Learning to trust the Lord is a lifelong process. When He walks with you through a small crisis, you learn to trust a little bit. When He shelters you in a larger storm, you learn to trust Him more. When your life falls apart around you and you feel utterly helpless and hopeless – still He is there, protecting, guiding, loving, and comforting.
You learn to trust Him step-by-step along the way as you experience His unwavering faithfulness.
And isn’t that where most of us are right now, in the spring of 2020? In the ” when your life falls apart around you and you feel utterly helpless and hopeless” season? Because, no matter who you are, where you live, or what your family, job, or financial status was in December 2019 – your life has changed dramatically.
A worldwide pandemic will do that. No-one is untouched by this crisis. So the world is seeing a wide range of responses to it:
- denial and an attempt to carry on as normal
- increasing rates of depression and suicide
- lost jobs leading to a reliance on charity for the first time ever for many people
- families and marriages strengthened as well as destroyed
- increasing kindness and empathy
- refusals to adhere to social distancing guidelines
- a re-evaluation of what is important in life
Perhaps for many believers – maybe you – their faith and their trust in the LORD are growing. Because when everything in the world seems to be falling apart and no-one seems to be in control – we know our God is.
Trust the Lord
One of my favorite verses on trusting the Lord is Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. This verse tells you that your own understanding – your own logical reasoning – is not up to the task of directing your paths.
I love how the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) puts it: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t you just love the thought that God will guide you on the right paths!
You do not need to worry or be anxious or try to figure everything out on your own. He knows your needs. He knows your personality and temperament. He knows where you’ll do the most good. He has a plan, and He will guide you. Even when you can’t see it.
Psalm 37 is another great passage on learning to trust the Lord. Many believers – maybe even you – find this passage a great comfort when everything seems to be going against them. Psalm 37 assures you that God sees everything you are going through. And He gives you clear instructions on what to do when life is a mess you can’t control.
Just the commands in the first few verses are encouraging: Do not fret…Be not envious…Trust in the Lord…Delight yourself in the Lord…Commit your way to the Lord…. Rest in the Lord…Do not fret (two more times). And that’s just the first eight verses! Then there are the rewards promised to those who trust: Evildoers will fade…God will give you the desires of your heart…Your righteousness will shine as the light…The Lord will sustain you…Your inheritance will be forever…You will not be forsaken.
On and on it goes. Command after command to trust, do good, cultivate faithfulness, and wait on the Lord, followed by promise after promise of His blessing, sustaining you, and passing judgment on the wicked.
There was a time in my life when I read this psalm daily – inserting the name of my deepest trials for ‘evildoers.’ It gave me the courage and strength to go on day after day.
Two verses were extra special for me:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. (v 4-5)
I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread. (v25)
Just How Do You Trust the Lord?
So, we know we are to trust the Lord in when life feels out of control. The big question is, “How?” “What does ‘trusting the Lord’ actually look like?” Here are 5 steps to get you started:
- Read the Word. God speaks to you through the Bible. If you’re not reading something in the Bible every day, you’re going to be lacking in direction, guidance, comfort, peace, and wisdom. Carve out time for the Word.
- Pray. The Lord speaks to you through His Word and you speak to Him through prayer. It’s meant to be a conversation. God already knows what you’re going through. But He still wants you to tell Him. Tell Him all your pain and fear and frustration and doubt and insecurity. Tell Him everything. Dump it into His hands and He will give you His peace in exchange.
- Tell others. God has not left His people alone on this earth. He has placed you and me into a family – the family of God called the Church. If you are struggling to trust the Lord, find a member of the family to share with. You cannot tell everyone, but you can tell one person. Or a small group of people. You can share your feelings and fears with other believers who will lift you up in prayer. You will learn to trust the Lord more quickly when you surround yourself with others who trust Him.
- Worship the Lord. Worship is not just for Sunday. You can and should worship the Lord every day. Spending time in worship helps you to refocus on the One who is in control. Worshipping the Lord should be a daily delight, not a to-do list drudgery.
- Serving others. There is always someone worse off than you are. You may be in difficult circumstances brought on by the loss of your job or your marriage. Others may be facing homelessness, poverty and debt, or loneliness. Perhaps you’re entering the season of parenthood and are scared. Or maybe the empty nest is on your horizon. Whatever your season looks like right now, spend some time serving others. Do what you can to meet them in their needs and God will meet you in yours. But don’t serve others to try to “earn” God’s favor. Serve them because it’s the right thing to do and because it gets the focus off of yourself.
No matter what you are going through right now, remember these two things: (1) everyone is going through something and (2) God knows all about it. He is trustworthy. He has not singled you out for special “punishment.” The seasons of change and heartbreak and confusion we all face come from living in a fallen world.
But God is still good. He is still loving. He is still trustworthy. Keep your eyes on Him and He will lead you faithfully.