Can I Really Trust God? by Jerry Bridges
What You Absolutely Need to Know When Life Gets Scary
Several years ago, doctors found a large malignant tumor in my wife's abdominal cavity. She went through radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and all of the pain, nausea, and months of anxious waiting that go along with this disease. Watching her suffer cut me to the heart. After many months, the Lord ended her struggle through death.
Trust and Obey?
I know something of the distress, despair, and darkness that fill our souls when we wonder if God truly cares about our plight. I have spent a good portion of my adult life encouraging people to pursue holiness and to obey God. Yet, I acknowledge it often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him.
For many years in my own pilgrimage toward trusting God—I am still far from the end of the journey—I was a prisoner of my feelings. I mistakenly thought I could not trust God unless I felt like trusting Him (which I almost never did in times of adversity). Now I am learning that trusting God is a matter of the will; it is not dependent on my feelings. I choose to trust God and my feelings eventually follow.
Trust in the Dark
We may, however, sometimes lose the sense of God's presence and help. Job, in his distress, could not find God. He said:
But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. —Job 23:8-10
The Scriptures teach us three essential truths about God that we must believe if we are to trust Him in adversity.
- God is completely sovereign
- God is infinite in wisdom.
- God is perfect in love
Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? —Lam. 3:37-38
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. —Lam. 3:32-33
To know Him is to trust Him.
In order to trust God, we must know Him in an intimate, personal way. David said in Ps. 9:10, "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." To know God's name is to know Him intimately. It is more than just knowing facts about God. It is coming into a deeper personal relationship with Him as a result of seeking Him in the midst of our pain and discovering Him to be trustworthy. Only as we know God in this personal way do we come to trust Him.