Updated: Oct 21, 2022
Do you ever have trouble trusting God in certain situations? Maybe your faith is strong in one area but not in another. Or maybe you feel trapped and can’t see a way out. Or maybe you just haven’t learned to trust anyone, so trusting an invisible entity seems very irrational. We all struggle with this to some degree.
Why don’t we trust?
There are so many levels of trust. As humans, depending on our upbringing, we have more or less issues with trust. Maybe you were brought up in an unloving environment with absent parents and left to fend for yourself. Maybe you had an less than perfect earthly father and tend to fixate on and compare him to the elements of God that the Bible promises. You can't fathom a God as described because all you see is your father come short, thus making you question God's love, faithfulness, provision, and truth. And today’s truth is so confusing with no absolutes, how can you trust a God that seems to change character with each person who opens his/her mouth? Is He gentle as a Lamb or raging like a roaring Lion? Sometimes we don’t trust Him because we don’t like Him, or we didn’t get a prayer answered that we wanted that might even have been dire. Where was He when I cried out to Him? Why didn’t He give me the desire of my heart (flesh)? How could He be so loving when there are so many unloved people in the world? Why would I trust a God that I cannot see?
Those are all good questions which are definitely based on our limited vision.
But God is not human with limitation of time and space and feelings.
But God is not a genie that answers the desires of our heart, when as His children He knows it is not the thing we need or is best for us.
But God does not answer to you. You are not the center of the universe to which all things bow and God is not. He is not a speck of dust or a mist of air. The fact that God even cares at all when he is running the entire universe is actually pretty amazing.
But despite that, God still cares. He still listens for your heart and He knows when you ask Him for things selfishly and when you ask Him for things that bless His people. (James 4:2-3) He knows the plans He has for you and the reasons you have to endure hard things. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) The Bible tells us hardships develop endurance, character, and faith. (Romans 5:3-5) Even Jesus had to go through some very hard things for good things to come.
So, how do we learn to trust Him more? How?
Several ways come to mind. First, we learn through other people's testimonies—there are so many accounts in the Bible of God’s faithfulness. He does what He promises even if it is not in the way we recognize at first. For some people, the Bible is too remote, vague, intangible, fairy-tale-like, and that leaves them still wondering. If that is you, then find someone who is actively living out their faith right here, right now, in today’s world and time. Ask them for their testimony. Let them share with you all the ways they have seen God at work in their lives. Let them be a living testimony of God’s provision, fruits, love, and faithfulness.
If you are a believer, you probably have many times where God has been faithful to you. In the Bible, God instructs his followers to make pillars in places where he was faithful so they wouldn’t forget and they can tell their children and grandchildren. David often writes about God’s faithfulness in Psalms. When he is in trouble and doubting, he calls up accounts of God's past faithfulness and that brings him peace and centers his thoughts on what God can and has done. Some people keep a journal of answered prayers. In the movie, War Room, the older lady even hung these accounts on her wall as a reminder of His faithfulness.
Oddly, another way to increase our trust is to actually step out in faith. This is a hard one because using faith to increase faith may not seem logical. But the illustration God shows me is of getting into a swimming pool...
When we are unsure of whether we want to get into the water, we often dip our toes in to feel out the temperature. And we make a decision based on the little taste of the water. We want the full on fun of swimming, and, in our heads, we know once we get in, we would have a really good time, but...if the toe says no...we often turn around and just watch from the sidelines. We might even say, “good for them” when we see others having fun, “but it must not be for me.” Then we watch longingly from the side. We might even give in a little and decide to wade in the water or dangle our legs in the pool...like we are part of the fun...but it is not quite the same. Usually if we slowly go in, by the time we get to where the cold water hits our bellies, we decide we are out for good and we go back to dangling our feet or sitting on the lounge chairs.
The ones who have the best time from the start are the ones to dive in all the way, all at once, and they just trust God. They might exclaim, “Wow that is cold!” but they get used to it quickly and they do not even think about the water after a while because once fully immersed, do not even feel the temperature. In fact, sometimes they don't even want to get out of the water because it feels better in the water than outside the water. By jumping in, they get the full benefits of being in the water.
This is how our relationship with God is…we can sit on the sidelines, putting out testers, and worrying, waiting for Him to fail, prove himself wrong, or show ANY evidence of Him NOT doing what WE want...at these first signs, we run the other way, scared, and unsure. But sometimes we need to jump in...and when we do, He meets us right where we are.
Where are you right now? Sitting in a lounge chair, dipping in your toe, dangling your feet from the edge, or fully immersed in your faith?
Finally, Jesus tells us a story in the Bible of a man who needed more faith. In Mark 9:14-29, there is a man who has a sick child who needs is mute, convulsing, and foaming at the mouth. The man brings the child to Jesus and says to Him, "...But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” I love Jesus' response. "If you can?!" (Ok I added the ?! but you get the picture. Really?! IF?!) He continues, "All things are possible for one who believes.” The exhausted father, realizes what he said and corrects himself by saying, "I believe; help my unbelief!” He right there realizes that his faith and trust in Jesus is limited and he ASKS FOR FAITH! Sister, when you catch yourself needing to trust God more, just ask. God is the granter and perfecter of faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Heavenly Father, as the man in the Bible who needed more faith, I cry out to you, “Lord, I believe...help my unbelief!” You are the one who can increase my faith to trust you more. Help me in all the ways I struggle with unbelief and all the ways I need you in my life. Help me to surrender my own passions, hurts, and experiences to realize that you are not human and have what is best for me, waiting for me if I just surrender and dive into those areas of faith that I struggle with. Help me to trust you. Show me your ways. Every day, morning by morning, let your mercies shine upon me so that I might have hope in you and give myself to you completely in every aspect of my life. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for all the ways you have saved me that I may not even have realized it was you. Thank you for loving me too much to let me perish, for giving me new life, new hope, and new way to live life. Help to to live it in the fullness of You. In Jesus’ Powerful yet Gentle and very Faithful name, Amen.
Written by Katina Wilkins, Life Coach November 2021