Tag Archives: Trusting God

A Tangled Path, or a Straight One?

tangled path

straight path

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 straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6                                                      

To trust God is to believe in His reliability, truth, ability or strength. It means that you rely, depend, bank, or count on, and be sure of all that God is and what He promises.  Many times when there is some big rescue or feat, the newscasters will talk about “the indomitable human spirit” that made the people overcome.  When we put our trust in ourselves and our strength individually or collectively, we are missing the real source of our strength.  If we name the name of Jesus, the source of our strength is to be God and God alone.

In Genesis 11 we find the account of the Tower of Babel.  Everyone gathered together with the same language and said, Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, found in verse 4.  When God saw what they were doing He said, This is only the beginning of what they will do.  And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. God stepped in and confused their language and scattered them to the faces of the earth.

That is what happens when we decide to build or do anything in rebellion of the King of the Universe.  Sometimes we don’t plan to do things without God in rebellion, it’s just because we’re used to figuring things out on our own, counting on our own wisdom and desires.  But God calls us to consult and trust Him, not others and not ourselves.  To trust Him with all of our hearts means that we don’t have a backup plan.  God is our only plan.  And He will take care of the details of our obedience.

There is a promise in these two verses: God will make our paths straight.  Have you ever tried to accomplish something or get somewhere in life, but you keep getting twisted around?  Your dream or your desired goal might always end up just beyond your grasp. You take one step forward and end up three steps back.  Sometimes you don’t go backwards, you just go sideways.  Or you stall out.  Your route isn’t a straight line, but a tangled path.  If this is you, ask yourself this question: Are you acknowledging God in all your ways?  Are you doing things His way or your way?  

When you do things God’s way, things have a way of working out.  And your path will be straight, not a mess.  Step by step in the right direction leads to a habit and a routine and then a lifestyle of obeying God, trusting Him, and  consulting with Him before you make choices.  You can’t beat it.


Grumbling: Rebelling with our attitudes and our words

Therefore, when the Lord heard (their grumbling) He was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; His anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.  Psalm 78:21-22

The verses just before this explain, “God made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.  Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.  They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.  They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness?’”

This took place in the wilderness, when the children of Israel were in between Egypt and the Promised Land.  They grumbled and rebelled against God.  They tested God in their heart by demanding things of Him that they thought they were entitled to.  They sinned by speaking words of unbelief and complaining.  no grumbling 10 complaining.jpg

Have you ever complained about your circumstances?  We think we’re just venting, but really, we’re saying “God, You’re not good.”  And we can pray demanding prayers that are really complaints to God, saying what He is giving us isn’t enough.  And we tell ourselves and others that we really can’t trust God.  It is rebellion and it angers God.  Really–have you listened to yourself when you grumble?  Stop it.  

In response to Israel’s attitude, God was not only full of wrath, but a fire was kindled against Jacob.  That means that it was the start of God working against the Israelites, not for them.  That is never good.  But verse 23 has a merciful tone, in spite of God’s wrath being kindled: Yet He command the skies above and opened the doors of Heaven, and He rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of Heaven.

In other words, in spite of their lack of trust, reflected by their venting–God was still good to them!  Even when they didn’t deserve it, God gave them bread from Heaven to eat.  That is grace, giving us good gifts that we don’t deserve and didn’t earn.  It was also mercy, not giving them what they did deserve.  In Psalm 103:9-10 there are beautiful words of God’s character, “He will not always chide (accuse), nor will He keep His anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.”

We can anger God with our testing Him, saying that the weather stinks, our job is rotten, and we wish we had more of just about everything–money, vacation, or friends.  It’s not just run of the mill complaining, it is a lack of trust in the goodness of God.  But in the middle of it, God is still good to us, giving us our daily bread and not giving us what we deserve.  

Praise God for this!  We’re just like the Israelites, rebelling and grumbling.  God does something big and then we forget and whine for something bigger.  When we deserve to get wiped out, He opens the skies and rains down goodness upon us.  He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.

*Image from Howard Carter, Google Images


Our GPS

GPS.jpgI will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.  Psalm 32:8

This is one of my favorite promises in all of the Bible.  God promises to tell us where to go, and to counsel us with His eye upon us.  There are two parts to this.  The first is to teach us the right principles to make good choices on our own.  The second is to counsel us when the choices are between several things that all look good.  Or maybe they all look bad, like being between a rock and a hard place.  The promise part is that God has His eye on us, just like He has His eye on the sparrow.  Isn’t that comforting?

Our GPS voice on Google Maps, or whatever device you use, is a computer generated voice.  It doesn’t really care for us.  It doesn’t make value judgments.  It merely tells us the shortest route.  Some programs can take into account heavy traffic, but other than that, you don’t have an omniscient, provident God looking down in love telling us which way to turn.

There are times when I think I know better than my GPS voice and I have quite the argument with her.  I don’t have a name for her.  But if I did, I think it would be the name of my least favorite high school teacher.  One time I couldn’t figure out how to shut her off when I first got a Garmin, so I shut her in the compartment between the driver and passenger seat and her muffled directives rang out the whole trip.  So I turned up the music.

We can do the same thing to God.  There are times when we think we know better than Him, trying to shut off our GPS with Him.  “Stop it Holy Spirit!  Stop it.”  His voice rings in our heart the whole while.  He tells us to knock it off and we barrel on, suffering the consequences. And we turn up the music so we can’t hear His voice.  God gives us commands which are really for our provision and protection to guide us.  He also gives us the Holy Spirit who is with Christians always.  

On the positive side, when I don’t know what to do and I humbly ask for help, God is there to counsel me with His eye upon me.  I don’t always know that His leading hand is upon me, but I can look back and tell that it was.  One time my husband and I were travelling to my family’s side for Christmas, about a five hour trip.  We prayed before we left that we would have safe travels.  A snow storm blew up along the way, making travel treacherous.  

I was driving, and as we went through one town, my husband said as we were passing a gas station, “stop there for the restroom.”  I said we could go to the one a few blocks down the road since I was already past it.  He said he didn’t want to go then.  He’s a bathroom snob, which I was later to find out why (another story).  As I pulled into the other gas station to get gas, I locked the car door to go in and pay, with our coats inside the vehicle.  We got back outside and the fob wouldn’t work.  Apparently the battery was dead.  We went back into the station to call for some assistance, explaining what had happened, complete with cell phones inside car.  The person behind the counter asked what kind of vehicle we had, we said “Ford.”  She said, “Why don’t you go to the Ford dealership across the street then?”

Now there is an example of God taking care of us with His eye upon us.  In the midst of a snowstorm, with our coats in the car, we were locked out right across from a Ford dealership.  They gave us a new battery for free, installed it, and on we went!

Take God at His word today, following His instructions and trusting in His promises.  He will counsel you with His eye upon you.

 


Finding God in the Middle of the ‘Why’

Job

I know that You can do all things, and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.  Job 42:2

This is Job’s declaration at the end of not just a very bad day, but a bad stretch of years.  Job was God’s showcase to Satan that Job didn’t just serve God because of his riches and bountifully blessed life.  God wanted to prove to Satan that Job served and worshiped Him because of His character.  In a short stretch of time Job  his kids and his cattle all died.  Then he was afflicted with boils, and lots of them.

In the midst of this time of affliction, Job’s friends and wife accused Job of having some hidden sin to cause this.  God didn’t make sense to Job, but Job hung in there.  But he wanted answers to the questions of “why.”  God never told Job, but in the closing chapters of the book we see that God gave Job a view of God’s majesty in creation.

This verse was a part of Job’s response, saying in effect: “You are so big and I am so small.  Who am I to question such a magnificent and all-knowing God?”  There are times when God is silent in our lives and we may ask the same questions found in the book of Job.  Job never gave up on God or on searching for answers.  But in the middle of that quest, he didn’t get answers–He got God.

At a “Women of Faith” conference, Thelma Wells told of her daughter who was in her 30’s and single.  Her daughter told Thelma of her questioning of God and her distress over still being single.  She asked her mother to pray for her.  Thelma told her, “I’ll pray for you, but not for you to get married.  I will pray that you would fall madly in love with Jesus.”

Her daughter went away offended, thinking she already was in love with Jesus.  But her mother’s words spurred her on to spending large chunks of time with God over a period of months.  About a year later she came back to her mother and told her how God had totally changed her through that process and said, “Now I am madly in love with Jesus and it has changed me.”  She did get married not long after that.

Are you madly in love with Jesus?  Are you searching for the answer to something that has interrupted your life?  How can you find God in the middle of this quest, so that you can say with Job, “You’re God and I’m not.  Have Your way with me.  I trust You.”

*Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

 


God’s Providence

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  Genesis 50:20

Joseph is the one who uttered these words to his brothers.  If you haven’t read the story of Joseph, it is a must read!  It is told in Genesis chapters 37-50.  The general plot is this: Joseph was one of twelve sons of Jacob.  Jacob’s tree is the family line that Jesus comes through.  Joseph’s brothers didn’t like him and sold him to slave traders from Egypt. Despite the bad set of circumstances, Joseph had dreams from God that kept him trusting that there was somehow a plan.

He ended up being put in prison unjustly.  While there Joseph interpreted some very important dreams.  When he interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams about times of plenty followed by times of famine, Joseph was placed as second in command of all Egypt.

When famine struck, his brothers came to Egypt asking for food.  The same guys that wanted to kill Joseph and seemingly wrecked his life were asking for a favor.  Once Joseph revealed who he was, they were no doubt thinking they were in for pay back once their father Jacob died.  In Genesis 50:20 Jacob is dead and they think trouble is ahead.

Then Joseph speaks these profound words of forgiveness and trust in God’s providence: you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.  He used it to save your lives, and our whole family’s lives.  Joseph must have had words from God to lead him to this conclusion and not be bent on revenge.

providenceThere are so many ways this truth of God’s providence applies to our lives.  God does have a plan that He is working out for each of us.  We don’t have to resort to a victim mentality or give up on God when things don’t make sense.  Hold on.  God is good and He loves those He calls and adopts as His children.  That’s us.  That’s you.  Take hope in that today.  Trust God, obey Him and regardless, follow His footsteps in the dark.