One of the interesting, yet perplexing phenomena that I have encountered while being moderator, is the one where people profess to trust the Lord, however, their actions would depict otherwise. This statement that “I trust the Lord” is one that suggests no matter the situation or circumstance, ” I trust Him.” The perplexity is found in the selectiveness of what situations in trusting the Lord is applied. It is as though trusting the Lord is a matter of convenience. I profess this should not be. Trusting is more than convenience, it is also when it is not convenient.
When the believer totally surrenders himself to God, he declares a total dependency upon God. This dependency relies on God to work all things out for our good and for His glory. The Apostle Paul says, “and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28). This belief is the confidence that the believer is to have in God in all situations and circumstances. We know that God is going to work it out. Be assured that our human frailties can cause worry, concern, trepidation and fear. Nonetheless, it is here that we must be cautious. These human frailties typically will lead to fleshly responses that exclude God and a turn to our own abilities. When this is done we are abandoning God along with our trust in Him. The question becomes from where does this birth? Is it just our human frailties? The emotions that are birthed from difficult situations and circumstances are natural responses to the unknown and the uncertainty. I believe even the strongest of Christians at times, become concerned. The unknown can cripple the confidence of the believer. Nevertheless, we are taught to, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6). Total dependency says that although there is uncertainty and I may be concerned, I will still trust in the Lord and not turn from Him.
Situations and circumstances should not sway our trust in the Lord. However, and unfortunately, we often witness this occurring and at times we, ourselves, are guilty of situational-trust in God. There are extenuating circumstances where we witness the flow of a situation going contrary to a person’s desire. It is at this point there is an abandoning of our trust in God. Questions arise as examples, how is this witnessed? How are we the enactors of this? We witness this and we find ourselves enactors when we manipulatively make maneuvers to tip things in our favor. Sometimes Laughable are the testimonies that give God the credit for what we ourselves have done. How is it detectible when it is of God and not of man? When we have to gossip, lie, plot, secretively plan, manipulate or stab people in the back — these are of man and not of God. When it is of God the trust is declared at the outset and then maintained even when things take a turn for the worse. True trust in God supersedes your situation. True trust in God is willing to wait on God even when it appears that the odds in the situation is going against you. True trust in God does not rely on evil mechanics to cause things to be favorable. We turn to the biblical Job who had a series of unfortunate events happen to him and he had every reason to discontinue trusting in God. Conversely, Job declared “though He slay me yet will I trust Him.”(Job 13:15).
The emotion of anger and doubt are the twin trouble makers for our trust in God. It is these emotions that are the chief instigators of abandoning trusting God. Not knowing how things will turn out allows for doubt to creep into our minds. When doubt enters in it not only causes concerns about the situation, but also about God. We know that God is able however, doubt clouds the faculty to hold on to His ability, especially when we are not experiencing His ability in a favorable way. Here is when we see flesh spring into action — due to a premature conclusion that God is not able in this situation. Doubt, unfortunately will cause for there to be an erroneous theological deduction about God’s ability. Anger then rushes in because of how we perceive the situation playing out. Couples with the interactions of others that are involved really does not make it an easy task. These emotions actually interrupt trusting in God and causes us trouble. Additionally, even when we are unaware of the outcome or what God will do, we still must trust Him. Do you realize God can do it better than we ever can? The hymn writer says it this way, when we trust in God, ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!” I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend; And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er; Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
-Rev. Johnny L. Barber, II
Moderator Johnny L. Barber, II is the youngest elected Moderator in the history of the Florida East Coast Baptist Association. He humbly serves as Pastor to the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Miami, Florida.
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