Faith is the foundation of Christianity; faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Christianity requires us to trust and believe the God of the Bible. Redemption, forgiveness of sin and righteousness are all received as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ.
We serve a God that desires and requires our trust. Some days are easier than others to do so. Life goes through ups and downs. We experience victory and defeat. We experience things that strengthen our faith and we also experience things that test our faith. Life and the events that make up our lives are diverse and varied. Some days we see things with absolute clarity and other days we cannot seem to see the hand in front of our face.
Being born again is not about leading a life void of struggle and trial. Being born again allows you to follow the leading of the Spirit of God through the struggles and trials of life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
As Christians it is really easy to “Amen” the first half of that verse, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” The challenge for many of us is found in the second half of verse 5, “do not depend on your own understanding.”
This verse goes against most of our programming. Faith in God requires us to violate what comes natural to us as humans. The natural man likes to rely on his knowledge, his understanding and his experiences. We are earth bound beings who want to see, hear, feel, touch and taste life. We want to reason. We want to research. We want to build a case based on facts. We want to be able to explain things. We want to give examples and reasons for the things we do. We want to be able to justify our actions and decisions based on things others will understand. We want to be able to present a convincing argument based on solid evidence that we understand.
Most of our lives require us to depend on what and how we understand things. This is found in our careers, our families, our relationships, even our governments. When we understand something we gain confidence in our ability to relate to or deal with a subject or situation. When we don’t understand something we normally feel timid and will tend to shy away from things. We all have a comfort zone of understanding in this life and most of us try to live right in the center of that comfort zone.
As a Christian it is impossible to live in a comfort zone of human understanding. The Christian life is filled with times and season that require trust in God. God does not allow us to plan, study and execute. Our lives will be filled with moments and seasons we struggle to understand. It is in these moments and seasons that we must face our faith. It is in these moments when we don’t understand where we discover our level of trust in God. God will never allow us to live a life in which He is unnecessary.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalm 23)
We are not the shepherd. We are the sheep and we need a shepherd; His name is Jesus. It is not required for us to comprehend and understand everything that our Shepherd is doing; it is only required that we follow, trust and obey the Shepherd.
We all hear and experience things that shake us. We all have moments when questions rise up within us that we really want God to answer. We can’t help that the questions come. Our frustration comes from our inability to produce an answer or receive a satisfactory answer from people, scripture or God.
Why did this happen?
Why did this person get sick?
Why did this accident or tragedy happen?
Why did I lose my job?
Why did this leader fail?
Why did my spouse to this?
Why did this person have to die?
Why do bad things happen to good people?
I want to understand the answer to these types of questions, but most of the time I don’t. Normally I have a little understanding because of the things I know and the things I have experienced, but I never have enough understanding to confidently respond with authority.
Does our faith waver because we don’t have all of life’s questions answered? It shouldn’t. Our faith should remain solid in Jesus, He is the First and the Last and He knows all things. I don’t need to know or understand everything – I just need to know that He knows and understands it all. If I know that He knows I can relax and trust Him.
- Our faith shakes not because of our own lack of understanding but in our questioning of God’s knowledge and understanding.
- Our faith wavers not because of our own inability to control the world around us but in our questioning of God’s ability to control the world around us.
- Our faith falters when our presumed timetable for events differs from God’s planed timetable of events.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Is God capable?
Does God have the requisite knowledge and experience? Does He have the power and understanding?
We are not omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient. We don’t know the end from the beginning. We don’t hold all things together by the power of our word. We are not God. However, we do serve Him and have invited Him to live on the inside of us. We are not each of these things, but He is. The question comes down to trust.
Can God be trusted?
That is the heart of faith. Can God be trusted? Does He fulfill His promises?
Have we trusted Him with eternity, righteousness and forgiveness of sin while failing to trust Him in the here and now?
If God is incapable of being trusted for the present life then He is also incapable of being trusted for eternity. If we must rely upon ourselves and our own understanding to get through this life while waiting for God to provide for us after we die then God cannot be trusted.
If His Word cannot be trusted for the here and now then His word cannot be trusted for the bye-and-bye.
Here is the definition of trust:
- Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
- Confident expectation of something; hope.
- Confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit: to sell merchandise on trust.
- A person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.
Synonyms for trust:
Trust is translated from the Hebrew word בָּטַח (Batach)
- to trust
- to have confidence, be confident
- to be bold
- to be secure
- to cause to trust, make secure
- to feel safe, be careless
God can be trusted. God can be believed. God can be relied upon. God does not lie. God does not make mistakes. God does not fail.
Does this mean that we always win? Does this mean that every problem will be solved? Does this mean that life will be filled with happiness and all sorrow will cease? Does this mean persecution will disappear? No.
Does it change who God is and what His word says? No.
Abraham waited 25 years for the promise of God to be fulfilled in his life.
Moses lived 80 years prior to being called into the ministry and then after a 40 year ministry died without entering into the Promised Land.
Noah spent several years building an Ark on dry land waiting for it to rain when it had never rained before.
It was more than 15 years from the time that Samuel anointed David to be king of Israel until he sat on the throne.
Joseph spent 13 years in prison and in slavery prior to ascending to the role of Prime Minister of Egypt.
10 of the original 12 disciples died as martyrs.
Joseph (Jesus’ stepfather) relocated his family because of messages received from angels in a dream.
Every Christian who has died has expected Jesus to return in their lifetime.
Why do I write these things?
Life does not have to be explained or understood; life has to be lived.
Should we seek knowledge and understanding? Yes. Are we to depend on our ability to comprehend and understand? No. We are to trust in the Lord with all of hearts, not leaning upon our understanding. We must believe that God will show us which path to take in our lives.
I love the old phrase, “Sell-out and surrender all.”
It reminds me of the classic vows at weddings, “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
Christianity is a covenant of faith that scripture likens unto the marriage of husband and wife. He is the bridegroom and we are the bride.
I don’t have to always understand what He is doing in my life. I don’t have to know all of the answers. I don’t have to be satisfied with the circumstances. I don’t even have to enjoy everything.
Faith is trusting that He will be who He says He is regardless of what we see and understand. Faith is trusting that God is with us even if seems He is nowhere to be found.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
These three men had no idea if God would rescue them yet they trusted in Him. They proclaimed God’s ability for rescue and their resolution to trust Him regardless of the consequences.
My each our hearts echo their same resolve. May we trust God in every circumstance of life; especially in the circumstances where it appears all hope is lost.
Let us stop trying to understand everything that we think God is or is not doing and let us begin to trust Him more and more.