In today’s world full of non-truths, it sometimes seems risky to trust anyone.
People mislead us. Friends break promises. Spouses are unfaithful. Salespeople exaggerate the truth to try to convince us to buy. Commercials lie about the actual quality and value of the products. Co-workers withhold pertinent information for their own benefit. Teenagers don’t give the full details of their whereabouts. Politicians say what they think the public wants to hear.
So after years of being lied to or misled by people, we can easily become cynical and non-trusting, secretly questioning anything and everything we hear. Finding it increasingly difficult to put your full trust in anyone.
Unfortunately I think this inability to trust others, because of experiences in our past, is often the underlying factor in why we find it hard to trust God. Especially when we are going through difficult times. Times when we feel abandoned or forgotten by God, as I talked about in my Proverbs 31 devotion today.
So when the world has trained us to be cautious about who we can trust and what we can believe, how can we learn to trust God without a shadow of a doubt as we are instructed to do in the Bible? Of course, God wants us to trust Him with our whole hearts, but it helps fuel our faith to look back and see how God has proven Himself trustworthy. Not just in scripture, but in our own individual lives. When we can see proof of His faithfulness, we are more likely to learn to trust Him.
Many years ago I participated in a bible study where one of the activities was to make a timeline of our lives, jotting down not only memorable life events, but how God has proven Himself faithful with regards to that event. How He has used that situation to His glory, to teach us valuable lessons, or to prepare us for something in the future.
I will never forget doing this exercise because it was a huge spiritual eye opener. As I made out my personal timeline, I realized that during those times when I felt abandoned, forgotten or at a minimum unfairly treated by life – God was there, with a purpose and a plan. I had no idea why He was allowing or causing hardships in my life at the time they were occurring, but as my timeline progressed, His pattern of faithfulness became crystal clear. It was then that I really embraced God’s promise of faithfulness and began to trust Him full, because the proof was in the pudding.
The meaning of that term “the proof is in the pudding” dates back to the 14 century, where ‘proof’ was used as a verb meaning ‘test’. The more common meaning of the word ‘proof’ today is ‘the evidence that demonstrates a truth or proof’ ” It means that the true value or quality of something can only be judged when it’s put to use, and it’s the results that count.
In my timeline, I could see the results that God had orchestrated. I gained a new perspective of what God had been up to, and realized that even when I was secretly wondering why God was allowing a certain hardship, He was mapping out my life’s timeline in His perfect plans. When I looked back, I could see that He had proven Himself trustworthy in my own life, time and time again.
Maybe today you are going through a difficult season, or facing a circumstance where you have been wondering if God has forgotten you. Maybe you are finding it hard to trust God, because you see absolutely no way that anything good come out of what you are going through.
If so, might you consider doing a timeline of your own? I can assure you that as you lay out in writing not only what you have been through, but what God has done in your life, since then – because of that experience and through that experience – your trust in God will soar. When you see true results, trust becomes natural.
And with unwavering trust in God, comes peace that surpasses understanding.
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!