A man is releasing the rope and jumping into the water

We Should Trust God—But for What?

Written by Cassie Watson, Australia


Early on in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring[1], Frodo is preparing to leave the Shire with the hidden Ring. He tells his friends he’s moving and settling in a nearby area. But once he’s out of Hobbiton, Frodo discovers that his friends had figured out his dangerous errand and intend to come along with him.

When the extent of their secret plotting is revealed, Frodo exclaims that he cannot trust anyone. Merry replies:

You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin—to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours—closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. . . We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid—but we are coming with you. . .

You cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone. So too with God.

Yet I have often trusted Him for the wrong thing. I’m single and nearing 30, and I’ve often prayed God would give me a husband so I can have the life of marriage and motherhood I’ve long imagined. But amid the pain of this seemingly unanswered prayer, God has given me deep friendships, ministries and a career to pour myself into, and a greater dependence upon Jesus in times of loneliness.

I cannot trust God to answer every prayer exactly how I want them answered. I cannot trust Him to orchestrate my life so there is no suffering, toil, or disappointment. I cannot trust Him to stick to the timeline I had planned for my life. I cannot trust God to give me everything I want.

But like Frodo, can trust my Friend to always act according to His love for me—His “steadfast love [that] shall not depart” (Isaiah 54:10).

I can trust Him to hear every one of my prayers and answer them according to His wisdom. I can trust Him to draw me closer through suffering and give me more joy there than I would have in ease. I can trust Him to be with me through it all, never leaving me or forsaking me (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Trust isn’t about the certainty of a particular outcome; it doesn’t rise or fall based on whether God answers our longings in just the way we imagine. Trust is about resting in our knowledge of who God is, based on what His Word tells us.

Intentional remembrance is key to growing in our trust of the Lord over time. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to how He is using all your circumstances, whether they’re what you wanted or not, to bring you nearer to Him.

Many years ago, I went through one of the hardest periods of my life. Because I believe what God has told us in His Word about sexuality, I lost several of my best friends in a very short time. It was one of my greatest fears come true. For week and even months afterward, I’d wake up every day with a deep ache in my heart.

Looking back, I see how God used that pain for immense good. He brought me away from influences that were hampering my devotion to Him. He drew me closer to himself, as I couldn’t deal with the pain on my own. He gave me greater boldness for Him—for if I could survive losing my best friends, I could deal with other opposition and ridicule.

Sometimes, God’s plan feels like downright insanity. How could this possibly be for our good? But with time we will see, over and over, His wisdom surpassing ours. And we will keep returning to this bedrock.

Ask the Spirit to give you the relief that comes from trusting God, to keep pressing these truths into your mind and soul.

In days of fear and peril, take heart because of the faithfulness of God. Frodo finds such strength in his faithful friends:

“You are a set of deceitful scoundrels!” he said, turning to the others. “But bless you!” he laughed, getting up and waving his arms.

“If the danger were not so dark, I should dance for joy. Even so, I cannot help feeling happy; happier than I have felt for a long time.”

Frodo’s journey had not become less perilous. He was still walking into despair and constant danger. But his heart is cheered by the loyalty of his friends. For now, it’s enough that he’s not taking this road alone.

Our joy is far greater than Frodo’s because of the One who walks beside us. He is a friend who sticks closer than a hobbit. And rather than joining us on a desperate—almost hopeless—quest, God is the sovereign ruler over all things. Nothing comes to pass that He cannot and will not weave for our good.

What perilous journey are you facing today?

Maybe, like me, you’re praying for a spouse and still waiting on God to answer. Maybe you’re praying for healing or salvation for a loved one. Whatever pain or anxiety lies in your path, you might feel like God has abandoned you because He’s not responding in the way you expect.

Don’t stop looking to Him. Hold fast to His promise that He’s a good Father who will not give a serpent when His child asks for a fish (Luke 11:11). Trust in His perfect character.

[1] J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (HarperCollins, London, 2012 [orig. 1966]).

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