On a hike, our family came across a dilapidated bridge. My husband went first and stepped cautiously forward, testing the boards to make sure they would hold his weight without shifting or snapping.
When the boards felt firm beneath his feet, he took the next step across until we all got to the other side.
What does it mean to trust?
Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. When we think of something solid, it’s strong and unwavering—like sturdy boards of the bridge not crumbling under added pressure and strain.
Belief is what we accept as true. Before we can trust, we have to know what we trust by testing and observing, but also with a step of faith. If my husband trips up along the rickety boards, we have less confidence the rest of us will pass over unscathed. There's what I both know to be true and what we’ve seen to be true.
For followers of Christ, we’re given the Bible to discover what is true about God, ourselves, and his purposes for the world–we’re given a deep well of treasure to discover. To trust God means we persevere in knowing him and reconciling our experiences with what’s true. This is both challenging and fruitful for our spiritual maturity.
Jesus concludes the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7, by presenting his audience with a choice.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Mt 7:24–27).
The wise are those whose footing is secure in the words of God. For, even when the storms come—and we know they will—there is an unshakable foundation.
Who do we trust?
If we want the Sunday school answer, it would be Jesus.
It’s easy to profess this with our mouths, but can be difficult to truly live out.
One reason is found in the Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5–6).
When my son watches sports, he may have a favourite team he’s rooting for, but when they're losing, he easily jumps ship and cheers for the team that’s winning. Sometimes, when our prayers don't receive immediate answers or we feel a sense of urgency to make a decision, we may find ourselves inclined to push forward and take matters into our own hands without taking the time to pause and seek guidance through prayer.
The scriptures teach us we are to trust God not ourselves, but we tend toward self-reliance.
We’re tempted to put more weight in our own opinions, our feelings and our own thoughts. We hold tightly to these rather than humbly surrendering these to the Lord instead.
Proverbs also reminds us to, “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23). The word heart here includes more than our mental and emotional experiences, but also what we value. Guarding our hearts with what is good, beautiful and true of God keeps us in tune with the song of his heart.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday” (Ps. 37:5).
When do we trust?
We read above that the moments we want to rely on ourselves are a prime opportunity to practice dependance on Christ.
Psalm also tells us to trust when we are afraid.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Ps 56:3-4). These are the acutely painful moments when fear and trembling shake us to the core. In the face of seemingly insurmountable problems, we observe the situation in front of us and desperately fear the outcome. We imagine the results of facing a big opponent, an immovable barrier, or a devastating diagnosis.
In our fears, the One who is our foundation has not shifted or changed. The truths about God on a good day are no different on a bad day.
When life is simple, trust is easy.
Remember, we didn’t have to trust the bridge until we had to cross it. If we took a different path or turned around at the mere sight of it, we’d never face the opportunity.
What is the result of trusting God?
We’re human. We face our sin daily. We’re prone to listening more to our deceitful hearts than to him.
Yet, there’s a wonderful story of grace being woven out of our lives.
“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” (Ps 40:4).
The ladies in my African village taught me how to braid grass mats. I learnt the simple method, but there were more intricate patterns with dyed grasses to create vibrant designs. As we love and follow Christ, we’re being woven into his likeness, we’re held and sustained in his hands as he works in and through us. Each day we learn a little more about who he is and who we are in him.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Is. 26:3–4).
As we make this our practice to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Christ, our mind reciting gospel truths, he guards us in peace.
Isn't that what we long for?
Here are 3 ways we can put our trust in God today.
1 Confess your self-reliance
This isn’t easy. It’s humbling to consider how pervasively we rely on our abilities, our knowledge and our strength. Pray and ask the Lord to search your heart, to show you where you’re struggling to depend fully on him as you consider these verses:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn 15:5)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 73:25-26)
2. When you read the Bible, ask yourself what you learn about God?
When we approach the Scriptures often we unwittingly open them as a self-help book, questioning how a passage applies to our life and what we should do. Application is a part of our bible reading, however before we turn our gaze to the problems and situations of our own life, we first fix our eyes first on what the Bible is intended to reveal: God Himself.
So as you read the Word begin to ask first, what do we learn about God from this passage?
We discover his character, the attributes that distinguish him and give us exceeding reason to praise and trust him alone.
(Check out this resource from Blue Letter Bible the attributes of God)
3. Remind yourself of how God has shown himself faithful to you both in your past and present.
Take the time to journey back in time to thoughtfully reflect on how the Lord has shown you grace and mercy, how he has seen you through difficult times and provided for you. Remember the answered prayers, the unexpected blessings and provisions, the ‘small’ and the ‘big.’
Whatever you’re facing today, the Lord is inviting you to trust him.