Learning how to trust God
As a young believer, I had to learn how to trust God.
It wasn’t natural for me. It isn’t natural for any of us.
Just as toddlers exert their free will before they can say it clearly, we like to “do it by our self!” American culture only reinforces this innate self-willed resistance to trusting God.
Trusting God isn’t natural for any of us
My worry chair
When my wife and I started our life together, we had a wing-backed, turquoise chair in our living room. It was vintage modern furniture from the 1960s. My dear grandmother gave it to us when we set up our new home and life together.
It was the first piece of furniture I’d see when I walked through the front door. I came to call it my worry chair. I would sit down and worry about things, sometimes for hours.
For many months, as a young husband and father, I looked for work and worried about providing for my family. Other worries involved my future—what would I do with my life? As I worried about one thing, it seemed to branch out to other things to worry about.
On and on it would go till I got up from the worry chair more burdened than when I sat down — focused on whatever problems I faced at the time.
Learning to trust
On the wall facing the chair was an illustrated calligraphy of Proverbs 3:5–6. It became God’s way to remind me what to do about worry.
Slowly but surely, God taught me how to leave my worries with Him rather than wrestle with them in that chair. I learned to leave my worry chair behind and move forward in a life of faith—with an implicit trust in God.
Over the years these two verses became my bedrock and guideline for walking by faith. I learned to trust God with childlike faith. It sustained me and our family through decades of full-time ministry in the US and overseas.
The first verse says what to do and not do—
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
First, trust in the Lord with your whole heart. This isn’t easy in our distraction-filled world and risk-aversive culture but it’s essential. The second is don’t try to figure it all out. This requires trust—childlike trust.
This is the very thing Jesus spoke and taught people including His closest followers (Matt 6:25–34). It’s a lesson in faith that requires commitment. The Lord has a way of helping us do this. The lessons are reinforced with trials, testings, and temptations.
The next verse helps us see how to trust God and what to expect—
…in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
This lines up with my favorite description of faith in Hebrews 11:6—
No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Acknowledging God in all our ways means to bring Him into our life choices before we try to figure it all out. Typically, we look to God as a second or third choice, or as a last resort when we get desperate.
A life of genuine faith
At some point, we need to grow past what could be called toddler faith to a more mature faith. It still requires trusting God in a childlike manner as a first choice but it’s a mature faith because it’s been tested and proven.
God promises to direct us as we find our way through life—as we walk hand-in-hand with Him—like a young child with their father crossing a street or in a crowded area.
God is faithful and trustworthy even when we aren’t. He won’t let go of us, even when we wriggle our hand out of His to go our own way. When we get tired of going our own way, He’ll be there to take our hand again.
God is trustworthy. We can choose to trust Him in daily life or go it alone in our own strength.
Trust is active faith. It requires acknowledging God for who He is and our need for Him. We learn this as we trust in Him step by step through life.
Some final thoughts on learning to trust God
Learn to bring your concerns and worries to Jesus on a daily basis. Commit your dreams and plans to Him before launching out to make them happen.
Daily read the reminders of God’s faithfulness in His Word to help direct your prayer and to meditate on throughout the day as you trust in Him.
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