April 1, 2016

Trust God

When my daughter, Catey, was in her second year of college, she made plans to spend four months of her junior year in Mexico as an exchange student. Though I had misgivings about her living so far away from home, there was comfort in knowing I could take my concerns to the Lord and He would go with her. I told the Lord I was worried she would be placed with people opposed to the Gospel, and also that she would not have a private place to pray. In addition, I feared someone in the household might try to harm her, or that the house would not be secure from intruders. Another concern was that she would get homesick. I hoped some of the food would be familiar to her.

On her first day in Mexico, Catey called and told me about her new accommodations. She had been placed with a single woman who had converted to Christianity three years earlier, and she had been given her own space—a bedroom and bathroom. In addition, the house was surrounded by a fence, and for her first breakfast, she was served oatmeal, fruit, and eggs—exactly what she ate at home!

I was so grateful to the Lord for answering each of my concerns specifically. It showed just how much He cares, and confirmed that He could be trusted with everything. I did not even realize, though, to what extent the Lord had answered until my trip to Mexico to visit Catey. As we approached the house where she was staying, the fence immediately caught my attention. I don’t know what I was expecting—maybe a picket fence or a four-foot-high chain link fence, though my hope was for a six-foot privacy fence. What I saw was a nine-foot-high concrete wall topped by steel bars, with an equally formidable locked gate! We joked about it at the time, but now in looking back, that wall serves as a vivid reminder that we can trust God. He is more than willing and able to help with any situation that causes us concern.

Whether our concerns relate to our children or our relationships, health problems or fear for our safety, tight finances or an uncertain future, we can safely place our trust in God.

It is never easy, when we are anxious about something, to forfeit control to another. However, whether our concerns relate to our children or our relationships, health problems or fear for our safety, tight finances or an uncertain future, we can safely place our trust in God. In fact, there are many reasons why it is best to do so. Here are just a few.

God loves us. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our care upon God, because He cares for us. How much God cares can be seen in the life of Christ Jesus, “who being in the form of God,” voluntarily left the glories of Heaven and “took upon him the form of a servant,” to live among us. Then He, “being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Jesus spent the three years prior to His crucifixion ministering to others. He healed the sick, cast out devils, raised the dead, and preached the kingdom of Heaven. When news of His miracles spread, and He was inundated by large crowds, He never turned anyone away. Instead, He continually set aside His own needs to meet the needs of every person who came to Him. One time, when He went to a solitary place to pray and received word that “all men seek for thee,” He left off praying to preach (Mark 1:35-37). Another time, when He went “into a desert place apart” after the death of John the Baptist, and a great multitude followed, He turned and healed their sick (Matthew 14:13-14). Twice, when He “could not so much as eat bread” for the multitude that had gathered, it appears that He left off eating to teach (Mark 3:20; 6:31).

How do we know it was love that compelled Jesus to minister for three years and then lay down His life for us? Many times He was moved by the plight of the people around Him. When Martha cried at her brother’s death, He groaned within Himself, and upon approaching the tomb, He wept (John 11:33, 35). At other times, He sighed (Mark 7:34), He loved (Mark 10:21), and He had compassion (Matthew 9:36). In the case of one leper who came beseeching Him, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” the Bible tells us Jesus was moved with compassion and answered, “I will; be thou clean.” (Mark 1:40-42). Jesus did not heal this man because He had to; He did it because He wanted to.

It is clear by His actions and words that our Lord is compelled by love. We can take every concern to Him, having assurance that He wants to hear our prayers and help us, because He loves us.

God can see everything. Some of my neighbors have become part of the “prepper” movement. Collectively they purchase food and survival supplies in anticipation of a catastrophic disaster. I was invited to join them, but declined, because years ago an experience taught me it is best to trust God with an uncertain future.

When the year 2000 was approaching, there was speculation that the world’s computers would recognize the year ’00 as the year 1900 and then crash. Soon, nations were preparing for a presumed crisis that quickly became known as “Y2K.” When newspapers began reporting that everything from utility companies to banks could shut down, I started stocking up on canned goods, flashlights, and other survival essentials. Then I took an inventory and sat down to review my progress. While going over the list, this thought intruded mine: I hope you thought of everything.

I paused to consider this, and realized that to rely on myself and not on God, I would need to think of everything. However, only God could see into the future and know which computer systems would crash or if there would be rioting, looting, or hoarding. I decided it would be better to trust Him.

When the New Year rolled in, none of the anticipated disasters materialized. However, even with the required Y2K patch, my own accounting software crashed. Because clients were waiting, I immediately began searching for a replacement, but could only find very expensive programs—all missing one particular feature that I wanted. I asked the Lord what to do and felt a strong urge to return to a store already visited. In the software aisle, I put my head down, prayed, and then opened my eyes to see a program that had fallen to the bottom shelf. It had the feature I was looking for, and a price tag of only $20.00.

It is best to trust our concerns about the unknown to God who can see what lies ahead.

We can never fully plan for the unexpected, so it is best to trust our concerns about the unknown to God who can see what lies ahead.

God can do anything. When my son, Cameron, was eight years old, he left his prized hand-held video game player, a Gameboy, at the park during Little League try-outs. When we discovered it was missing, we went back to the park and scoured the area, but didn’t find it. Upon returning home, Cameron told me he would pray and ask God to bring his Gameboy back. This seemed an impossible request because his name was not on the device and there had been several hundred people at the try-outs. Even if someone honest had picked up his Gameboy, that person would not know how to return it. However, Cameron’s focus was not on the facts, but on the One who could do the impossible. He prayed, and two weeks later there was a knock on our front door. When we opened it, a man was standing there holding out the Gameboy.

Many situations are beyond our capabilities, so it is best to trust God who has unlimited ability.

God is faithful. One time my husband and I were hosting a large party in our home and our son, who was seven at the time, asked if he could go outside and play. Permission was given, but when it was time for him to come in, he was nowhere to be found. Our guests helped us search the yard, and then the shed, the garage, the nearby park, and once again in the house. Then we went door-to-door, and the neighbors came out to help. We canvassed the area, going up and down the street, calling his name. I was not overly worried as we searched, because there was always one more place he might be. Finally, though, we had exhausted every possibility, and the reality set in that he was really gone. My heart sank and my knees buckled.

In that moment, my thoughts turned to One who I knew could be trusted with an urgent need because He had been faithful in so many other situations. I looked to the only One who could see everything, do anything, and who loved my son even more than I did. I prayed, “Lord, You know where my son is. Show me so we can go get him.” A name came to my mind, and my husband went to make a phone call. Thankfully, that person knew where our son was and shortly we were reunited with him.

In times of crisis, it is important to be able to turn to a reliable source quickly, so it is best to have our trust in God who has an established record of faithfulness.

A decision is required

We all face situations in life that cause anxiety, and with each one, we must decide to either trust God with the matter or handle it ourselves. When we choose to rely on our own means, we soon find they are limited and fail to fully alleviate worry. For real peace, it is best to trust God. When it concerns arise about our future, we can remember that He sees what lies ahead of us; in impossible situations, we have the assurance that He is infinitely capable; and in matters of urgency, we can look back to His proven record.

God loves you, cares about your needs, and wants to help. Won’t you turn to Him today?

apostolic faith magazine