Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
(Ps 37. 1-6)
What does it mean to say that we trust someone? Sometimes it is that we respect their advice and wisdom, and would be strongly influenced by their counsel in time of decision-making. Other times it reflects a belief that a person can keep our troubles to themselves, providing us with a safe place to share our burdens.
On a deeper level, when I married, I entrusted myself to my husband, giving him access to my life and great power to affect me for good or ill. Why was I willing to do this? Because I believed then, and still do, that he loved me as well as his human frailty permitted, that he desired the best for me, and that he would be good for me. He has given me similar power in his life, and my desire always is to be good for him. I know that I have failed, and will do so again. I have been selfish, short-tempered, and unreasonable, at times unwilling to see things from his point of view because I know that he is right and I am wrong! By God’s grace, we have grown together, and will go on relying on his help to love and be faithful to one another – continuing to be open and vulnerable because we made a covenant together to trust one another in love.
It seems to me that over and over the bible reveals God asking this very same question of us, his children, “Do you trust me?….Do you trust me enough to do as I ask?” And ultimately, our answer to that question depends, as in human relationships, on whether we believe that the one asking for our trust really loves and wants the best for us. Consider Adam and Eve, stewards of paradise, with one single prohibition (given for their protection) that they refrain from eating the fruit of a certain tree. When Eve stole the fruit and persuaded Adam to eat with her, they were effectively saying that they did not trust God to be good for them, that He was unfair and unreasonable! How wrong they were…..
Consider Abraham, who was asked to trust God first of all for a new land which he had never seen; then for safe keeping in Egypt – which Abraham tried to arrange for himself by cunning, and ended up causing all sorts of trouble(Genesis 12). When God asked Abraham and Sarah to trust him for descendants, they showed that they had not learnt their lesson, and again tried to arrange it for themselves causing more trouble (Genesis 16). The hero of that sorry tale was God, who patiently and faithfully kept his promises to Abraham, allowing him more than one fresh start!
Consider David, who was anointed the future king of Israel many years before he was actually crowned, and who endured many trials along the way, when he might well have given up on God’s promise or else – like Abraham – have taken matters into his own hands. There were two occasions when David could have assassinated Saul most conveniently, but he insisted on trusting God to arrange matters, and held back.
Am I willing to trust God with my life, my children, my work and my church family? Do I really believe that God wants the best for us and that, unlike human promise-makers, He is able to deliver it?
What does this kind of trust look like in daily life? When changes come, do I fret and worry over things I cannot control, or do I strive to act and think in ways which reflect my belief that God’s ways for my life will always be the best – even though at times they may be painful and difficult? Am I willing not to interfere with God’s timing, not to grab the things I think He has promised but wait until they are poured into my lap?
If I truly believe that God has and will always keep faith with me, fulfilling His promises, then I must walk in daily obedience, not fretting over what I do not know and cannot control. I must do the present task, even when I see no clear path ahead.
It is my faithful obedience in all the small things, and my calm, joyful acceptance of God’s directing of my life which will speak most loudly of the love which I receive from Him, and demonstrate most clearly His trustworthiness. May I be given daily strength and courage to glorify Him in this way!