matter how much your dad wants to catch you, he also has to be able to catch you. This is where humans fall short, because friends and family often don’t have the power to act in that love. God does.
“Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isaiah 46:10)
Trust is knowing that God has a purpose for the pain.
If God loves us and has the power to act in that love, why does he let us get hurt? In other words, why is there evil?
There are many reasons—in fact, there’s an entire subsection of theology devoted to answering that question, called theodicy—but those reasons often sound flat when compared to whatever suffering we, or someone else, might be going through. That is when we have a choice. Do we choose to believe that God is acting in our best interests, even when everything we see and feel is telling us otherwise?
“You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” (Psalm 66:12)
Those who choose to trust God are given an assurance.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
We’re not told that the heat will avoid us, or that drought will pass over us. We’re told that we will remain green in the midst of the drought. We will be green because we have the fount of living water (John 4:14), Christ Jesus our Lord.