Trust in God
Trust in God – The Antidote for a Troubled Heart
(Jesus; John 14:1)
“Trust in God; trust also in me.” Unpacking the seven words of this exhortation is no small challenge, but it is vital that we do so because it represents a critical anchor in difficult times. It is the antidote for a troubled heart.1
Trust in God – Faith, Assurance, and Peace
“Trust in God” was at the center of Pastor John Piper’s life when he was diagnosed in late 2005 with prostate cancer. In a letter to his congregation, he wrote:
The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both [the sin of self reliance and the stupor of the world]. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet.
For example, is there anything greater to hear and believe in the bottom of your heart than this: “God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)? 2
Trust in God / Trust in Christ – Two Sides of the Same Denarius
Trust in God, it seems, has both active and passive elements. We exercise our faith when we ask God for what we need (or want). It is, or should be, a daily process, according to the Lord’s Prayer. We sign mortgages on our homes, trusting that God will supply our needs and we will be able to pay the mortgage. We plant churches, trusting that God will draw people to himself and that the work of the kingdom will be advanced. Missionaries depart for the far corners of the globe, trusting that God will provide, protect, and prosper the work of their hands. Prayer itself is an act of trust as we invest time and energy in asking God for the many things on our hearts or lists, believing that God does reward those who diligently seek him. That is why Jesus promised: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).
It is a remarkable and often misunderstood promise that is easily exploited by the teachers of false gospels. The promise is true but tempered by the teaching that God answers all things in accordance with his will. Those who live in Christ and in whom his word lives will ask according to God’s will and find those requests fulfilled. Prayer is an expression of faith, just as is every act of obedience and every temptation resisted.
The other side of the denarius (a Roman coin) is that trust in God is also passive. Job, as much as anyone, demonstrated this passive aspect of trust when he said that no matter what God allowed to come his way, he would continue to trust in God. Four pithy statements from the account in Job summarize the reality of passive trust:
- “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)
- “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10)
- “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (Job 13:15)
- “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. (Job 19:25-26).
Trust in God – It’s Ultimately about Surrender
In our times of crisis, we pray fervently—perhaps even debating with God as Job did—that God might alter the circumstances, all the while remembering that prayer is an act of trust in God. But when God’s will reveals that we must pass through the crisis, we learn to surrender our will as an act of trust as well. Trust in God involves acceptance and an embrace of God’s will. It involves surrender to God’s will. Jesus prayed that he might not have to drink the cup, but then he surrendered to the will of God.
Rendered with permission from the book, Navigating Your Perfect Storm, Dr. Bob Wenz (Biblica, 2010). Compliments of Dr. Bob Wenz and his ministry, Renewing Total Worship. All rights reserved in the original.
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