“The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.” — Nahum 1:7.
Most people in Northwest Florida didn’t give Hurricane Michael much attention early on. This was not our first rodeo and the previous storms veered away from us. This one didn’t. As the intensifying storm approached, people all over Northwest Florida turned to God. We asked God to protect us, our homes, our businesses. We were justifiably concerned with the possible damage this unprecedented storm could cause. But the storm kept coming. There was silence on God’s end. And in just a few hours time, life in this part of Florida snapped so abruptly that no one could process it: can I fully trust God in the wake of all this devastation?
This unsettling sense of abandonment appears to contradict Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” By any definition this qualified as “times of trouble.” So why did God seem so agonizingly absent? And better yet, how can I trust God when He allows this to happen. Charles Swindoll shed some light on the subject when he said, “We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.”
It’s easy to lose faith when life becomes difficult and problems appear impossible. In 1 Kings 17: 8-24 we read a story about Elijah and a struggling single mom familiar with troubled times. In this story, the prophet Elijah had gone into hiding from King Ahab. God told Elijah to head north into enemy territory and ask for food from a dirt poor single mom who was about to cook what little food she had left, “and then my son and I will die.” Never the less, both Elijah and this single mom chose to step out in faith, trusting God to provide – and He did. Then true hardship arrived when the woman’s son died. Elijah cried out to God who brought him back to life.
How can you trust God when everything goes wrong? By remembering that God is using your trials to accomplish far more than you could ever imagine. There is more to come beyond this life; He is with you and He is always for you. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
Trusting God is a process, and we can begin to practice it today by thanking God for all the things that never change: His unfailing love for us, His total forgiveness of our sin, and His everlasting promise to make all things work together for good, all in His perfect timing.
- How does our lack of trust in tough times illustrate our distrust in God’s ability and/or His character?
- Is it possible to completely trust God? How?