By Christian Weed
What does it look like to trust God?
Just like in our earthly relationships, trust, in relationship with God, is built upon the expression of character over time. And, as God has always done throughout time, He will reveal to us His goodness and His faithfulness—His worthiness of being trusted—if we will move beyond the realm of our comfort zones of limited potential, to the realm of unlimited possibility found in faith and trust in Him.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 ESV
A Part of Our Story
At the end of August 2017, my wife Sara and I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona from Laramie, Wyoming. For nearly six years, God had called us to plant a church in the city of Flagstaff very speciﬁcally. So, after preparing our hearts and minds for those years for what we knew lay ahead, in God’s timing, we uprooted ourselves from good jobs, friends, family, and what we knew and loved, to pursue what we knew was best—God’s calling.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NLT
Every time prior to our move that we would even begin to consider church planting with an organization, denomination, or conference of churches, God would, in essence, say, “Pump the breaks. Just move and I’ll show you when you get there.” So, that’s what we did.
After coming here and quickly becoming acquainted with pastors Adam and Natascha Kling, it became very clear that this was what we were called here to, and why God had always impressed upon us that we were not to do any formal church-plant planning prior to our move; it was already being done by another group of people whose story He would weave together with our own! And, had we moved at our originally planned departure date of 9/22/17, we would have missed the launch of Urban Hope Church! God’s orchestration of timing is amazing!
But trust isn’t built overnight. It is a value and understanding between two parties that grows overtime. It is a process.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for faith, pistis, has strong connotation of the concept of—you guessed it—trust. And just as God desires that our faith in Him grow over time, He desires that our trust in Him would grow, too.
God’s Picture of Trust in the Bible
Throughout scripture, we see a picture of a God who is a loving Father, perhaps the best example of which is seen in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). In the story, a wayward son is met on the road back home by his father who isn’t angry with his son for having sinned and squandered his inheritance, but instead welcomes his son with open, rejoicing arms.
Trusting God, though, is often difficult because we project onto Him the broken and painful image of “fathering” that we experience in our fallen world. But He isn't like that broken image of fatherhood. He wants you to know that He isn't going to abandon you. He’s not a father who’s always in a bad mood when He gets home. He’s not going to walk out the front door and leave you alone. He’s not going to ignore you when you cry out to Him. He’s a good Father. He’s a good friend. And He deeply loves you.
In scripture, we also see a picture of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who is the seal of of our salvation; a faithful guide, friend, empower-er, comforter, and advocate.
And we see a picture of a God, Jesus Christ, the Son, who didn’t abandon His disciples in their moments of wavering faith, who healed the sick, who raised the dead, and who obediently chose a painful death on a cross on our behalf to ransom us from sin and death (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
That is the picture of God we see in the pages of the Bible. A God who clearly demonstrates and establishes that He is wholly worthy of our trust. But God hasn’t stopped. Just as He always has, God wants to reach out into each and every one of our lives—today—to show us His goodness, His faithfulness, and His trustworthiness.
Learning to Remember
God has evidenced to me time and time again that He is trustworthy, and in times of doubt, crisis, not knowing how to move forward, or feeling lost, I bring to mind what God has done before to remind myself that, in any moment, I can safely and rightfully put my trust in Him.
In the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, in chapter 4, God instructs Joshua to tell his people to take and gather 12 stones along the Jordan river, one for each tribe of Israel, as a sign of what God had done for His people in parting the waters of the Jordan River, just as He had done at the Red Sea with Moses and the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt. (If you haven’t read the story in the fourth chapter of Joshua, do.)
And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’” Joshua 4:21-22 ESV
In moments of life where God comes through for you in whatever way you are needing, build a “stack of stones” in your memory, just as the Israelites did, to remind yourself in times of trouble or doubt to come that God is trustworthy and faithful to come through.
But if you’re still wondering, “Can I trust God?” or thinking, “That’s nice for you. I’m glad God did something cool in your life, but He’s never done anything like that in mine,” ask yourself, “Have I ever actually given God the opportunity to show me that I can trust Him?” If you haven't, why not start now? Challenge yourself, little by little, to allow Him the space in your life to do something that’s outside of your control, and outside of your power to do on your own. He will build His case if you will allow Him the room to move.
Know this: trust is only as valuable as the thing in which it is being placed. Remember that when deciding in whom you are going to place your trust: you, or God?