“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” (Luke 1:45)
These are Elizabeth’s words to Mary after the Immaculate Conception. When the angel Gabriel came to visit Mary and told her she was going to carry a child, she asked one question: “How can this be since I am engaged and a virgin?” The angel then explained to her that it would be done by God. And after she heard this her response was, “May it be to me as you have said.” (Verse 38). She didn’t laugh, she didn’t question, she didn’t ask about all the details, she trusted God. And Elizabeth said she was blessed because she trusted in God.
There is a great blessing when we trust God, when we believe God is who He says He is and we believe He will do what He says He will do. David is also someone who trusted God. Listen to these words he wrote after he escaped someone trying to kill him:
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. (Psalm 34:4-5)
David was in a scary situation and with all other options he might have had to get out, he called out to God. And because he put his trust in God he was able to receive wisdom that lead him to freedom in that situation. Trusting in God has the power to remove our fear, anxiety, desire to control, or worry. The blessing is that we are no longer shaken by what happens in the world or in our lives, but we do not always walk in that state of acknowledging God is able or willing.
I have found this to be heartbreakingly true for me. I unfortunately realized that I can relate more to the Israelite’s, stuck in captivity and doubt, than I would like to admit. Yes on certain days I can boldly claim some verses in my life, but when life gets really hard, I recoil and struggle to believe God is who says He is.
In the book of Exodus we read how God sets in place His plan to rescue Israelite’s from captivity. He goes to Moses and tells Moses; “I’m going to set the people free, you just trust me and go and tell the Israelite’s this and Pharaoh.” Moses goes to the Israelite’s to tell them and then he goes to Pharaoh and asks if Pharaoh would let the Israelite’s go for 3 days to worship God. This angers and frustrates Pharaoh, so he makes the working conditions unbearable and literally impossible to accomplish. The Israelite’s are now angry at Moses; “why did you do this to us?”, they say. Moses goes to them and says, “God is going to set you free!” And their response struck a cord with me like no other:
“But they did not listen to Moses because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.” – Exodus 6:9
God made a promise to His people, but instead of trusting in Him and His promises, their eyes were fixed on their situation. Their situation was so daunting and so overwhelming. They saw no hope, they saw no way God could do this. They saw Pharaoh as more powerful than God. Their trust was not in God!
Oh the heartache I felt when a year ago I knew that was me! How I so often believe my circumstances, situations, struggles, and dilemmas, are BIGGER than God! “Father, forgive me for my unbelief, help me believe! I so desperately want to believe You are bigger!” These have been my prayers!
I was tired of living and believing that God is small and not involved in my life or doesn’t care about my life. And I wasn’t not just tired of believing God is small, I was tired of relying on other things to COPE, to deal, to limp along in this life. I use shopping to cope, I try controlling situations to cope, I try controlling myself or other people to cope, I try venting to cope. I have all these ways of dealing with my discouraging/cruel situations and none of are going to bring me what I desire: peace, answers, security, like putting my trust in God. I became fed up with this in my life. I was tired of not experiencing what God has for me on this side of eternity.
Yes, James told us that we would face difficulties in this world, BUT Jesus said, do not worry because He has overcome the world! I got to a point where I was ready to trust in what God says over my circumstances. I was done with being tossed around by the waves of uncertainty in this world. I was tired of being the foolish builder who built his house on sand or the man who would go to the mirror and look at his face, but immediately forget what he looked like.
I was ready to take God at His Word, to believe God is who He says He is, to believe He is the same powerful, loving, Sovereign God that I see in Scripture. I was ready to have a faith like David, Joshua, Rahab, Peter, Paul, and John!
That’s what I love about David, David was a man who acknowledged His circumstances: God had promised him to be king, yet Saul and his son tried to kill him, David sinned; he committed adultery AND had his mistresses husband killed, He was pursued by his enemies, he had people hoping he would fail. Yet, we see in psalms he wrote that he would first and foremost acknowledge what was going on and then he ALWAYS went back to who God was or God’s promises. Listen to this from David:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” – Psalm 22:1
But one thing David does in almost every Psalm that he writes is to go back to the truth: The character of God and God’s promises:
“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One, you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; IN YOU THEY TRUSTED AND WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED.” – Psalm 22:3-5
David DEPENDED on God to get Him through his hard times and doubts. That was the blessing He received! He was not driven by his circumstances; no putting His trust in God was the blessing. But He only learned to depend on God by first doing it and then TRUSTING in God over believing his circumstances.
To begin our dependence on God and receive the blessing, we must put situations, struggles and worries into God’s hands. Not just a simple prayer as we’re driving down the road. This requires an intentional, seeking His face in prayer and His word and seeking to listen to His voice. Those quick prayers in the car are useful (when a worry comes up, I do this to lay it down), but we have to take some intentional time in our days to sit before Him, focus on Him. Since we live in a culture where it’s easy to be self-sufficient or we have many ways to resolve situations at our fingertips it almost has to be a retraining period, “oh wait, I can go to God with this!”.
Second, but equally important, is that we must know God’s character. Isaiah 26:3 tells us“ You (God) keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” So we allow ourselves to experience Him, like I stated, but it’s also important to take time to learn about Him through intentional study time in His Word. The more we know God, his character and his promises, the more we’re going to go to Him with the big and small things. I saw that my time with Him had a huge impact on how I saw people and situations I was facing in a profound way. The more I grew in my knowledge of Christ, I was willing to put that knowledge into practice by trusting Him with the day to day or big situations in my life.
Third, give thanks and praising God when He responds – This is just what David did in the psalms! He cried out to God and then when God responded, He acknowledged His mighty hand and praised God. When we acknowledge God’s movement in our lives then it helps strengthen our faith in Him. This is where our time with Him and knowing Him is crucial because it gives us the eyes to see what He’s doing: in the small and big situations. And just like David, we will be thankful for the way He responds. This could be acknowledging it a prayer you say to Him or writing it down, like David. I keep a journal with all my prayer requests and the dates that I pray them. And when God responds I go back and make note of what He did and every time I just sit in awe of how faithful He is. This of course just encourages me to continually go back to Him with the big and small stuff in my life.
What are you facing today, what thing(s) do you need to depend and trust in Him with? What is something that you can loosen your grip on and allow God to have complete control over? Trust in Him, depend on Him, taste and see that He is GOOD! It can be very scary to depend on God, because that means letting go of control of the situation, not doing anything to make it turn out the way you want it to. We process things like – what if God doesn’t do what I want? We want things done immediately!
He has given us the opportunity to experience much of Him on this side of heaven, which is one of the greatest blessings we have. So let’s take Him up on what He has to offer. Let’s depend on Him like He’s all we have!