Trusting God

Spinning around and around, Annie, my daughter, and her friends whooped and hollered as I pushed the merry-go-round faster and faster. The fun and excitement would squelch any apprehension some of the girls had due to their first sleepover. It was my daughter’s ninth birthday. This would be her best party yet! Pizza and an outdoor movie would come next before camping under the stars in our backyard.

But as the spinning came to a halt, so did the girls’ smiles. Sadie was the first to speak. “I think I’m going to puke!”

One by one, the girls slumped down on the ground before coming to a unanimous decision. “Could you please take us home?”

What choice did I have? I’d be known as the barbaric mom by insisting they stay the course. I was sure the girls viewed me as a monster mom as they silently crawl back into our van. I did my best to mentally assimilate my words to their parents for the change of plans while hoping these pale-faced friends’ stomachs would settle soon.

While Annie and her friends laugh about that evening now, it was no laughing matter at the time!

All of us experience daily change of plans that stretch the most patient among us. But what about the big surprises that jolt our world? The unexpected diagnosis from the doctor, an unforeseen emergency, a financial crisis . . . the list goes on.

The temptation is to analyze the problem from every angle until we come up with a plausible solution. But what about the times when our circumstances spin out of control, making the bravest of us weak-kneed, sick to our stomachs and gasping for air?

Not to diminish problem-solving, or simplify the stress, pain, or need for support from others, but I believe the first step should be going to God in prayer. Because He is all-powerful, all-sufficient, and loves us more than we can imagine, we can lean in and put our full weight of trust on Him.

The following Bible verses are a few of my favorite passages that speak of the benefits of trusting God.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:6-7.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you,” Psalm 9:10.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you,” Psalm 84:11-12.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6.

Do you have a favorite verse about trusting God, or experienced a time God helped you through a crisis?

New Year Habit

(Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory,” Psalm 63:2, NIV.

See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young,” Isaiah 40:10-11.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 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,” Psalm 139:7-10.

 

The School of Life (Part 2), Exodus 16:4-18

Consider yourself fortunate when God all-powerful chooses to correct you.” -Job 5:17 (CEV)

Last week I shared from Warren Wiersbe’s book, Be Delivered, that we should expect trials. God tests, but never tempts. Through testing, He searches our hearts and reveals to us what is in our hearts (Dt. 8:10). He also sometimes shakes things up to correct and perfect us (Heb. 12:8-11; 1 Pt. 5:10; Rom 5:3-4).

After God performed miracles in the wilderness, the Israelites trusted Him intensely. But in the heat of trials, their trust soon melted into more grumbling.

You may read Exodus 16:4-18 here: Bible Gateway.

Trust God to Supply the Need  

God heard the Israelites’ complaints and mercifully met their needs. He would rain down bread in the morning and meat by evening. In giving these provisions, He was also testing their belief and obedience.

God’s Promises

I am borrowing from Warren Wiersbe’s wisdom again, (now that’s a tongue twister!)

As we journey through life, we live on promises and not explanations. Wiersbe explains: “When we hurt it’s a normal response to ask ‘Why?’ but that is the wrong approach to take. When we ask that question we’re assuming a superior posture and giving the impression that we are in charge and God is accountable to us. God is sovereign and doesn’t have to explain anything to us unless He wants to. Asking ‘why?’ also assumes that if God did explain His plans and purposes to us, we’d understand perfectly and feel better.”

Job is an example of repeating: “I’d like to meet God and ask Him a few things!” But when God does visit Job, Job is so overwhelmed with His presence that He doesn’t ask anything (Job 40:1-5). Wiersbe concludes: “Can we begin to understand the plans and ways of God when His ways are far above us and His wisdom unsearchable (Isa. 55:8-9; Rom. 11:33-36)? Explanations don’t heal broken hearts, but promises do, because promises depend on faith, and faith puts us in contact with the grace of God.”

God’s Glory  

When the going gets tough it’s natural to ask God to get us out of the situation. But He desires that we ask Him: “What can I get out of this?” Wiersbe writes: “God permits trials so that He can build godly character into His children and make us more like Jesus. Godliness isn’t the automatic result of reading books and attending meetings; it also involves bearing burdens, fighting battles, and feeling pain.”

Israel would have glorified God if they walked by faith and focused on Him, not on their own appetites. God desires our trust not only when things go well, but also when things go wrong. This involves a choice: trust God intentionally, or resent His way and rebel.

When we choose to trust God through the storms, He receives the glory and we enjoy His presence. We’re also made more into His likeness.

God’s faithfulness 

God not only provided abundant quail, but also made a sweet spread in the wilderness as He shared “the bread of angels” with His people (Ps. 78:17-25; Ex. 16:31). Manna—man hu in Hebrew from the question: “What is it?”—would be the Israelites’ food for the next 40 years.

God’s Son

(christianphotos-jesusimages.blogspot.com)

After Jesus had fed more than five thousand people with five barley loaves and two small fish, a crowd in Capernaum’s synagogue wanted Him to prove Himself as Messiah by replicating the miracle of manna (John 6:30-31). They mainly followed Jesus because He gave them food to eat. But they—like us—needed something more substantial than food for their bodies. They needed food for their souls (Isa. 55:2).

Jesus declared that He was “the true bread” that came down from heaven. God may have only given Israel manna in the desert, but He gave His only Son, Jesus, for the whole world.

The manna in Exodus was a picture or type of God’s Son. Jesus came to give Himself as the Bread of Life for hungry sinners. The only way to be saved from eternal death is to receive Him into our inner being, similar as the body receives food. Wiersbe puts it this way: “Just as the Jews had to stoop and pick up the manna, and then eat it, so sinners must humble themselves and receive Jesus Christ within. The Jews ate the manna and eventually died, but whoever receives Jesus Christ will live forever.”

Another application to the miracle of manna is the exercise of daily “feeding on Christ” by reading His Word and obeying. Although the Jews in the synagogue thought Jesus was literally speaking about eating His flesh and blood (John 6:52-56), Jesus made it clear that He was referring to receiving His Word (vv. 61-63).

Blessings this Easter as we celebrate our resurrected Lord and King!

Doxology, Romans 16:25-27

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Paul’s final verses to the Roman church ring with praise. For God not only used him to help spread the gospel, but also share His plan for the Gentiles: God’s inclusion of them/us into His church.

Major Themes

Paul weaved major themes from Romans into these last three verses:

  • God alone establishes and strengthens the believer.
  • God alone has given direct revelation of the gospel through Jesus Christ through His life, death, and resurrection.
  • God has purposed His plan of salvation to everyone who chooses to receive it.
So What?

We should never write someone off as impossible for God to save. Paul was a prime example. From a zealous Christian persecutor to a zealous gospel preacher, God moved mightily in his life: saving, transforming, and strengthening his faith.

We too can trust God to work powerfully in our lives. He’s not limited by our backgrounds, weaknesses, and/or failures.

God used Paul to reach the ends of his world through the cosmopolitan power house of Rome. We would do well to heed God’s inspired words from Paul in Romans as we also take the gospel to the ends of our world through words, prayer, technology, and missionary support.

Have you received God’s gift of salvation?

How has God strengthened your faith?

I love the following scripture/song. It’s a great reminder that God is not only able to work for the good in our  circumstances, but also work for the good in our hearts’ invisible arena.