Recalling His Works of Grace in Our Hour of Trial
From Adam to this present day, God has been searching for a people who will entrust their lives totally to him. He desires a body of faithful believers who give him their complete trust and confidence and commit themselves wholly to his keeping.
The Lord has always had a select few individuals throughout history who were totally committed to him. The Old Testament contains an entire catalog of such individuals, yet what God wants is a unified body of people who will trust him entirely. He is still looking for and forming that people today.
In his people Israel, God had great hopes for having a committed, trusting body as his special people, set apart by grace alone. “He will love you and bless you and multiply you… And the Lord will take away from you all sickness… The Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you” (Deuteronomy 7:13, 15, 21).
These are incredible promises, enough to take anybody through life. God gave them to Israel because he wanted them to be able to accept his Word, stand on it, and lead lives wholly committed to him. They were to live their days without anxiety or fear, leaning on his wonderful promises.
However, Israel never entered into full trust of the Lord, and that is why they could not enter the Promised Land. They did not mix the word they received with faith. They were full of unbelief.
The writer of Hebrews tells us there was a holy “rest” available to Israel, just as there is to us today: “The Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you” (Deuteronomy 7:21). What is this rest that waits for us to claim it? It is a childlike trust in the Lord’s keeping power.
The rest that the Bible talks about is a supreme confidence in God, a trust so sure and complete that it ends all fear and anxiety.
This rest means placing one’s whole life and future into the caring, loving arms of the Lord. Even those who walk closely with him have trouble trusting fully.
“What about Jesus’s disciples?” you may ask. “Didn’t they walk in true faith? Surely, they trusted the Lord. They walked with him on the earth for three years. Hadn’t Jesus picked a group of followers who would trust him completely?”
The truth is that our Lord was dumbfounded, absolutely flabbergasted, by the disciples’ doubts and unbelief.
I think of the scene in Matthew where 5,000 men, not including the women and children present, gathered to hear Jesus teach and to be healed and see him perform miracles. Amazingly, on that day the lame walked, cripples leaped, the blind saw, the deaf heard, the dumb spoke. “[He] healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14), and the disciples watched it all happen.
As the throng grew hungry, the disciples tried to persuade Jesus to send them away. Jesus answered, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). He said this knowing the disciples had only a few loaves of bread and fish among them. When he told them to go feed the thousands sitting before them, he was looking for evidence of their faith.
Now, these disciples had seen Jesus perform miracles of all kinds, not just on that day but many times before. He had instantly healed a paralyzed arm. He had raised a ruler’s daughter from the dead. They had seen him cast out devils, heal lepers, calm storms, restore the sight of people blind from birth.
Jesus was saying to them, in essence, “Surely you have seen that I am God. You’ve seen all the miracles I’ve done. You must believe that I can do anything, that miracles are possible even in the feeding of this multitude.” In short, it was time for them to trust the Lord!
Suddenly, before the disciples’ eyes, another miracle happened. As Jesus blessed the meager food, it kept multiplying. The disciples carried the food to the thousands, a task that must have taken all evening. At the end, they brought back twelve baskets full of bread and fish.
Sometime later, Jesus addressed any lack of faith remaining in them. He asked, “‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’” (Matthew 16:13-14). Then Jesus got to the real issue: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
Thankfully, Peter boldly rose up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This was the faith response that Jesus was looking for. He was so excited at Peter’s faith, he said, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
Now, let’s zero in on you, me and the body of Christ at this time. How many times has the Lord performed an amazing work for you, and you’ve responded, “I’ll never doubt him again!” However, you quickly forgot him when your next trial arose. Do you really trust the Lord? Have you committed your life and future completely to his hands? Have you entered his rest with full confidence in his keeping power?
God is still looking for a people who will trust him completely.
From what I see, there is not much true faith left in the church in these last days. In the practical, everyday walk of many Christians in America and many other places, there isn’t much faith in operation. The world sees very little evidence that God’s children rest in his keeping power.
When we become weary or frightened by our trials, we begin to walk in fear and anxiety. Our lives consist mostly of one crisis after another, a seesaw of faith, up and down, hot and cold. Oh, we like to think we trust the Lord, but most of us have seasons of unbelief, times when things happen beyond our comprehension and we feel overwhelmed. Our prayers go unanswered for months, and we give up our hope that God will ever do anything on our behalf.
Today, God is still saying, “I am looking for a people who will trust me at all times, who’ll commit the keeping of their lives into my hands.”
In light of all these examples from scripture, let me ask you several questions about your life.
What happens when you have become entangled again in a sin that you once were delivered from, haunted by the verse that says God will keep you from falling and present you faultless? What happens when you are bruised and bleeding in your struggle to get free from the net that ensnares you, despairing that you are not faultless before God? What time is it? It is time to trust the Lord! Only the Lord can tear the devil’s snare and set you free, if you’ll trust him.
Your finances are a mess. The bills are piling up, and you’re constantly losing ground. You can’t get your head above water, and you see no hope ahead. You wonder, “How deep will the hole I’m in be a year from now?” You have become discouraged, worried, with no help in sight. What time is it? It’s time to trust the Lord! God already has a way out for you. His miraculous provision will come.
Perhaps there is sickness in your home or trouble in your workplace. You have prayed about it for weeks. You love the Lord dearly and know you are not living in compromise, yet you don’t understand why you have to go through this great testing, perhaps the biggest trial of your life. So what time is it? It’s time to trust the Lord! He holds your deliverance.
You need guidance and direction. There is confusion in your life, and you desperately need a word from God. You want to do his will, not wanting to make a wrong step. You have prayed for hours, days, weeks, months, but no word of direction has come. What time is it? It’s time to trust the Lord! The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
God is still looking for a people who will look to him as trustworthy.
I believe the Lord is saying to you right now, “Dear one, you have preached faith and shared your faith since the day you first turned to me. When are you going to trust me completely? When are you going to lay everything in my hands, and enter into my rest?
“Why won’t you remember the miracles I have done for you? Why won’t you lean on my promises? If you only knew what is yours, all the things I have meant for your peace and rest. Why will you not let me be God to you?”
God cares about you. He is concerned about your specific circumstances, and he is not going to let you down. So repent of all your seasons of fear, doubt and unbelief. Pray to him now, “Father, I need you. I don’t want to doubt you every time the winds of adversity blow. I want to be faithful to you, to trust you in everything. Lord, every time I face a trial, help me to say, ‘It’s time to trust the Lord!’” Amen.