I am waiting to hear about a job interview I had a few days ago. [Update: I didn’t get the job. That does not change anything I’ve written.] I’ve been without a job for a year now, and while it’s been wonderful to rest and relax, to focus on writing instead of lesson plans, to spend more time with the Lord than grading papers, for many reasons I feel that season of rest is over. I’m trusting the Lord in a season of change.
I needed this season of rest. I needed it so badly. But now, it’s drawing to a close. Part of me is excited about what comes next, and how I’m going to juggle blogging with teaching again. Part of me is mourning the loss of a schedule-less lifestyle. All of me is leaning into the Lord, exercising my trust muscles.
A Favorite Verse on Trusting the Lord
A favorite verse 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 me that my own understanding – my own logical reasoning – is not up to the task of directing my 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. I love the thought that God will guide me on the right paths! I do not have to worry about whether I’ll get the job I just interviewed for. He knows our needs. He knows my personality and temperament. He knows where I’ll do the most good. He has a plan, and He will guide me.
As much as I love Proverbs 3:5-6, it isn’t where I turn first when challenged to trust. Instead, I turn to Psalm 37. I have for years.
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 ‘evil doers.’ It gave me 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 seasons of change. The big question is, “How?” “What does ‘trusting the Lord’ actually look like?” I’d like to suggest 5 steps:
- Reading the Word. The Word is how God speaks to us. If you’re not reading the Word, you’re going to be lacking in direction, guidance, and wisdom.
- Praying. This is how we speak to the Lord. Although God already knows what you’re going through, He wants you to tell Him. Tell Him all your pain and fear and frustration and doubt and insecurity. Tell it all to Him. Dump it into His hands and let Him give you His peace in exchange.
- Telling others. We are on this earth in community – and our community is called the Church. Not just your local church you attend on Sundays, but all of God’s people over the globe. You cannot tell everyone, but you can tell someone – or a few people. You can share your feelings and fears with other believers who will lift you up in prayer.
- Worshiping the Lord. Not just on Sunday – but every day. Spending time in worship recalibrates your focus onto the One who is in control. Worshiping 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 a season of change, like me, that involves being jobless. Others may be in a season that involves being homeless, penniless, or friendless. Do what you can to meet others in their needs and God will meet you in yours. That’s not to say your season of change will turn out like you hope – or that I’ll get the job – but that God is trustworthy, no matter what you’re going through.
So, if you’re in a season of change I encourage you to do what I’m doing: keep your eyes on the Lord. Be in the Word and in prayer. Let the church be the church and share your struggles. Worship and serve with others. Trust the Lord to guide you through this season of change.