Have you ever gone through a season of life when everything changes? A curveball that has left you unsure, pulled the rug out from under you, changed you?
Maybe everything changed because you lost a loved one, or a vital relationship in your life takes a hit and you feel like you’ve lost a loved one. Maybe your husband’s career takes an unexpected turn or the church you have been a part of closes it’s doors after years of faithful service. Maybe a failure has knocked you down one time too many times. Maybe someone in your life was not who you thought they were, or maybe a circumstance was not what you thought it would be. You know what I am talking about- when everything changes… those life curves, sudden realizations, that often change the very person you are, the way you see things, the way you think- the kind of changes that rock your beliefs and cause you to second guess every conviction you have, the kind of changes that have the potential to make you doubt who you are in Christ, whether or not you really had faith all along… yeah, THOSE kind of changes.
I realize the torture, the anxiety of my circumstance, does not come from the One Who loves me.
I have definitely been through those kind of changes, those life-altering moments, more than once in my life so far, and I am sure that you have too. It never ceases to amaze me how fragile we humans really are aside from Jesus Christ. When things happen that rock our world, the first thing we do is ask “Why did this happen?” Our minds immediately begin to try to come up with the answer and emotional torture rears its ugly head to commence the beating. Now, I am all for asking the question “WHY?” –we need to examine the ‘why’ to know if there are areas where we need to change or grow, but I have also just come to a point in my life where I realize the torture, the anxiety of my circumstance, does not come from the One Who loves me. Anxiety, stress, confusion, condemnation, hopelessness… It all serves one purpose: to steal, kill and destroy from who we are in Christ. The enemy knows all to well how to kick us when we are down in life. Aren’t you tired of being beat up into an anxious mess? I know I am.
Philippians 4:6-8 says,
” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
When you torture yourself with the WHY question, guess what? You are being anxious. When you rehearse a situation over and over in your mind, anxiety and condemnation will dominate. According to the Webster’s 1828 dictionary, Anxious means:
1. Greatly concerned or solicitous, respecting something future or unknown; being in painful suspense; applied to persons; as, to be anxious for the issue of a battle. 2. Full of solicitude; unquiet; applied to things; as anxious thoughts or labor. (bold emphasis mine)
I know it is hard to swallow, but the truth is, when we are anxious, there is something VERY important that we are NOT doing : we are not trusting the Lord. Trust is such a big commitment, and again, Webster’s helps us to put the meaning of trust into perspective:
1. Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.
He that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Prov.29.2. He or that which is the ground of confidence.
O Lord God, thou art my trust from my youth. Ps.71.
v.t. To place confidence in; to rely on.
2. To commit to the care of, in confidence. Trust your Maker with yourself and all your concerns.
v.i. To be confident of something present or future.
From this definition, we can see that trust can be a noun or a verb, and rightly so, because sometimes, when everything changes in your life and you are holding on for dear life, you don’t always posses the character of trust in an instant. Sometimes, trust must be decided, acted upon, thus making it the verb. As I have waded through the storms of life with the Lord I have found that trust in the Lord is just that: confidence in HIM, and Him alone. When I am facing something that shakes me to my core, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can trust Him to see me through because I know Him. I may not know how anything else is going to turn out, but I know my Lord. I may not know how others might react, but I know my Lord. I may not know how groceries will be paid for this month: but I know my Lord. I may not know how and when a child’s heart will soften to His Call, but I know my Lord. Precious one, the key to trust, is to KNOW HIM. People all around the world claim to know Jesus, yet they have no idea who He really IS- or who they are in light of Him. And as much as I personally would like to think I know Him, I recognize continually that I need to know Him more, because knowing Him more reveals who I should be!
If you are struggling to trust Him in a circumstance, use this as an opportunity to get to know Him. Maybe you know Him as Savior, but right now you need to know Him as Healer – pull out that bible and start looking up every verse about healing you can find. In your prayer time, ask Him to be your Healer and to show Himself strong to you in that area. Maybe you have seen Him work miracles in your life, but now, you need Him to be your Counselor in relationships… oh He is that and so much more. All that we have need of is found in Him, but few ever give Him a chance to show them personally! Many times, it is not necessarily the circumstance or other person that should be our focus… our focus should always be to make Him Lord in our daily lives and know Him better each day!
Here are four steps that have helped me in nurturing my trust in the Lord:
- READ – Beloved, we cannot always trust in other people or circumstances, but we can fully trust that He is good and that He loves us and that His intentions are always good toward us! If you do not believe me, open up that precious bible and see for yourself! The scriptures are FILLED with example after example of how the Lord God is faithful to His people! When you take this first step, regardless of how you feel, you are putting action to your trust in Him. Letting the Word of God wash over you and transform how you think about the situation you are facing will do wonders alone. So take time each day to read your bible, and do it with purpose rather than just random reading. Think of a need in your life, and study that. This will be much more fruitful in your life.
- PRAY– Taking the time to pray and talk with your heavenly Father is another way to put action to your trust. Spending time with Him is crucial, when you pray, worship and talk with God, you are in His wonderful Presence. There is no better place to be in my opinion, it is amazing to me how many times I have gone into the presence of the Lord burdened down with guilt, anger, bitterness, confusion, etc… only to come out from His Presence in love, peace, wisdom and joy. If you have trouble entering into His Presence, put on your favorite worship music and begin to thank Him for all the things you can think of that you are grateful for that have come from His Hand… but don’t give up! Sometimes, it takes a little training and practice before we allow ourselves into His Presence, regardless of whether or not you ‘feel’ anything, know that He is there and He is listening!
- STAND– The third thing that you must do in order to put action to your trust is to be anxious for NOTHING, this is probably the most difficult. You read your bible and get all excited about what the Lord has to say about your situation, you spend time in His Presence and all is well… until you walk out of your spiritual bubble and have that thing staring you in the face again. Don’t panic! Take a deep breath and learn to use your sword, which is the word of God, where you began in the first place.
- Finally, WATCH your thoughts! Scripture is very clear that our minds are to think on good things, true things, lovely things. This doesn’t mean that you neglect the hurt or deny the sin or ignore a negative truth…it only means that you have previously poured that thing out to God in prayer, with thanksgiving and have left it in His very capable hands. There’s no need to keep revisiting it in your mind if you are truly trusting Him with it.
Trusting in the Lord will never put you to shame dear one, but remember, His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) Part of trusting Him is recognizing that He is bigger, wiser and more capable than us to handle our situations through His Word, Presence and our obedience. Take time today to put your trust in Him and commit to that decision for the long haul! You won’t be disappointed!