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Trouble with Trusting?

Are you ever anxious? Fearful? Depressed? You are not alone! We all have these feelings at times, and, for most of us, more often than we’d like to admit.

We probably have all heard this aphorism: You overcome fear by faith. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Why? Usually because most of us fall easily into learned patterns of relying on ourselves for provision, protection, security, and peace. Faith is a last resort.

David’s expressed understanding in Psalm 139 might help us see things from a new perspective. As we look and meditate on the characteristics of God described in this psalm, we begin to see why he is worthy of our trust. What can we learn about God as we listen in on David’s prayer? Here’s what he says:

You know everything about me:

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (vv.5-6)

You are with me everywhere:

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (vv.9-10)

You designed and made me:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (vv.13-14)

You’re always thinking of me:

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. (vv.17-18)

You hear my cries for help:

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. (vv.19-20)

When we have a correct view of God, including his power, compassion, presence, and knowledge, it’s easier to trust him. Take a look at the attitude with which David concludes his psalm. First, he invites God into every aspect of his life including his anxiety. Then, he humbly bows to God’s control.

I submit to you:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (vv.23-24)

Do you see the utter humility in these last verses of David’s psalm? I think it’s safe to conclude that our issues with trust often have to do with our pride. We want to be in control, thinking we can somehow, by hard work or sheer willpower, overcome the problems we face.

I recently read Paul’s recitation of his immaculate pedigree as a passionate follower of God through Judaism. When he became a Christian, his new understanding made him realize he’d been trusting that his own goodness and zeal would earn God’s favor.

After his encounter with Jesus, he understood that none of his efforts earned him any credit with God. Instead, God’s blessing was gained when he humbled himself and put his trust in Christ instead of himself.

What might it mean to be truly humble before God? It involves . . .

  • acknowledging our own helplessness to change a situation.

  • realizing that only God can see the future so knows best what to do for us and others.

  • giving up control.

  • accepting that what God chooses might hurt us for a time, but a greater purpose will be accomplished, even in our pain.

  • believing, even when we can’t understand, that God is who he says he is, and all his words are true.

Our pride doesn’t like helplessness, submission, and accepting the truths in God’s word without argument. Only when Paul came face-to-face with Jesus did he realize that his self-sufficiency was a barrier between him and God.

Are you having trouble with trust? We all do, sometimes. When that happens, we should examine ourselves and root out whatever may be prideful or self-serving. Every time we do that with sincerity, we find it easier to trust God. When we humbly submit to him, our faith grows, and his ability to use us grows.


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