Confession time. I like to be in control of my life. Sure I have no problem saying I trust God and talking about how I will follow Him anywhere. However when it’s time to back up my words with actions I’m confronted with the reality that my words speak louder than my actions deliver. I suspect I’m not alone. In fact I know I’m not alone; the Bible is filled with examples. None more prominent then Peter.
Peter—you’ve got to love Peter. The first disciple to confess that Jesus was the Son of the Living God, the natural leader of disciples, and the one Jesus was to build the Church upon. And boy did he have a big mouth. Peter wasn’t afraid to make big promises and rash decisions.
One second Peter would see Jesus walking on water and hop out of the boat to join him. Only to be confronted with the reality of his surroundings, lose his trust, and start to sink. Peter, the guy who didn’t quite get the big picture and would rebuke Jesus, get called satan, and even chop a guys ear off. Peter promised to follow Jesus anywhere He would go only to break that promise hours later and deny even knowing Him to strangers.
Peter displays so much trust in Jesus with his words but struggles to back it up with his actions. He so confidently proclaims his trust only to realize his faith isn’t as strong as he thought.
If I’m honest I look more like Peter than I care to admit. I have no problem making bold claims to live boldly for Jesus only to abandon those claims days later.
Currently my wife and I are going through a transition to a new season of ministry. It was really easy at first for me to say I trust God to provide, lead us to the right place, and be there with us. But it wasn’t long into this transition I started finding myself questioning what God was doing. I regularly feel God asking, Do you trust me? My response looks like, Yeah, but… Of course I trust you God, but what if things don’t work? Of course I trust you, but why can’t things happen when I want?
It’s easy to say I trust God, but when it comes time to show my trust there’s hesitation. I wish this wasn’t true. I wish I had an unshakable trust. I wish that when God said go I wouldn’t think twice. But I’m not there yet.
However I’m in good company. Peter struggled with this and God wasn’t done with Peter. Despite all his lack of trust, God built the foundation of the church on Peter. There’s hope in that story for me. God wasn’t done with Peter, and God isn’t done with me either.
Listen, it’s easy for all of us to say we trust God. But I’m willing to bet there’s some hesitation, or maybe even direct disobedience when it comes time to put that trust into action in your life. But you’re in good company. The Bible is filled with stories of people that struggled with living out their trust.
Jonah went the wrong direction. Moses doubted God’s plan in the desert. Elijah didn’t trust God’s plan even after a huge miracle. David was just a screw up. Gideon had to “test” God’s plan. The disciples ran away when Jesus was crucified. And Peter ran his mouth about how much he trusted God but rarely backed it up.
We are in good company. All those people and more struggled with trusting God, despite that God still used them to change and shape the world. From their moments of doubt came a growing knowledge that God is trustworthy. Trust isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s grown and developed through trails and often failures. The people listed above allowed God to use their times of trails, doubt, and failures to grow their trust in Him.
The more I put my trust in God the more I realize He is trustworthy. The more difficulty I encounter the more I realize God is with me and will bring me through it. I don’t need to be the one that is calling all the shots and taking control of all situations. God’s got it worked out and I can trust Him.
It’s still a struggle for me. There are good days and difficult days. But with each step I find God is faithful and trustworthy. There’s a freedom that comes with that. A peace that comes over me in situations that I should be freaking out. It’s in God’s hands; what better place could there be?
I will end with a few of Jesus’ words. He was talking with his disciples about some of the coming difficulties and encouraging them to trust God. This is what he said:
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-30