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Learning to Trust God: 3 Thoughtful Reasons to Trust God In An Increasingly Godless World

 

God's Word heals lives. I've seen it in my own life and in the lives of others. A relationship with God is the pathway to purpose and peace, but learning to trust God is a skillset that must be developed over time. 

It isn't always easy to do, nor are the reasons for trusting God always easy to see. But trusting God is crucial to walking with Him.

Why Should We Trust God?

Like any good relationship, our relationship with God requires trust. Typically, there are people in your life who have earned your trust through reliability and integrity displayed over time.

You’ll find that God has given us all some very good reasons to trust His reliability and integrity, although we don’t always see them for what they are.

So, consider these 3 Reasons to Trust God In An Increasingly Godless World -- His Provision, His Word, and His Character:

  • His Provision – The Bible begins with the miraculous story of the created world which God spoke into being out of nothingness.

The results of scientific inquiry have reported that there are numerous constants throughout the universe which work together to provide a habitable environment for us.

These cosmological constants appear to be set in very precise measure. Even subtle shifts in any direction would be sufficient to make life impermissible, despite the fact that scientists can’t seem to find naturalistic reasons as to why they are set the way they are. They just are.

It could have happened differently. This universe could easily be so hostile to life that we would never be able to inhabit, study, and appreciate it.

But it isn’t. Why?

Because His heart was to create a people for Himself that He might dwell among us (Ex. 25:8; John 1:14; Rev. 21:3), and this created order is His provision for us.

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

~ Isaac Newton

  • His Word – At present, science and Christianity seem to be locked into an ongoing battle with one another, but perhaps there’s more to the story.

Although the Big-Bang Theory is promoted as a nail in Christianity’s coffin, it is actually quite friendly to the Christian Worldview.

It provides solid evidence that the world did, in fact, come into existence at a definite time in the past, as opposed to having existed forever.

For scientists, this was a bombshell of a finding. Einstein, for instance, had to be coaxed into believing that the cosmos had a definite beginning.

For theologians, however, it was very old news.

The Big-Bang Theory didn’t so much conflict with the Genesis account as skeptics might have thought. Instead, it corroborates the Genesis account, demonstrating that God’s word – from the very beginning – is reliable.

Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the Biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”

~ Dr. Robert Jastrow, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Sciences

  • His character – The person and work of Jesus is by far the greatest expression of God’s character. As a morally just being, God cannot overlook injustice.

But justice, by its nature, requires retribution. Unfortunately, the payment required for our sinful transgression is too high for us to pay – it will cost us our very lives.

So, God allowed Himself to take on human form so that He could pay it Himself, and then transfer the benefit of His payment to us.

This shows us that His character is both just and merciful. God’s character can be trusted.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many

~ Jesus, in Mark 10:45

So, if all this is true, then why is it so hard to trust God?

Why do we struggle to trust God

During the summer of 2000, a movie called The Perfect Storm was released to a box-office-topping weekend.

It retold the harrowing story of an ill-fated fishing vessel caught in the intersection of multiple bad weather conditions – The Perfect Storm – ultimately taking the lives of everyone on board.

We Christians suffer our own perfect storm as it relates to the very real turmoil we occasionally experience trusting God for ourselves.

Here are some elements of our Spiritual Perfect Storm which makes trusting God harder than it ought to be:

  • The corruption of human nature – Our flesh is constantly lying to us about what’s real, what’s good, and what’s true/trustworthy, so this easily keeps us from trusting God.
  • Our limited human perspective – We simply can’t know everything all the time, or see things clearly all the time. Any thing that falls outside of our limited understanding or perspective (like painful, but ultimately beneficial life circumstances) will cause us to have real difficulty in trusting God.
  • Our desire for comfort & control – Have you ever noticed that you never grip the steering wheel nervously when you’re the one driving? But turn the wheel over to someone else, and it can be much more difficult to relax and enjoy the ride. Part of the reason that trusting God is a struggle, is because we desire comfort and control.
  • Exposure to good & bad theology – We never know what we don’t know. If we’ve been taught something (about God, or salvation, or the Bible, or the Christian Life) that is incorrect, we may not know it. Those mistaken notions set us up for expectations that don’t get met. When that happens, our trust in God plummets.
  • Being too afraid to ask questions – Sometimes we feel like asking questions to church leaders or teachers exposes some sort of weakness in our faith, or is unwelcome. God is not afraid of your questions, and there are people who will help you find the answers you need. Staying stuck in confusion – especially when you don’t have to – makes it very hard to trust God.

Defining Trust, So We Know What It Means To Trust God

But before we unpack the meaning of ‘trust in God,’ we should examine what exactly we mean by the word ‘trust.’

According to Merriam-Webster Online, trust means:

The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something[1]

In practice, trust isn’t just a mental acknowledgement. It always gets played out in some kind of action.

  • As we grow up, we trust the character of our parents and teachers by cooperating with their instructions.
  • When we vacation, we trust the ability of the plane to maneuver its way safely to our destination.
  • When we put something away on a high shelf, we trust the strength of the ladder we climb.

In other words, when trust truly exists, we tend to act from that place of trust in accordance with the object of our trust.

With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to trusting God.

Now, what does it mean to trust God? 

And just as importantly, what does it not mean?

Trusting God Doesn’t Mean:

  • Embracing an overly-simplistic presumption that God is real, just because our parents and preachers said so. Sincere faith doesn’t have to be blind faith. (link to video) We shouldn’t resist the idea of basing our belief in God on available evidence.
  • Never asking questions. Rebekah, David, and ‘the Sons of Israel’ are all recorded as inquiring of the Lord. Some people (and churches) insist that asking questions about God, the Bible, and Jesus is somehow bad, but it isn’t.
  • Assuming God will work things out the way you wanted or expected. Remember…Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for the opportunity to get to do things differently, if possible. So, when God doesn’t do what you thought He would do, you can still trust God to be working all things for your good.
  • Never having doubts. I’ve never doubted God’s existence, but I’ve certainly doubted His care for me. Anyone who tells you they’ve never wrestled through doubt is (most likely) not telling you the truth. Doubt happens, but it can actually lead you to dig a little deeper in your faith, which will most likely help you to learn to trust God.
  • Assuming that God will just give you everything you want. He’s not a supernatural vending machine. We don’t have the option of pumping Him full of tokens & pushing buttons in order to get our desired result.

What Trusting God Does Mean:

  • Coming to a studied conclusion and personal conviction about the reality of God’s existence. I can currently point to about 9 reasons why I’m confident that God is real without having to base any discussion on my own personal experience. As a result:
    • I’m much less apathetic about spending time with Him in the morning
    • Worship (both personal and corporate) is sweeter
    • Consistency in personal Bible Study comes much more naturally and effortlessly
    • Serving God is my central focus of each day
    • I’m much more prepared to answer the challenges and questions of those who are skeptical or struggling in their faith.
  • Asking the right questions with the right attitude. God has revealed Himself to us in ways that are knowable, but He hasn’t necessarily revealed all there is to know.

The Bible tells us that “the things that are revealed are for us and our children forever” but that the “secret things belong to the Lord our God.” (Deut. 29:29)

We won’t always get answers to our questions, but we are always welcome to dig for a deeper understanding of the revealed things. He wants us to know them. That’s why He revealed them to us in the first place.

  • Understanding that God will always work things out in ways that are best. Many a faith has been shaken when a desperate soul prayed for a desired outcome which God did not grant.

We shouldn’t rest our confidence on a god who behaves like a genie in a bottle. Ultimately, that kind of god serves us and our whims.

The One True Living God, however, reigns from a throne which rests on a foundation of righteousness and justice (Ps. 97:2). Because part of God’s essential nature is holiness, He can always be trusted to do what is fair, right, and best.

  • Working to resolve the doubts that get raised. Whenever doubts arise – and they will – we should go about the task of remembering who God is and what He has done for us:
    • He’s the Almighty Creator who has graciously created the world in such a way that it is both beautiful and life-permitting.
    • He’s the Merciful Judge who provided to us a Savior at great cost to Himself.
    • He’s the able Father who makes Himself available to answer prayer and provide for our needs.
    • He’s the trustworthy Communicator who has left us His Word so that we may know His work and share in it.

Rather than running for the hills when we get nervous about something, we should slow down, remember who He is (and what He’s done) so that we can work through our doubts with our reason, His Word, and good counsel.

  • Accepting His correction & redirection. One of the hardest things to accept about God is that He doesn’t necessarily see things the way we do.

Whenever there’s a difference of opinion about what is right and good, we’ve got to learn that God can always be trusted to tell the truth, and lead in ways that are consistent with His character.

Sometimes, that means that a prayer request will get denied. Or maybe we will be forced to endure the consequence of our poor decisions. At the very least, we will be challenged to abandon our autonomous thinking and take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Either way, His correction and redirection are not a rejection. Instead, they are the necessary tools used to create within us His reflection.

Learning to trust God ultimately results in committed obedience to Him, which serves to make our invisible God, visible to others.

This, after all, is the true purpose of loving, serving, following, and trusting God. We are His people, created for His glory. We did not create ourselves. He created us to be in relationship with Him, to be his representatives in all that we do, and to pass on the knowledge of Him to the succeeding generations.

In an increasingly godless world, this is getting harder and harder to do.

Teaching the Next Generation to Trust God Day By Day

Research shows that Christianity has been on the decline for some time now. If we understand the the entire witness of Scripture compels us to live lives that equip the Next Generation with faith in Christ, we must also understand that the rules of the game have changed.

No longer is it sufficient simply to go to Sunday School and assume that our kids are getting what they need to face a world which is increasingly secular, increasingly dependent on technology, and increasingly hostile to matters of faith. Recent research on Christian De-Conversions (those who profess Christ at one point, but later renounce it) show that not everyone who grows up in church will develop a faith that lasts.

We must be much more intentional day-by-day, practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer, solitude, and Bible Study within our own lives so that we can pass them on to others -- especially our youth. 

If you're not sure how to have a truly effective quiet time or daily devotional for yourself, you can always consult my DAILY DEVOTIONAL CHECKLIST on my RESOURCES PAGE.

If you'd like to know how to streamline your prayer requests, download my FREE PRAYER REQUEST WORKSHEETS HERE.

But if you are disturbed by the loss of faith among Millennials and Generation Z, you'll be relieved to know that Christian De-Conversion stories provide us some rich information as to how we can rescue the faith of the Next Generation.

If you're interested in that, watch this video to learn 4 Ways to Raise Christian Kids Who STAY Christian For A Lifetime:

 

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trust?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld

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I teach women of Christ who are frustrated and intimidated by the relentless influence of an increasingly secular society how to :

* Walk closely with God in an increasingly godless world

* Find answers to the questions you are too shy to ask in church

* Raise kids whose faith outlasts the scary statistics

* Develop your Christian Confidence so you can have effective, relaxed conversations with those who struggle with this whole Jesus thing.

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