Trusting God is the Goal

 

Doesn’t it seem logical to think that if you are a faithful follower of Jesus your life will go smoothly, except for a few bumps along the way?  Besides, isn’t a trouble free life directly related to the decisions you make along the way?

The above paragraph sure sounds good, but life is not always logical. The problem is  “life happens” along the way. Yes, it is true our decisions or lack of decisions do affect the quality of our life, but our best laid plans can be short circuited by those unexpected and unforeseen events that surprise us.

So the issue is not will we have circumstances that get us out of our comfort zone, but  rather the issue is how do we respond in the midst of the circumstances?   The greatest element in the midst of a major problem is the development of our perspective rather than the solution of our problem.  The solution is certainly an important aspect but our reaction is the key component to any crisis.

You can observe this principle at work throughout Scripture.  When the disciples were afraid in the midst of the storm at sea, they wondered why Jesus was asleep down below.  Jesus wanted them to have faith that He would take care of them in the storm.  To the disciples the storm was the issue; to Jesus, faith was the issue.

When Jesus was teaching the 5000 that had gathered in the countryside the disciples said, “Let’s send them home so they can get something to eat.”   Then Jesus said, “you feed them.”  The disciples immediately responded, “You want us to spend 200 denarii on bread?”  Again, the disciples missed the point. He wanted them to immediately trust God in the midst of any kind of crisis.  It never dawned on them that Jesus could provide a miraculous solution.

Just like the storm on the sea, this event was to test the disciple’s resolve to trust and depend upon God in every situation.  The same is true with us.  I am convinced that every problem and crisis is a test.  Will we worry and be full of doubt and fear, or will we trust Him to do what we can’t do on our own?

Instead of being full of worry and fear, God desires our immediate response to be, “Father, show me your will in this situation.”  God is active and involved in every aspect of your life, whether you sense it or not. You can either resort to worry or you can chose to believe that God is up to something in your life that will result in a new level of faith.

I like the way Henry Blackaby says it in his “Experiencing God” series; “Go to God and ask Him to help you see His perspective on your situation…When you face confusing circumstances, don’t start blaming God. Don’t just give up following Him. Go to God.  Ask Him to reveal the truth of your circumstances. Ask Him to show you His perspective. Then wait on the Lord.”*

Facing difficulties is really all about the process of teaching you to trust God. It’s about Jesus actively becoming Lord of your life.  That means He becomes the Focus, the Initiator and Director of your life. You will never know the truth of our circumstances until you have heard from God.*

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

*(Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God, Lifeway Press,1990)

Taking Risks

Recently I read an article by a missionary that reminded me of the courage of Caleb in the Bible. After a rereading the Scripture passages regarding this courageous servant, I was struck by his passion to take risks even in his old age.
Not long after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, Moses asked Caleb and other Israelite operatives to go spy out the land to see what it would take to overcome the enemy and capture the land. Everyone came back with a negative report, except Caleb (Numbers 14). The spies were full of fear and were totally faithless. The fear of the spies spread to the people, they became fearful and even complained to Moses that they should have stayed in Egypt.
But Caleb, who was 40 years old at the time, was full of faith and courage. He knew God would go before them and give them victory if they would just trust God and step out by faith.
Forty-five years later, after all the other spies had died, Caleb was once again confronted with an opportunity to trust God for the impossible. He boldly declared to Joshua, “My strength now is as my strength was (back) then, now give me this mountain…the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out as the Lord has spoken.” (Joshua 14:12)
After reading about Caleb I have determined I want to be like Caleb. He was not only courageous, but he was willing to step out by faith and take a risks. He was not resting on past obedience and experiences, but he was just as willing to boldly step out and trust God in his old age as he was when he was a young forty years old warrior.
Can you imagine the impact that Caleb’s faith and courage had on those young Israeli soldiers?  I am sure Caleb told the story of being tutored by Moses and how Moses sent him and the other men to survey the land forty-five years earlier. He must have reminded them that they will be the soldiers who chose to do what their ancestors would not do, and that is to have the courage to believe that the battle is the Lord’s.  They will partner with God and witness first-hand, the miraculous power of God. Their stories of conquest will be told for centuries.     What have I learned from the life of Caleb?
  1. Risk takers hear from God and go for it.
  2. Risk taking destroys all confidence in human strategy or models.
  3. Risk taking first involves obedience, even though the “how” is not yet visible.
  4. Trusting God for the impossible has no age barrier.
  5. God desires to use us at every stage of our life, if we will take the risk to follow His direction.
Will you be a risk-taker, stepping out in faith and be willing to obey God to make the way, even though you can’t see how it will all come together? I believe God is looking for some Caleb’s…those willing to say yes to the Lord. Would you be willing to forsake all that is safe and comfortable and follow His leading? Would you be willing to say to the Lord, “I am willing to be a Caleb, show me the way and I will go?”
“The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world.” – A.W.Tozer