I’m quick to say, “I trust in the Lord!” I really have no qualm about putting my faith in Him…it’s just myself I can’t trust. For I believe I know what I can’t do…but am I really trusting in the Lord then? That’s because every time I say to myself, “I can’t do that.” I’m denying and discounting what the Lord can do through me. Now I know I can’t save myself…I can only depend upon God for deliverance. So then I need to take that same trusting dependence and apply it to my “I can’t do that.” statements. For the bottom line is, my dependence can never be on myself, but on God alone.
In II Chronicles 32, the king of Assyria had invaded Judah and laid siege…empowered by his massive army of horses, chariots, and soldiers. However, King Hezekiah stood his ground and encouraged the people by saying, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” (II Chronicles 32:7) So anytime when our circumstances look overwhelming… we need to remember that we too have that greater power with us.
Later in this same Chapter, Jesus repeats these words again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) In both verses Jesus is telling us that we have control over doubt, fear, and confusion…”Do not allow (or permit) your hearts (or minds) to be troubled. (confused and/or terrified) ” He wouldn’t be telling us to do something if it wasn’t possible for us to achieve it. Now stop and read that last sentence again please! Jesus is telling us that we all have the direct influence within us to rein in and exercise restraint over fear…but it’s contingent on our trust in Him. In other words, a troubled heart is an unbelieving heart. So our success over doubt and fear lies largely in how we build our faith in God. And this confidence in Him only comes by reading the Bible and praying daily…for you can never fully trust a stranger.
In all our lives we will go through darkness…not the kind caused by sin or disobedience…but darkness that comes out of fear and confusion in this broken world. But while we are crouched down in the Valley of Despair, we need to listen…for the Lord will be speaking life-bringing truths into our soul. Precious truths of encouragement, and exhortation that will sustain us during illness, pain, and loss. Isaiah 50:10 tells us, ” Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were desperate. Enemy armies were fast approaching and they didn’t know what to do. They found themselves in a dark valley of desperation, discouragement, and fear with no way out…but they resolved to trust God. And it’s in that same valley that God worked a mighty miracle…giving them victory over their enemies. That valley of their suffering was changed into the Valley of Beracah…the Valley of Praise. With God’s help, we can grow during those hard times. Our faith can increase and be strengthened in the midst of turmoil, loss, and strife…if we trust God. It’s then that our valley of the shadow of death can also become a Valley of Praise.
Habakkuk is asking, “Where are You God? And why aren’t You doing something about this situation? Our most basic needs aren’t being met. Don’t You care about us?” This is a very common response when anyone is in the midst of troubles…our vision is very myopic, only seeing what’s right in front of us, not any further. But it’s not until we can look beyond and see God’s “Big Picture” that we, like Habakkuk, can say, “In spite of what I see around me…regardless of this present situation, I will put my trust in You God! I will place my faith in You for I know You will provide.”
Jesus had answered the rich young man’s question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” But when the young man arrogantly stated he had kept all the 10 Commandments from childhood…Jesus stared directly at him. Now Jesus could have called him out on it. He could have run down a list of 100 times this young man had failed…but He didn’t. Rather, Jesus looked into the young man’s eyes and saw his potential. So He gave him an invitation, but within that invitation was also a hard decision. A decision the young man sadly was not willing to make. We all have an Achilles heel…a area of our lives we hold on to, stubbornly clinging to, unwilling to trust it completely to the Lord. But it’s not until we surrender all aspects of our life to Jesus that we can fully follow Him. Jesus told the rich young man, “Trust in Me.” …and He’s asking that of you today.