To trust God is not just to accord Him mental assent. As in every relationship, trust is usually earned, it is dependent on the character of the party in question. Even if Lord Jesus is absolutely dependable, we still need to learn to trust Him in the face of earthly challenges.
Scripture has a good number of stories of people learning to work through a relationship with God. Sometimes, they were very skeptical of the speaker and the message.
Abraham was called by God to a journey of faith, he believed and obeyed. However, the promise of God to make him the father of many nations through his much aged wife, Sarah seemed to be unrealistic. Although He had seen God’s intervention several times, this child of promise was not one he was optimistic about.
He begged God to make Ishmael, son of Hagar his Egyptian slave, the son of promise (Genesis 17:17-18). At another time, he spoke to God about how his trusted servant, Eliezer of Damascus would take his place (Genesis 15:2-4). But God had just begun in Abraham’s life.
When the child of promise, Isaac was born by Sarah who had long past child bearing age, Abraham was in for another level of trusting God. It was this experience that spurred Him to obey God in sacrificing Isaac, his only son. He trusted God and believed that God was able to bring his son back to life again after the sacrifice. “And God did”.
For Moses at the burning bush, he did not see how he was a good choice for use as the messenger of deliverance (Exodus 4:10). When Pharaoh acted against his plea, Moses thought that Yahweh’s decision only served to increase the burden of slavery on Israel, not liberating them as expected.
Yahweh’s ways did not make much sense to Moses (Exodus 5:22-23). But when Yahweh had finished with Moses, he was the meekest man on the planet, humbled under the mighty hand of God and a firm advocate for trusting in Yahweh.
For Gideon at a time of enemy oppression, he could not see how God could make Him a mighty warrior. He was the least from a family of the weakest clan in one of the least tribes of Israel (Judges 6:15). By all earthly qualifications, he felt like the least worthy. He doubted God’s word and needed miraculous evidence to convince him. God proved Himself trustworthy and Gideon obeyed (Judges 6:20-23; 36-40).
He had gotten into such a trustworthy relationship with God that he obeyed God by trimming down an initial army of thirty-two thousand men to just three hundred men armed with trumpets, empty jars and torches (how ridiculous this strategy would have been in the sight of one who had not known Yahweh). And when God was through with Gideon, he was a mere man made mighty by trusting God.
We remember Ananias, a godly man in Damascus. He was sent by God to pray for Saul, the top persecutor of the Church who had become blind when he encountered Lord Jesus on his way to Damascus. With shock and fear, Ananias could not understand how returning the sight of a persecutor of the Church would further the cause of Christ (Acts 9:10-16). But when God had spoken to him, Ananias was up to another dimension of trust in God. The fruit of his obedience still abides with us today. God raised a mighty Apostle out of the persecution troops. Although Paul never counted himself worthy of the calling of God, God chose him, qualified him and used him mightily. He had learnt to overcome by trusting God.
What about the disciples of Lord Jesus? How many experiences did they need to have to know who the Master truly was? Countless experiences. Like Peter, they were all men unworthy of the Master’s call. They were full of fears and doubts even in the presence of the Beloved Son of God. Their trust grew with each encounter, however, they could never come to that point of intimate trust in God until they were empowered with Holy Spirit.
From the experiences shared above, we can say that:
No man can qualify himself for God’s use, it is God Who chooses and qualifies. No man can boast before God hence, God receives all the glory.
We will all go through periods of uncertainty in our walk with God. Although we may have heard that God is absolutely reliable and that we may even have the mental assent, we will learn it by experiences, usually unpleasant ones in this world.
God is faithful and long suffering with us in our weaknesses. When we question His words and ways, He is loving and compassionate to prove Himself trustworthy.
God earns our trust because He deserves it and wants us to have a fruitful dependence on Him.
Finally, it is God Himself that empowers us to trust Him and when He does, we are prepared to endure for His Name’s sake.
Jesus Christ our Lord remains the ultimate example in trusting the Father. Like a sheep being taken to be killed, He did not utter a word but submitted Himself completely to His Father’s Will. In due course, He arose from the grave and and took His seat at the right hand of power. The Father desires this, that all the adopted sons should be like the eldest Son, trusting Him completely in all things.