Written by Jesse Schmidt, Canada
“Trust in the Lord.” You’ve probably heard this phrase countless times, especially when you’re going through challenges or uncertainties, or facing momentous situations or decisions in life. So why does the easiest thing to say seem like the most difficult thing to do?
After all, it’s not as though we don’t exercise trust in our day-to-day living. Whenever we travel from one place to another, we are placing our trust in the person who’s in the driver’s seat. We trust that they will get us to our destination safely, even though we know they are imperfect beings and cannot be certain about how the journey will end.
Yet, when it comes to Jesus—who is all-perfect and knows all things—we struggle to let Him take control of our lives when we encounter a rough patch or a fork in the road. Why the discrepancy?
Can I encourage you to consider two simple truths which I believe will help answer your question of how do you trust God?
Trusting God comes from knowing Him.
Going back to the example of travelling, we trust our parents or say, our friend’s parents, when they drive us around; we believe that they are in control of the car, and will not get into an accident. Why do we trust them? Well, we know who they are and we have a personal relationship with them. That gives us the assurance that they care for us and will not allow us to be hurt. This relationship forms the basis of our trust in them.
But what about the times when we trust strangers driving the bus, taxi, or train to take us from point A to B? In such cases, we trust them because of their track records or recommendations from others. That gives us enough knowledge about them to trust that they are reliable.
So what hinders our trust in God and how do we learn to develop trust in Him? Perhaps one truth that might be hard for us to grasp is that God allows both good and bad things to happen in our lives (Lamentations 3:38). If we know Him better, however, we will be able to see that this is how He works, and that He will still carry us through the bad times.
Indeed, the Bible gives us many examples of people who underwent trials and difficulties even though they were godly and faithful. Job, for instance, suffered greatly from poverty, disease, and the loss of his entire family. He wrestled with his understanding of God and his suffering, yet he never stopped trusting in God (Job 13:15), and eventually, was rewarded with more than he could ever imagine.
I wrestled with this truth too when I was working as an intern that required me to work long 12-hour days—sometimes even longer—as the project I was involved in wasn’t going well. Physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the day, I struggled to read the Bible and pray—which made me wonder why God placed me in this situation.
But it was then that God spoke to me through a sermon, where He reminded me of His sovereignty and constant goodness, even when life seemed to be going downhill for me. As I mediated on this truth the following week, God gave me peace and taught me to trust wholly in Him. By the grace of God, my work hours decreased over time and I was able to resume my Bible reading and prayer routine.
Our trust in the Lord grows as we know Him more and more intimately.
2. Developing trust in God comes from acknowledging that we don’t know everything.
When we are travelling from one place to another, we may sometimes not know how to get there, but we just trust that the driver of the car or the bus will get us to our destination safely. Similarly, there may be a lot of things that we don’t understand in our life journey. We may not know why certain things happen the way they do, nor what are the choices we should take in a given situation.
That’s when we need to learn that trusting the Lord comes down to acknowledging that we do not have all the answers. We need to trust Him and submit our ways to Him, even when it does not make sense to us.
The Bible again gives many good examples. God instructed Joshua, for instance, to march around the well-fortified city of Jericho a number of times so that it would fall into his hands (Joshua 6:1-10). Logically, that would not have made a whole lot of sense. Shouldn’t he have made elaborate plans to attack it, or at least build a battering ram to knock the walls down?
Joshua, however, trusted God and made the choice to obey His commands—and Jericho fell, exactly as God said it would.
Even Solomon, who was considered the wisest man to have ever lived, said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Once, I found myself in a situation that required me to apply this verse. I was in the midst of my mid-term examination and was deciding whether to study on the Sabbath. Logically, having an extra day of study made sense, but I also recalled that Jesus wanted us to seek His kingdom first. As a result, I decided to trust that God would take care of my needs and not pick up my books on the Sabbath. By God’s grace, my results turned out fine.
Our trust in the Lord grows as we realize that His ways are higher than ours and we obey His instructions even when it doesn’t seem “logical”.
So how can we apply these two truths? Here’s what we can do:
- Spend time with God and people who know Him well. Read the Bible, pray, meet other Christians and get connected with a church that will help us grow in our relationship with Jesus.
- Acknowledge that we are limited in our understanding, and obey His commands even when it does not make a lot of sense.
Will you trust Jesus with your life?