At times, trusting in God can feel next to impossible. It is in our nature to want control of our own lives and to do things our way.
To feel like we have control is a comfort — if we are in control of our lives or a situation, we won’t let anything go wrong. And when something does go wrong, we’re even less likely to give up what little control we may have.
Sometimes — go ahead and admit it — the notion of trusting God might even be infuriating.
How can losing your job be part of God’s plan? How can getting cancer be part of God’s plan? How can a cheating spouse and messy divorce be part of God’s plan? And if that’s the plan, why on earth would you trust the One doing the planning?
Nevertheless, if we look at Scripture, we are told over and over again throughout the Old and New Testaments that we must let go and trust God.
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. —Psalms 13:5, KJV
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. —John 14:1, KJV
The root of our trust issues is simple: we try to judge God by our standards.
If I believe in God, then only good things will happen to me. If I am a good person, then only good things will happen to me.
This message, which is false for most people, is rampant in the Church. Prosperity preachers attract literally tens of thousands of people with any one sermon, and by browsing a Christian self-help book section, you can discover numerous titles that will teach you how to pray your way to wealth, weight loss, the perfect spouse and any number of things.
While it’s certainly no crime to pray for a handsome husband or a better-paying job, or more seriously, to pray to be delivered from sickness or despair, we tend to lose faith when things don’t go our way. It’s almost as if we think we’ve made an unspoken bargain with God: we’ll trust in Him as long as we always get what we want. And that is no trust at all.
God never promised Christians easy passage through life. The Apostle Paul spent big chunks of his life in prison, and when he wasn’t occupying a cell, he was being beaten and lashed and escaping from people trying to kill him.
He was shipwrecked at least three times in the open sea. He sometimes went for days without eating or sleeping. On top of all that, he prayed for a mysterious “thorn of the flesh” to be removed, an affliction that God never made heal.
Paul is easily one of the holiest people who ever lived, at least by human standards. If Paul experienced so much suffering — while doing God’s work, no less — what makes us think that somehow, God should make an exception for us?
If we further examine Scripture, it seems like Jesus almost guaranteed that we would fall on hard times:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. —John 16:33, KJV
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. —Luke 6:22-23, KJV
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. —Romans 5:3-5, KJV
Paul’s words in Romans are the key to holding on to trust when times get tough. We don’t always know why bad things happen to us, but this is not time to lose faith. Lean on God and trust in him to comfort you, carry you and give you hope.