Trusting God in Adversity

Posted Apr 10th, 2018 in Lynn Murray, Suffering, God

Trusting God in Adversity

I recently joined the women’s Bible study at my church. We are studying Trusting God by Jerry Bridges. It was not very far into the study when he challenged us with a question: “Is it easier to trust God or obey Him?” (p.231) This question made me begin to think about how I thought about these two aspects of living in relationship with God. As I reflected on this question I realized that I believed that obeying God was a given. Something required without question. When I thought about trusting God however, I viewed it as more of a choice. I realized that I viewed God much the way I view people in the fact that trust is earned. Wow!! This hit me like a bolt of lightning. Who am I that I would believe that God needs to earn my trust?

Bridges challenged us to look at obedience and trust with God in the same light. “It is just as important to trust God as it is to obey Him. When we disobey God we defy His authority and despise His holiness. But when we fail to trust God we doubt His sovereignty and question His goodness.” (p. 6) 

Going back to the original question “Is it easier to trust God or obey Him?” also makes us look at the circumstances in which these questions arise. Usually when God calls us to obey we understand the why of it. “You shall not murder” makes sense. “Love one another” makes sense. When we see the consequences of disobedience we don’t usually ask why we are experiencing them. Trust, however, usually involves something that we don’t understand. Our loved one dies? We ourselves or someone we love gets cancer? A child suffers abuse? It is here that we will often ask the question “why?” Our emotions will often take the reins in our thinking at this point.

Bridges at this point challenges us to bring our emotions into subservience to the truth. Although we have to acknowledge them and feel the intensity of pain they bring upon us they cannot be allowed to rule our hearts. How we do this is much like David did in the Psalms. He would acknowledge his hurt, anguish and misery, then remind himself of who God is.

When we ourselves are full of doubt, wondering if God truly loves us, we can also remind ourselves of who God is and who we are in Christ. We just have to look at the fact that He sent his only Son to live among us in order to experience life the way we do and yet not sin or doubt our Father. Not only that, He paid the price for sin in full by experiencing tremendous physical and emotional pain. When David reminded Himself of who God was He did not yet have the picture of the tremendous sacrifice that God and His Son made for him. We only have to study what happened on the cross to get the full picture of His love for us. The question “why?” seems to melt away after that.

If we are in Christ, Bridges reminds us, “God cannot forsake us because we are His children in blessed union with His Son. We cannot be cut off from His sight. But we can be cut off from the assurance of His love when we allow doubt and unbelief to gain a foothold in our hearts.” (p. 294) I struggled with this last sentence because I thought he was saying that we could be cut off from His assurance. Then I recognized that His assurance is still there- it’s just that I turn away and forget that I have it by doubting God and not trusting Him. 

So let me encourage you to ponder this question: what is easier for you, obeying God or trusting God?