Guest Author: Jerry George | follow: www.phillyschic.blogspot.com
This past year I felt like I was slowly being pushed off the edge of a cliff. I might be stating the obvious but the temptations, struggles, and battles that knock on the door of our hearts every day may sometimes feel like it’s wiping us out and I felt wiped out. Everywhere I turned all I could see was evidence of a broken world. Let’s just say, life got real and I hated knowing the fact that life was only going to get harder from here on out. I remember searching for verses and sermons throughout the day for something that I could hold on to and would give me hope for the day. Thankfully God’s word and God’s people did not disappoint. I knew that though I was worrying about current situations as well as possible future situations, I knew I needed to remind myself of God’s faithfulness as well as His character to strengthen my faith in the midst of my struggle with doubt. In those moments when I felt hopeless was when I was reminded of the choice I have to make: trust Him and trust who He is.
Ahaz and Abraham’s Choice:
One simple way God reminded me that I need to trust Him was found when I read Isaiah 7-11 a few weeks ago. As I read through Isaiah chapter 7, my mind couldn’t move past the last part of verse 9,
“If you will not believe, you will surely not last.’”
In this passage, God is speaking to Ahaz, king of Judah who is shaking in fear at the news of the enemy camping near his city. God was assuring Ahaz that he only needed to trust that God would deliver them or he would fall into the enemy’s hand. The choice was really up to Ahaz: choose to trust God’s plan and way of solving the current and/or future situations, OR trust in his own way to solve the situation. Unfortunately, Ahaz was interested in the idols of other nations rather than the one true God and ultimately the lack of faith Ahaz chose to display led to the invasion of Judah (Check out 2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16 for more on his story). This made me consider the responsibility I have when praying for God to help me through a situation- I’m asked to make the choice to trust Him and His way of doing things and that includes waiting on His timing. Trust me; I know firsthand that it’s easier said than done. I realized that every moment, I am confronted with a choice. For example, what I think is a choice. What I say next is a choice. Like it or not, not choosing to do something is also a choice.
At the time I came across Isaiah 7, I was especially struggling with worrying about what the future will hold especially when the present situation was full of despair. I had certainly read Isaiah 7 before but it was as if I was seeing verse nine for the first time. I had been so accustomed to submitting a matter to the Lord’s hands in prayer but then taking the matter right back into my own hands. The Lord wanted me to be firm and choose to trust Him completely instead of putting my worries on the forefront of my mind. Trusting God with what I’ve committed to Him is a) hard and b) something I have to do every single moment. It’s a difficult concept especially since everywhere we look these days, whether books or media, the clear message is to be self-sufficient and independent people. Giving up control to God and relying on Him doesn’t come easy. It’s a conscious choice we as believers have to make every moment and remind ourselves to do over and over again.
God also reminded me that in order to trust His words, I need to trust in who He is. My reading assignment the very next day after I read Isaiah 7 was Romans 4. What I found there only reminded me of what I had read the previous day. Romans 4:19-21 says,
“Without becoming weak in faith he [Abraham] contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.”
When God promises something, He is faithful to do it. Abraham knew this truth as well as his own current state. According to his calculations and the “modern day science” of that time, the chances of him and Sarah having a child was slim to none. But because Abraham knew the character of God’s faithfulness, he chose to believe, even when there was no hope. He reminded himself of the promise God made to him and strengthened himself even when hope seemed lost. Let’s not forget that Abraham is not perfect. Even Abraham and Sarah had their moments of error. Like the time he and Sarah tried to help God out in fulfilling His promise to give them a child by getting Hagar involved. They certainly knew God could do what He promised, but just felt like God needed some help to speed things along especially since both Abraham and Sarah definitely weren’t getting any younger. Surely Abraham remembered the result that followed. I was reminded that trusting in God meant trusting His timing too (Read Genesis 15-16, and 21 to find out more about their story). Although I read these two separate passages on two different days, they seemed to be echoing the same message of putting my trust in God’s promises and knowing that I could trust Him based on who He is.
As a believer, I constantly need to remind myself of God’s promises and His faithfulness. Dwelling on His faithfulness is a choice that has to be made every time I am faced with doubt. When I am frightened by financial circumstances, God tells me He knows what I need and would never let my basic needs be unmet. When I am frightened by the threat of illness, God tells me He works everything out for good. I must choose to remind myself of His promises when I’m reminded of my worries. One way to strengthen our own faith is remembering God’s faithfulness in our past. If you have a terrible memory like me, I’ve found that writing down answered prayer requests in a book gives me one place to go to for a glimpse of God’s faithfulness in my past. When feeling hopeless about a current situation- troubles in finding a job, taking a mission trip with no financial resources, struggling in school, worrying about who you will marry, health issues, you name it issues- remember that He is faithful to provide and as believers we have to make the choice to trust God with the matters we submit to Him….every moment. Trust His way, His plan, His timing. Ahaz chose not to trust God and as a result his rule over the kingdom of Judah ultimately ended in failure. Abraham chose to trust God because he knew the promises God made to him. He also knew the character of God and by remembering who God is, he strengthened himself in faith. We have the privilege and choice of entrusting ourselves to God and trusting God with what we entrust to Him. Looking back at this past year, I’m amazed at how faithful the Lord was with what I entrusted to Him. The moments when I chose not to trust in Him, I wasn’t standing firm at all. The next time we worry about our unknown future, why not choose to submit it to the One who knows what our tomorrows hold?
I’ll leave you with a few verses and songs that have served as much needed reminders of the faithfulness of God during times when my faith was weak and when hope seemed bleak.
“Even though I cannot see where You’re leading me….” You Are Faithful: Carrollton
“You never promised me that this would be easy….” Faithful: Hawk Nelson
“Didn’t You know that I’d be scared….” Take My Hand: Lindsay Mccaul
“Sometimes it’s hard to keep believing in what you can’t see…..” Promises: Sanctus Real
I’m leaving doubt and sorrow in the distance
I’m gonna trust, and cast my fears aside
My life’s a work that I know You’ll finish
I know I’m gonna be alright
Faithful | Hawk Nelson