Who do we trust? Family, our friends, our doctors. We probably all have writers, reporters, communicators we trust. We (hopefully!) trust our pastors and counselors. Most of us probably like to think that we are careful about extending trust to people we don’t know. But is that true? To quote 63% of clickbait headlines, “the answer might surprise you.” We actually extend trust every day without even thinking about it to people we don’t even know.
What I mean is I think that most of the time, our default setting is to assume people are telling us the truth. You probably don’t go through life assuming that everyone might be lying to you. We extend tiny bits of trust every day, from the person in the grocery store who tells us which aisle they think olives are on, to the news anchor who relates the details of a story. We trust that the people we encounter are, most of the time, doing their best to tell us the truth.
Ok, here’s the real question though: do we trust God? I ask that because while we would probably answer “yes” with our mouths, our lives often answer, “not really.” A guy in Harris Teeter tells you to check aisle 8 for olives, and off you go. The God of Creation tells us that he will provide for all of our needs, and we give him side eye and act like maybe he doesn’t mean it.
I think, when you get right down to it, we don’t really think God knows us, and we aren’t sure he knows what’s best for us. If it makes you feel any better, the Bible is full of people who felt the exact same way.
Even Jesus’s best friends sometimes had a hard time trusting him. In John 13-14, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be leaving them soon, and that they won’t be able to follow him. This bothers all of them and Chapter 14 is basically a back and forth between Jesus and the disciples. In the end, Jesus’s response to their concerns boils down do John 14:1, “You believe in God; believe also in me.” Basically, “I know this doesn’t feel right, but you can trust me.”
“I know trusting God isn’t always easy. But if it was, we wouldn’t need to trust him in the first place.”
I know trusting God isn’t always easy. But if it was, we wouldn’t need to trust him in the first place. Let me offer two reasons that I hope address our fears. Because I believe you can trust God, especially when it’s hard.
1. Because he knows us.
Let’s revisit our friend in the grocery store, we’re pretty familiar with him at this point. He’s revealed the location of the olives, but then for whatever reason says, “Can I offer you some advice?”
Most of us probably think “I would really rather you didn’t.” On the other hand, when a good friend or respected colleague says the exact same thing, chances are that our response is “Yes, please!” Why the difference? Trust. The stranger in the grocery store doesn’t know us. They don’t know circumstances or our story. For them to give “advice” feels like an unasked-for intrusion. But we welcome advice and counsel from people we love and respect, people who know us.
There is no one who knows you better than God. And it’s not particularly close. Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (NIV) God didn’t just pop you out of his Human Mold ™ when he made you; he carefully, lovingly created you to be YOU. There is no one who knows us better.
2. Because his plans for us are good.
Because God knows us best, we can trust that his plans for us are good. Far better, in fact, than any plans we could devise for ourselves. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV) We know that our family and friends want what’s best for us; we should extend the same trust to our Father in heaven as well. Even when nothing makes sense, we can trust that God sees us, that he hears us, and that he is working all things together for our good.
So what about you? What are you having trouble trusting God for? What area in your life do you need to offer up to him with open hands and believe that he knows you and that his plans for you are good?
What’s next? What keeps you from trusting God? What are you holding close that you need to give up to him in an act of trust?