by Stephen Altrogge
Let me brutally honest: when the poo hits the fan, trusting God becomes really hard.
I start to run all sorts of, “What if?” scenarios and calculations in my head. What if I can’t pay the bills? What if my kids don’t follow the Lord? What if these symptoms don’t go away? What if I have to deal with this fractured relationship for the rest of my life?
You get the point. Instead of trusting God who has promised to be faithful to me, I trust in my own ability to navigate the circumstances I’m facing.
Of course, this never ends well. I usually end up feeling really anxious, burdened, and like my own personal apocalypse is sure to happen.
So how can I learn to trust in God even when life is really hard and confusing? Here are five biblical strategies. Each one of these should be in my “trusting God” arsenal, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.
Trusting God Strategy #1: Lean Not On My Own Understanding
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “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.”
When I’m overwhelmed, burdened, and battered by life’s circumstances, I’m tempted to trust in myself rather than the Lord. The unfortunate reality is that sinful self-sufficiency is hardwired into me.
I’m tempted to believe that if I can devise the right strategy and make smart moves, I can get through life on my own. By my wit and grit.
Of course, this is utter nonsense. I’m not smart enough to navigate the dangerous shoals of life. I don’t have the strength or the wisdom to successfully weave through the minefields that I encounter.
Rather, God’s word calls me to trust in him with all my heart and to not lean one iota on my own understanding. When I’m tempted to fear and doubt and worry, God calls me to jettison my own understanding of the situation and trust him entirely.
The simple reality is that I don’t know all the glorious things God is doing in and through my circumstances. I love how John Piper puts it:
God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them…Not only may you see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in your life; the part you do see may make no sense to you.
Things might not make sense to me, but God knows exactly what he’s doing. Trusting God starts with not leaning on my own understanding and trusting God with ALL my heart.