By: Norm Rasmussen
Trusting the Lord never used to be something I did easily, and you may well be able to identify. I've come to believe that is quite normal for many people to struggle with trusting Him when they first start out on their journey walking with Him.
From my own personal struggles
of trusting God in the past ' from hearing the difficulties of so many
others having similar trust issues with God ' I've come to realize there are
some COMMON REASONS that hinder one's ability to trust God. So ' let's take
a look at some of the most common ones:
The very first issue that needs
to be addressed is the question of whether or not a person has connected
with God the way the New Testament Bible says they must. Anyone attempting
to bypass Jesus Christ to connect to God the Father ' Creator ' The Ultimate
Judge - will struggle their whole life trusting God. The New Testament Bible
makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to connect with
God the Father. (http://biblehub.com/john/14-6.htm). There are no 'back-up options.'
Once a person has personally
asked Jesus Christ to be their Savior and have told Him and meant business
telling Him that they want Him to be their personal, daily Lord ' have asked
Him to forgive them of all their sins ' they THEN have every right to begin
trusting their Lord to have the full backing/support of God the Father,
Jesus Christ Himself, and the Holy Spirit. In other words: the triune God
that makes up the eternal Godhead ' the distinct 3 Persons of the Godhead actually in
Proverbs 3:5-6 is the most
common scripture passage most Christians rely on regarding this matter of
trusting the Lord:
Trust in the Lord will all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all you ways, and he will direct your path.
The Lord is so honored when we
trust Him with all our heart.
The number one area of frustration
that comes into play in trying to make Proverbs 3:5-6 work for us is the
same area regarding answered prayer vs unanswered prayer: My will or God's
will. Am I trusting God for something I want Him to grant me '. Or am I
trusting Him that He will grant me what is best for me ' trusting Him that
He knows what is best?
James states in Chapter 4:3:
You ask and do not
receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
James could have said it this way as well:
You trust and do not receive,
because your trust is selfishly motivated.
When we pray or when
we trust, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, if we are doing
selfishly, because God rarely
grants our selfish wants ' our selfish desires.
Proverbs 3:5-6 promises us that
the Lord will direct our 'paths'. This promise has much more to do with our
making decisions about important matters than it does receiving 'things' we
are asking and trusting the Lord for.
'Should I divorce him, Lord, or shouldn't I?' That's the kind of question we
can trust the Lord to help us come to a wise decision on, though we need
to be very patient with God in matters such as this.
Another: 'Should I quit this
job and take another one Lord, or should I stay right where I am working.
I'll patiently wait and trust you to show me what to do.' This is the kind
of trusting God honors.
'Lord ' I want out of this jail
before the year is done and I'm trusting you to cause it to happen.' Not so
wise, unless the Lord is strongly leading a person to believe that way.
'Lord ' I would like to get out
of this jail soon but you know when the right time is, so I trust you to
keep me patient until you decide when it's time for me to be freed.' Very
Putting selfish mandates in our trusting the Lord can bring us to
frustration and discouragement in wanting us to trust the Lord for other
things. The same applies to answered prayer. Unselfishly prayed prayers tend
to get answered and when they do, it builds up our confidence in our prayer
lives. Selfishly prayed prayers God is resistant to answering the way we
would like them answered.
The wise disciple of Jesus Christ asks Jesus to teach them how to wisely TRUST and PRAY early in their relationship with Him. I've been zealous with God, but in all honesty I've never been known for being very wise far too often, and I've had to learn very painfully that my selfish trusting and praying has brought me to a lot of frustration and discouragement in my journey of walking with the Lord.
Shortly after I first became
born again (early 1980's), I wanted God to tell me for certain which
direction I should go in ministry ' specifically: 'Lord ' do you REALLY want
me to publish
born again Christian testimonies or don't you?'
Intelligent question for me,
but how I went about trying to move God to answer me went one step over the
line, I was to learn later, though I wouldn't doubt if there are angels
still getting a laugh about it!
I picked a stand of old growth
hardwood trees off the main highway (M-45) in Western Michigan over by Grand Valley
State University to be my 'lightening strike test site.' I hauled a ladder
down the side of the road, across a ravine or two, then raised the ladder up
a number of different trees and nailed big white house letters to them where
they could be clearly seen from the road when a person drove by. I nailed five numbers on five
different trees for my 'Yes', and then nailed five numbers on five other
trees some distance away for my 'No.'
Then I prayed and told the Lord
I trusted Him to hit the five 'Yes' trees with lightening strikes when the
first lightening storm came through if I was to publish Christian testimonies, OR '
strike the five trees with lightening that represented 'No' regarding
publishing testimonies. Pretty darn clever, I thought. No matter what ' five
trees were going to have to scars of lightening disfigure them, and I could
always point them out to others if I ever ran out of things to try to make
someone think God doesn't honor your trust.
After every lightning storm
that went through that area, I would beat it out to the college just as fast
as I could, wondering how much damage got done to five trees. Time after
time my heart sank when I saw the numbers stayed tacked to the trees just as
nice as the day I nailed them up there, and NO trees got smoked by lightning
But I was determined to be
patient! So I continued with this charade all that summer and into the
spring of the next year. Suffice it to say, those trees are still growing
bigger to this very day and embarrassingly I had to take my ladder to each
tree and take each number down, while keeping my tail tucked between my legs
the whole time so to speak.
In my mind, I was totally
convinced God would honor my request. I certainly was trusting Him to with
everything in me. When He didn't, it caused me to back off some in my
eagerness to trust Him going forward for a season. Satan had to be laughing
of course at my frustration as to WHY God didn't honor my trust.
Why did God NOT honor my
"fleece"? Because I was tempting Him, and didn't realize I was. I was trying
to manipulate God to do something He doesn't like us doing. God won't let you
manipulate Him even when we call it trust and/or faith. When He determines
our trust/faith is disguised by our lustful, impatient selfish motives ' He
locks His jaws with hesitancy.
Are you familiar with the
scripture passage found in Mark 12:22-24 when Jesus tells us that if we want
to move a mountain into the sea, it's possible we can do it by commanding it
to dislodge and fly over to the nearest ocean - believe it's going to happen
' and it's got to happen?
Well ' being young in the Lord,
I wanted to see how well that little power play actually works. I was out in
the woods one day by myself, and I decided it was time to do some serious
miracle 'mountain moving.' There weren't any mountains around me ' only flat
ground ' so I found a little tree about a foot or two high growing
innocently out of the ground, and I began commanding it to uproot and re-root
itself about five feet away.
I commanded and commanded that
little tree to uproot ' 'Come up out of the ground NOW, in Jesus name! I
command you!' I must have commanded it at least 50 times ' until it began to
dawn on me that evidently I picked the only deaf tree in the entire forest,
so maybe I should go find another one to command, which I did. No surprise,
it was deaf too. Bummer. Must not have had enough faith, right?
It took me some years to grow to realize that the 'mountains' Jesus tells us we can 'cast into the sea' are spiritual strongholds that hinder either our walk with Him, or demonic spiritual strongholds hindering someone else's growth with Him. It also took me some years to realize that God is trying to communicate to us disciples that we have AUTHORTITY given by Him to do His will in every situation we face in this life, but just because we've been given His AUTHORITY to do things on His behalf doesn't mean He's careless with His POWER.
[Sidebar: As time
went on, God had a whole different way of communicating to me that it was
indeed His will for me to publish born again Christian testimonies. And of course ... I would have done it differently than the way He did it
... but isn't that the story of many of our lives in our relationship with
Him?! We so easily think God needs our help when things aren't
happening as quickly as we would like!]
For dense headed disciples like
myself, I've grown to be a lot more careful in how I go about trusting the
Lord and praying to Him these days. And to the glory of God, I can
truthfully say that my trust gets honor a great deal more than it did back
in those days of trying to destroy God's beautiful forests by my foolish
antics ' as do my prayers getting answered much more frequently. If God
wants it to happen and I line my trust up the way He wants it happening,
chances are excellent it will end up an awesome praise report in trusting
If God wants it to happen and I
pray the way He wants it to happen, it often results ' no matter how long it
takes ' in an awesome praise report to answered prayer.
If I've learned anything about
walking with God while I've walked with Him, He truly desires that we forever
keep trusting Him and praying to Him. It's His will that we do so
successfully ' fruitfully. But in the process of learning how to pray and
trust more effectively, He wants us inquiring of Him to TEACH us how to
trust and pray more wisely.
This I've learned: Trusting
unselfishly - praying unselfishly ' gets better positive results. 'Here's
what I would like to see happen Lord, but I fully trust and believe that
what You know is best in this given situation ' that's what I accept and
thank You for allowing to come forth."
Just because God might will
something to happen on this planet doesn't mean it's going to happen. God
has included His Bride ' The Body of Christ ' to work in conjunction with
His will. Prayer and trust on our part releases God's will into the affairs
of mankind a whole lot more than what Satan wants the Church realizing.
A final tip that might help you in trusting and exercising your faith in any given situation. The Christian who has settled the issue about dying and has no longer any fear of dying is the one God tends to use the most to pray prayers that He intends to answer. A lot of selfishly motivated prayer requests don't get prayed by people who have been set free from the fear of dying. You'll have voices telling you 'You must have a death wish!' if you freely share with others that you have no fear of dying anymore. If it fits, you can politely tell them that, 'Yeah ' I want my self-will to die so that I can become more Christ-like to live more joyfully.' Or ' You can answer them with, 'No ' I don't have a death wish. I know where my eternal destiny is, and that's called: 'a REAL LIFE wish.' ' Answers like that may get them to become more open to allowing the Holy Spirit to draw them to Jesus.
It seems only right to make mention of people who have grown up in traumatic - dysfunctional - intensely stressful family situations. Children who have put their trust in adults ... only to be taken advantage of in various ways; lied to; betrayed ... tend to have more difficulties trusting God than those who have grown up in more stable family environments. I grew up in a home environment where the tension between my mother and father was so constant that I did everything I could think of to NOT be around them as often as possible. I recall making a pact with myself in my mid-teens that I was no longer going to put my trust in ANY adult, which meant that I then needed to trust only myself. (In my own mind, God had given me parents that I didn't enjoy being around most of the time, so WHY would I put my trust in God who GAVE them to me?) Satan loves it when we come up with such a conclusion.
Battered spouses lose trust in entering new marriages, and understandably so in many cases. Abused employees can come to the place where they drop out of the work force and decide it is easier living in the streets than trust going back to work for another insensitive, unappreciative slave driver boss. We live in a world where it is becoming more and more difficult to believe anything a politician says anymore, knowing that what they say and what they are even able to do anything about it once they come to power, is little more than a snide chuckle to ourselves - sad to have to say.
God knew what He was saying when this scripture passage got written: It is better to take refuge in the Lord than it is to trust in humans. (Psalms 118:8)
When we are around others who are struggling to trust the Lord, let us be very cautious and not be so eagerly flippant in telling them they just need to trust the Lord more to find a breakthrough in their situation. That might be true, but inwardly, it might be falling on deaf ears. They may have a bleeding heart that has been gashed and gnashed from their prior trusting. It takes some people a long, long time before they are willing to step out and trust the Lord even for salvation, let alone more than that. We need to each be sensitive to people who deeply fear to trust God. Proving to them that WE can be trusted is sometimes the first wisest strategy we can employ before advancing any further in trying to encourage them to start trusting the Lord.
Probably the wisest thing we can do is daily ask the Lord in prayer to teach us how to trust Him more and more. God doesn't want us struggling with trusting Him indefinitely. He wants us to delight and excel in trusting Him. It's Satan who wants us to keep struggling with trusting our Lord.
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