Life is difficult and we all face adversity. Cancer and physical illness are an obvious source of suffering. We might face the heartache of a difficult marriage, a lost job, or rebellious teenager. Then we watch the news and see grief, heartache and pain on a massive scale. When we see massive crises every day on the news are we tempted to ask where God is and if He cares?
Even the little frustrations of the day can cause us to doubt God.
We know God wants us to be obedient to Him and trust Him. But if God is in control, we ask then “Why does He allow these bad things to happen?” We all experience pain and adversity in all kinds of ways in our lives. Job 5:7 confirms by saying, “Man is born to adversity as surely as sparks fly upward.” We are fully aware that the trials, and emotional pain that follows, come to us in many forms. Some trials are sudden, traumatic, and devastating. Some are chronically persistent wearing us down over time. If that is not enough there are the daily anxiety producing events of the day, which grab our attention and steal our peace of mind. This leaves us wondering if we can truly trust God.
As a counselor I have spent a good deal of time encouraging people to pursue a walk of obedient faith. I have discovered for a lot of people, for varying reasons, that it is easier for them to obey God rather than trust Him. Jerry Bridges says in his study Trusting God, “The moral will of God given to us in the Bible is rational and reasonable. The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable.” We recognize that God’s laws are designed to be good for us, even when we don’t want to be obedient. The adversity of daily life can seem to be awful and grim, full of calamity, and sometimes just plain tragic. Obeying God has well defined boundaries revealed to us in God’s Word. Trusting God is worked out in a world of the unknown without boundaries. We dislike all things that are uncertain and without defined boundaries.
Trusting God and obeying Him are equally important to God. When we are disobedient we refuse to submit to His authority and despise His holiness. When we don’t trust God we question if He is good and in control.
Scripture teaches us three essential truths that we must believe about God. That He is all powerful and completely in control. That He is infinite in wisdom and loves us with a perfecting love. God in His love is always doing what is best for us. Because God is wise, He always knows what is in our best interest; and He has the power to make it all happen.
We can, at times, be offended that the Bible says we are to trust God and know that He is good in the midst of our adversity. Can we actually be comforted that in the midst of hard stuff God wisely has it all under control and with His loving wisdom will work it all for our good and His glory? Isaiah 38:17 says, “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.”
Do you believe God is dependable in times of adversity? Do you have confidence God is with you in tough times even when you don’t see any evidence of His presence? It is not easy to trust God in the midst of pain, we want the pain relieved as quickly as possible.
It can be a hard truth to receive, and seemingly beyond our understanding, that God is exercising His infinite wisdom for our good. God desires that we learn to trust Him. Psalm 32:10 says, “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.” The words of Proverbs 3:5-8 are very comforting, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” These words are comforting but difficult to do. The key first step in trusting God and experiencing His blessings is to acknowledge Him. This means reaching out to God “in all your ways,” in a dependent faith, and not striving to do all things in self-determination.
In order to trust God in the midst of our adverse circumstances we must look at them through our eyes of faith and not of sense. Faith to trust God in trials comes only through the Word of God. It is in the Word that we develop an adequate view of God and His relationship to and involvement in our painful circumstances. It is when we apply the Scripture to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit that we receive grace to trust God in trials.
In order to trust God we must know Him in an intimate and personal way. Psalm 9:10 illustrates this well, “…and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” As we seek God in the Word in the midst of our pain and trials we discover that He is with us and will get us through whatever we face (Isaiah 43:1-4).
Pray for the Lord to give you a hunger and thirst for His Word that would never end, and that He would draw you closer, knowing Him better, and enabling you to walk in deep contented trust no matter what is going on around you.