What does it look like to trust in the Lord? As Christian brothers and sisters implore often, “ trust the Lord.” But what does that mean and how do we do it? I think trusting the Lord looks like resting your mind and heart in the assurance of God working. I think trusting the Lord means not worrying about the outcome and I think we do it by getting to know him and remembering all he has done well in the past.
Trust isn’t a choice, it’s a consequence of experience. To me, trusting the Lord God takes time and its a lot like building a house, or remodeling a home. It takes time to trust the One making the changes, unless you have personally seen his work before. The more work this one does the more you trust his judgments. When we trust God it feels like resting in a certain knowledge of who God is and what works he has done prior. The more I know God, the more I believe that the outcome isn’t as important as the One who directs the outcome, just as the house itself isn’t quite as important as the one building and directing the project. anyone can build a house, but it doesn’t mean the house will stand. You can build a house of sticks, but it won’t last, the builder is the key. But trusting someone takes time. Trusting the work will get done and get done well relies on the one doing the work. the one doing the work proves himself by the work he has done in the past. therefore trust relies a great deal on experience and knowledge.
Learning to trust takes time to develop, because it involves a someone to trust. We learn over time to trust or mistrust family members, employees, pastors and government leaders and mentors by what they do. Trust emerges from experience. For example, a child learns to rely on the mother who always appears when they cry. The citizen learns to mistrust the politician that never follows through on their promises. Trusting God doesn’t come as part of the Christian welcome package, it must be constructed over time, Built with bricks of consistency, faithfulness and reliability, as we see the work God has done in the past, we trust him for the future. Trust and faith are not the same. Faith is believing even though you don’t know or see. Faith is moving forward with no prior understanding or knowledge, trust is the outcome of knowledge, emerging and arising from experience.
In the book of Numbers chapter 11, God gets angry with his children, because they don’t trust Him, even though they know him. They witnessed him work on their behalf, they had experienced God’s power and mercy. they believed him enough to follow him out of Egypt, but they didn’t trust him enough to rest in his promises and provision. God wants Israel to believe and to trust, but they struggle to do so. Its easy to believe when one is desperate, there are no atheists in the foxholes, and they were desperate in Egypt. Its difficult to surrender and rest when we have the power to choose, our flesh is mighty and often chooses to please itself rather than rest in God’s choices. God wants his people to choose him because they know him and rely on him as an outcome of their knowledge of who he is and what he has done, regardless of the thing they are relying on him for. God is doing things in the lives of men so that they trust him and know him. Israel had seen and experienced God’s unlimited and power and deliverance, they witnessed God Almighty meeting their needs and rescuing their very lives from slavery and oppression. They saw him divide the red sea, set plagues on Egypt, destroy their enemy, appear in a fiery pillar to guide and direct their every step and then comes the test – hunger. “Who will give us food!” what do you mean WHO? They just want the thing, the food. They were not considering what they already knew about God, and how he had taken care of and provided for them. Israel didn’t care who gave them meat, they just wanted meat. he was building a house so that they would trust his work and they fired him though the work was good. They didn’t look to God they looked to someone. Ouch! They rejected the hand that was feeding them, literally. They were living as if they were at an auction selling themselves to the highest bidder. God had a plan and was giving without limitation to his people, and they in their hunger and desire forsake the building plan and the foreman. But don’t we all occasionally fall into that trap ?
We don’t like to wait. We want the baby, the husband, the job, the promotion, the house, we want the object of our affection the thing that we think will bring us satisfaction. Often we are willing to compromise our values, our morals and our convictions in order to receive the thing of the flesh. Israel certainly did. they said they were well off in a deteriorating shabby shed of Egypt looking past the sturdy and magnificent palace God was building them. Why did they not trust the builder, based on all he had done for them already. Why did they not rest and say God is faithful and has proven himself able. They chose the immediate satisfaction of meat, rather than delaying gratification for the kingdom God was establishing. and it cost many of them their very lives.
The hope is for immaturity, which manifests as desires of our flesh, to give way to maturity revealing itself as trusting in the Lord. When we look back at his faithfulness in the last work, we learn to trust his next work. When we trust God to provide , then our fleshly fears and desires melt away beneath the weight of contentment. Desires of the flesh try to high jack our rest, but we cannot simultaneously trust God to finish a work in our lives and trust our own desires to satisfy at once.
Mistrust was a great temptation Jesus overcame in the wilderness, he succeeded in rather trusting his God and Father. He had to choose weather to take, satisfying the desire to be king or rest in God’s timing, and plans. Satan stood at one end of the stick dangling a kingdom before Jesus’ very eyes, “if you will bow down before me… if you will throw yourself down… if you will do this miracle…” Satan tried desperately to get the Son of God to take the thing of the flesh. But Jesus knew it wasn’t about being hungry, it wasn’t about the thing, it wasn’t about him being the son of God, or the king or even having a kingdom, and a people – this was about Jesus trusting his father who sent him into a fallen and sinful world to be rejected and crucified and susceptible to all manner of pain and suffering, He had every reason to not trust, but he did trust. Why? because Jesus knew his father, his trust arose from his relationship with His father and it was of far more importance to him than anything the flesh desired. God had a plan, He was building a house and the foundation was this perfect union of love between the Father and Son.
Trusting God takes time to develop, don’t be in such a hurry to see things finish, its not about the finish its about the trust that develops on the way to the finish. It may take years to build a trusting relationship.
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
-Corrie Ten Boom
Our old house has been a major project for 17 years for my husband personally. He has done all the work himself. Major constructions, an absolute overhaul of the old. For me it’s been a master’s degree in patience and learning to trust my husband. Each new project gives me a new opportunity to trust his judgment and the outcome. He knows what he is doing, he has good vision and he will finish what he began. That took a long time for me to say. I used to be concerned that the final product wasn’t going to please me or it wasn’t going to come out “right.” But what is “right“? More often than not it doesn’t come out the way I imagine because I’m not the builder, and my job is to trust the builder , not control him. I am never disappointed at the results. When I stopped looking at the project and started trusting my husband I rested my anxious heart, and our relationship is stronger than ever and the work produces joy rather than conflict. There is still more work to be done on our house, but my trust rests in my husband and his faithfulness to do the work. As he finishes again and again, room after room, I have moved from fear of the unknown to trust in the one I know. Its not about the process it’s about the person behind the process.
I have a friend whose mother n law is unwell, I have another friend who needs a renter in the apartment she owns, I have another friend whose son is suffering with anxiety. I know people who are struggling with their pastor, with their husband, with their children, with their sin, unhappy in their home, waiting on a husband, ostracized from their family, alone, suffering with mental illness, paralyzed with fear, un-anaswered prayer, money issues, chronic pain, there is no shortage of projects, and works that need restoration in our lives. God is building a house and the more work he does the more we experience his faithfulness and can rest in his judgments and timing. I believe God is working these unfinished issues to completion, it just takes time. You are his house, I am his house, and every room that he finishes is evidence that you can rest in him, as he is preparing to rest in you!