I’ve watched too many Christians struggle to trust God more as if that is something they are supposed to do. If you’ve ever been down that road, you know that it leads to a vast wasteland. We can only pretend to trust him more, and that will fail us when we most need it.
Trust is not something you can demand from someone; it is the natural byproduct of knowing that someone loves you deeply and acts for your greatest good. We don’t give trust; Jesus wins us into it. So the question is never, “How do I trust him more?” The question is, “How is Jesus winning me into his trust today?” That’s the road you want to venture down.
And you won’t see him winning your trust as long as you’re trying to get God to do what you think is best for you. That will only lead you to disappointment upon disappointment. Focusing our trust in him on a specific outcome is not trusting him at all. It’s only using him to get what we want.
Jesus has something different in mind by teaching you to love what he loves and to follow him. There you will discover that he is constantly working around us in a way that wins us into his trust. We become increasingly confident that his way is best and that he is continually working to lead us into his freedom. That’s what chapter ten of So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore covers.
Here’s an excerpt as Jake is just beginning to recognize that process:
“That’s the trust he’s building in you right now, and those deals falling through are part of it. Through moments like this he wins our trust. And it’s obviously working.” John said.
“What? Why would you say that?” I asked, not at all feeling like it was.
“Because you’re not as angry as you were when we first met. You’re in a desperate situation now, you’re concerned, but you’re not angry: That shows some incredible growth.”
And for the first time I realized that God had changed something enduring inside of me. I wasn’t burying my anger. It just wasn’t there, even in my disappointment.
“That’s how God wins your trust. He’s not asking you to do something despite all evidence to the contrary. He’s asking you to follow him as you see him unfolding his will in you. As you do that, you’ll find that his words and his ways will hold more certainty for you than your best plans or wisdom.”
Today, Jesus is at work in you to grow your trust in him and his Father. He wants you to know that his power and wisdom are at your disposal for all he is doing in you and how he is working in the circumstances you’re caught up in. Learn to recognize how he is working, and you’ll find your trust growing gradually no matter what you encounter.
We’ll discuss this amazing process at the next gathering of the Jake Colsen Book Club, which will be held this Sunday, March 5, at 1:30 pm PST. This is a change from the previously announced date . Anyone can join us, though you’ll have to work that out in your own time zone. We will also stream it live on my Facebook Author Page, but if you want to be part of the conversation, you can get a link to the Zoom Room by emailing Wayne and asking for it.
7 thoughts on “The Trust He Wins in Us”
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This sentence, ” He wants you to know that his power and wisdom are at your disposal for all he is doing in you and how he is working in the circumstances you’re caught up in.” is challenging for me. I just went through another situation wherein I lost someone to cancer, not a family member but the 48 year-old son of a dear friend. I did feel like I had power on occasion as I confessed and pondered that I am seated with Christ as a son of God. I visualized going boldly before the throne of grace for mercy in the time of need. And still he died, just as Tammy did and my pastor’s wife did and others. I told someone the other day that while there are probably more prayers than we realize that God does answer in the way that we hope for, sometimes it feels as if we are in the Old Testament or a movie where we go before a king with our request and he says “no” and we are esorted out of the throne room. I know that is not an accurate depiction, but that is the way it feels at times. I’m left still wondering what if any key there is to seeing power and the miraculous in prayer. Love you as always! Mark
Mark, ‘m so sorry you lost a friend to cancer at 48. It’s way too young, but it happens. But I think your post underscores what I’m trying to say. If we think faith or trust is designed to get the outcome we think best we’ll forever group with God’s trustworthiness. Prayer was meant to invite us into a conversation with God where is glory can unfold in whatever way he desires; I don’t think it was meant to be a technique we employ to get what we want, no matter how well-intentioned or selfless our request might be. It’s not about getting a yes or no, it’s about having his mind on what’s unfolding and holding that with him, even if the result is sorrow.
Hi Wayne. I’m glad you are still posting things! You’ve had quite adventure. I think I’ve written to you on this subject before, and it’s still a struggle. I see how trusting God can grow someone’s faith through hard times. I think it has mine. Sometimes. But I’m still wrestling. I was so sure of my faith before my mom got dementia. I think God “acts for your greatest good” does not apply in my mom’s case with her dementia. I know it’s a sinful and broken word. But mom’s dementia is doing nothing for her good, God is not a refuge or safety for her, etc. She barely remembers who God is. I’ve been wrestling with this for 2 years. I don’t know what God wants from me at this point. I’m praying God takes her home so she can have quality of life again. But so far, it’s a no go. Long, slow grieving continues.
Hi Stephanie. These are the hardest kind of situations to understand. You’re right, there is seemingly no greater good in your mom suffering from dementia and you enduring it with her. It’s a tragic circumstance and the broken Creation is filled with such pain. Yes, it seems like the only loving outcome here is healing or a quick death, but we don’t look at these things as God does. Our living in him does not make us immune from the chaos of Creation. I don’t think it was in Paul’s greatest good to be shipwrecked and stoned, or Stephen to be killed for his faith. We don’t understand those things and maybe they will make more sense of it looking back from eternity. What we do know is that God works amazingly good things out of tragedy, and how that sorts out is where I learn to trust to God. That’s why focusing on our desired outcomes is a barrier to faith. How do we trust a God who doesn’t do the only thing we think a loving God would be compelled to do? That’s the challenge. But if we think we are responsible to pray harder or garner “more faith” to get what we want from a God who is already disappointing us, then we’re sunk. I didn’t say that everything that happens to us is for our greater good, but that God is in all things making good of it and that perspective probably necessitates an eternal view we can’t grasp yet. What we can grasp is that in spite of the circumstances I face, I know God is loving and faithful and I will follow him as best I can to the end of this broken age.
My heart goes out to you, Stephanie. I get how tough this is to believe, but what else do we have. We’ve been through end-of-life issues with our parents when we believed that God should do better for those who follow him than what happens in the rest of the world. I know now that that isn’t true. The rain falls on the just and the unjust and navigating it in growing trust with him is better than giving into the frustration that the outcome is not what I want or expected. He is with you. He is with your mom. You will get through this and your heart will be shaped to be more like him in the process and you’ll find yourself loving differently others who endure inexplicable suffering.
Yes, I know you are right… But it’s so danged hard. And I’m so weary and sad… Thank you for your words.
I know it is hard, Stephanie. I’m sorry for your weariness and sadness. We have been through this, and it is heartbreaking. But God never promised he would fix everything we want him to. Life on a broken planet includes times of great struggle. I hope you have support to hold you up during this season. All you can do is love her the best you can, even when she doesn’t recognize you and entrust the rest to God… All we can do is throw ourselves on his mercy and see what he reveals in those dark seasons we go through.