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Obedience in an evil world: surrendering your plans to Him

Sometimes, cliché phrases just bother me. Not because the meaning behind the phrase isn't genuine or holds no value but because it is casual and frequent use diminishes its original meaning. One of those phrases is “Just trust God.”


Illustration by Emma Scrivner

“Trust” means a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” As Christians, we are called to put our trust in God. The Bible tells us that He never fails us (Psalm 13:5), He loves us unconditionally (Romans 6:23), and He has a perfect plan for our life (Jeremiah 29:11). Whether a person is raised in church or is a new believer, he or she has probably heard songs like “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus” or “Trust in God.” I'm not saying these songs are wrong or that a person shouldn't trust in God, but the oversimplification and overuse of the phrase “just trust God” can lead to a false understanding of its message. 


Think about it this way: if you are doing a trust fall, you are TRUSTING those people to catch you. Should you trust them? Yes. Does that make it easy to trust them? No. I think the same goes for trusting God. If you look at your life and the things that have happened to you, you can see the evidence of Him working in your life. He has shown up for you, your family, and your friends in both large and small ways. He’s provided you with every reason to trust him, yet somehow, we all still struggle to really trust Him with our lives.  Has he done anything to prove he is untrustworthy? No. So why do we struggle to trust?


I think many of my generation’s trust issues stem from a prideful desire for control. We can't keep up because the world is changing at warp speed. People are hurting, catastrophic events are happening, and meanwhile, here we are, just trying to pass classes, graduate, and somehow be successful one day. It’s no wonder we have trust issues. If I can't trust the people and events in the world, how can I trust the one who created the world? We want to control the outcome of events, how people treat us, and our future. We pridefully wish for the “dream life” of two kids with a husband who supports our family well, but we can’t control that. We can, however, humbly trust God to provide and protect us when we realize that the Lord’s plan for our lives is far greater than anything we could imagine. 


Another critical factor that proves to be a deterrent from “just trusting God” is that life is hard if we're being honest. Whether it's a hard day, week, or a difficult season, everyone will struggle to find joy in the Lord. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” God’s promises are explicit. He promises to love us. He promises a future in heaven for his people and never to leave us, but He never promises that life will be easy. What he does promise, however, is that he causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. 


This is all great. Yeah, you should trust the Lord. Yeah, it's not easy. Yeah, it goes against what the world says. But how? How do you practically walk in faith, trusting the Lord daily with every little thing? How do you confidently trust the Lord’s plan for your future when you can't see it all laid out before you? I think it starts with taking three baby steps:

  1. Seek accountability. Find someone unafraid to lovingly correct you and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.  Acts 2:2 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers,'' giving the perfect example of what a Gospel-centered community should look like. As the disciples fellowshiped with one another, they also prayed together. 

  2. Spend time in the word daily. Read the stories of the Israelites, Ruth, the Church in Acts, and Paul in his New Testament letters. When you can see that people in the past trusted Him, and He was faithful to provide, you can know that you can trust him now. 

  3. Make the next right choice. Wake up tomorrow morning and choose to obey Him in one new way. Whether it’s the words you say, the company you keep, or the things you do, decide to do the right thing. The sweetest times in life come when you walk in obedience to Him. 

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