Trust the Lord! It’s one of those sincere, but often trite-sounding, statements we may say when we are trying to encourage or challenge someone. We may throw it around when someone has a hope deferred. Trust the Lord.
We say it when someone is anxious about provision. We say it to the terrified young mom as she brings her first child home from the hospital. We say it, perhaps in a slightly different way, to the wife who has just lost her beloved husband. I’m praying for you. Lean on the Lord.
And when we are miserable with fear — fear of the future, fear of man, fear of tragedy — we often say, Trust the Lord.
Those little words do indeed pack a lot of truth, but what does it really mean to trust the Lord and how might our encouragement better point us to the One we can trust? In other words, yes, we want to trust the Lord, but why can we?
Learning on the Job
We can learn a lot about why we can trust God from the story of Job. In the midst of great trouble, Job had to trust the Lord. I can only imagine the fear he experienced as one horrible event happened after another.
If you remember the story of Job, then you know that he lost everything. And by “everything,” I mean everything that was of any importance to him. Job lost everything. At the end of his story, as he repents and sings great praise to God, Job proclaims, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
Job suffered greatly, and, I imagine, he was very confused. His friends didn’t do a good job of comforting him; Job even called them “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). But Job turned to God and was convinced of the wisdom of God, even in the midst of great pain and confusion.
Sovereign, Wise, and Loving
We get a glimpse of Job’s view of God when he says, “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?” (Job 9:4 NIV), and, “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). Job isn’t thinking about how he feels at the moment or even his current circumstances, though there is no problem with considering those things. Instead, Job realizes that in order to minister to his own heart he must remember the character of God — who God is, and why he can be trusted. Job doesn’t ignore his pain — but he does remember his King.
And what did God do? He restored Job and his fortunes. He gave him twice as much livestock as he had previously possessed and gave him more children: seven sons and three daughters. Job was restored to his family and friends. The Lord worked in unexpected ways. The end of Job almost reads like the familiar passage of triumph over pain in Romans 8. Job had learned a truth about God that one day would be uttered by the apostle Paul:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31–37)
God doesn’t do anything in his sovereign will that isn’t both wise and loving. If God is for you, who can be against you? We don’t trust God simply because someone tells us to. We trust God because he is God. He is holy and awesome and righteous in every way. We can trust God because we don’t serve a God who is only sovereign and wise. He is also infinitely loving.
God’s love is incomprehensible. We can’t fathom its depths, and when we try to compare our love to God’s, we fall awfully short. We’ve heard it said before, but it’s worth reflecting on the truth again and again, that God is love. And even though your present circumstances may not feel loving, as surely as you are in Christ, you are in his love.
When I am dreadfully fearful, I do want to be reminded to trust the Lord, even if it might sound trite to some. My mind is forgetful, and I want your help. Let’s point each other to trust in him and meditate on why we can trust him. God is worthy of our trust and adoration. Thankfully, he is also patient, slow to anger, and abounding in great love. He knows our weakness to trust and believe, and he encourages us to come to his throne of grace to receive help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Yes, yes, I want to trust the Lord.