It’s easy to say we trust God when everything is going our way. When life is good it’s effortless to think God is on our side. If everyone we love is safe and healthy, and our routines are normal and predictable, we feel like we are in tune with the world, including God. But do we truly trust God or are we just paying lip service to an ideal because things are going our way?
What happens when normal turns unpredictable? How close do we feel to God when sickness, financial challenges, and political mayhem rock our world? How easy is it to trust in God when your job is in jeopardy, your finances are on the brink of disaster and there is not enough of you to get through everything you have to do every day?
No matter how upside down your world turns, you don’t face it alone. Jesus Christ is with you every step of the way. Even when we feel distant from God, he is never the one who moved away.
Some people think that having faith in God means they will have a trouble free life. They believe problems are caused by a lack of faith or that God has abandoned them. But the Bible contradicts that idea.
Put yourself in the sandals of a few of God’s people in the Bible who faced upheaval in their lives. Job, in a matter of just a few hours lost his children, his financial resources, and ultimately his health. Joseph was sold into slavery and thrown into prison. Moses and the children of Israel faced annihilation by Egypt’s powerful army at the Red Sea. Daniel was tossed into the lions’ den. Paul was beaten, stoned, and left for dead on his missionary journeys. Mary was a pregnant unwed mother. The list goes on and on.
Yet in each of those cases, God used the situation for good. Job received his wealth back several times over, was blessed with 10 more children, and lived another 140 years. Moses and the children of Israel escaped from the Egyptians and continued their journey to the promised land. Daniel’s witness converted the whole kingdom to worship the one true God of Daniel. Paul wrote most of the New Testament. And Mary became the most loved and revered woman in all of history.
We should view crises through the lens of God’s love, faithfulness and control. The Bible makes it clear that God offers security only in himself—not in money, not in possessions, not in a career, and not in other people. External things offer the illusion of security, but the Lord alone can be fully trusted. “The LORD is good; he protects his people in times of trouble; he takes care of those who turn to him” (Nahum 1:7, GNT).
In any crisis, it’s critical to remember God’s unfailing love and faithfulness, and his ability to use all situations for ultimate good. Why? Because it’s so easy to become discouraged and even lose hope in such times. It’s easy to forget that God loves you, especially when adversity first strikes—or goes on and on for what feels like an eternity.
God loves you, and throughout your whole life remains intimately involved with you as an individual – when times are good and most especially when life is challenging.
“For God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.’ Let us be bold, then, and say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6, GNT) “Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death? No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!” (Romans 8:35, 37, GNT). As said above, when God feels distant, he did not move away from us.
Even in a crisis, we can find clear evidence of the Lord’s love if we look hard enough and turn our suffering over to him. God uses challenging circumstances for our ultimate benefit. And the primary good that God works in our lives is to make us more like Christ. Often, in difficult circumstances, our only choice is to turn to God.
Please don’t miss this point. You and I need to recognize difficulties as opportunities to grow into the people God wants us to be. In adversity we learn things we just couldn’t learn any other way. We’ll never know how God uses our suffering to help others.
One of my favorite Christian songs is “Jesus Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me. An excerpt of the lyrics follows:
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It’s never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on You, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain.
It can be difficult to trust in God in the middle of life’s storms when the rain is pouring down. Sounds so simple, yet it can be difficult. A dictionary definition of trust is “one in whom confidence is placed.” If our trust is in God, then no matter what happens, we will turn TO Him instead of AWAY from him. Trust in God means you keep praying even when your prayers seem to have no effect.
Trust means that just like Job, you keep saying: “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)