(Part 4) March 22, 2020 Sunday Sermon:
What It Means To Trust God
By Pastor Robbie Casas
6. To trust God is to be willing to wait patiently for His perfect timing and perfect answer.
There is a connection between deeply knowing who God is and, therefore, being willing to wait upon Him. Look at how Jeremiah understood this in Jer 14:22, “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O LORD our God? Therefore we hope in You, for You are the one who has done all these things.” The NKJV renders this as “Therefore we will wait for You.”
To hope in God is to wait on God and to wait on God is to hope in God. David says in Ps 39:7, “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” The psalmist declared in Ps 130:5, “I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.”
When we say God is our hope then we must be willing to wait upon His timing, not ours. In declaring the providence of God toward His creatures, the psalmist says regarding them in Ps 104:27, “They all wait for You to give them their food in due season.” The NIV renders the last part of this verse as, “at the proper time”. The “due season” or “proper time” is determined by God according to His perfect purpose.
Sometimes, the Lord answers quickly. This was David’s experience in Ps 138:3, “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”
At other times He tarries, as in His promise to fulfill a vision He gave Habbakuk in Habbakuk 2. That’s why in v. 2 He commanded the prophet, “Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” In the meantime, we are to wait patiently, not in exasperation. (Cf. Ps 37:7, “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.”)
When we say God is our hope, then we must be willing to receive from His hand what He in His wisdom has willed to give us. There are times when He grants according to what we ask; but there are times when He gives something different, as in the case of Paul and his thorn in the flesh in 2Cor 12. In vv. 8-9a, he said, “8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’” We need to trust that God knows what He is doing when we receive from His hand something we do not expect or sometimes don’t even want, trusting “… that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). This is the reason why James exhorts us Jas 1:2-4 to “2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
7. To trust God is to fight to maintain our joy in Him.
Why the need to fight to maintain our joy in Him? Because it is our joy that is most often the first to disappear when things begin to go south.
That’s why we are commanded in Phil 4:4 to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” For us to experience “joy unspeakable” (1Pet 1:8), we need to remind ourselves that the rejoicing must be “in the Lord” and “always”. We must not seek our true joy in people, in things or in circumstances, but rather “in the Lord always”.
For this to happen, we must learn to see God as our “exceeding joy” (Ps 43:4).
III. TRUST IN GOD IS COMPLETE SURRENDER
This is really bottom-line in this whole issue of trust. This is the reason why we struggle much in entrusting completely our situation to God – why worry and anxiety is a constant temptation to us. We have trouble letting go of our lives and placing ourselves at the complete disposal of God’s hands.
This realization was the turning point in the life of hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal.
Frances Ridley Havergal received Christ at a young age but struggled for years with Christian victory. She wrote, “I had hoped that a kind of tableland had been reached in my journey, where I might walk awhile in the light, without the weary succession of rock and hollow, crag and morass, stumbling and striving; but I seem borne back into all the old difficulties of the way, with many sin-made aggravations. I think the great root of my trouble and alienation is that I do not make an unreserved surrender of myself to God; until this is done I shall know no peace. I am sure of it.” (Emphasis mine.)
She struggled throughout her twenties and thirties, pulled in one direction by the acclaim of great London crowds who loved her singing, and in another direction by the Holy Spirit. Then one day at age 36 she read a booklet entitled “All For Jesus,” which stressed the importance of making Christ King of every corner and cubicle of one’s life. Frances made a fresh, complete consecration to God.
Years later her sister asked her about it, and she replied: “Yes, it was on Advent Sunday, December 2, 1873, I first saw clearly the blessedness of true consecration. I saw it as a flash of electric light. There must be full surrender before there can be full blessedness. God admits you by the one into the other.” (Emphasis mine.) It was shortly after that she wrote her “Consecration Hymn” which begins with “Take my life and let it be / Consecrated, Lord, to Thee” and ends with “Take myself – and I will be / ever only all for Thee.”
THERE MUST BE FULL SURRENDER BEFORE THERE CAN BE FULL BLESSEDNESS.
This surrender is what was behind David’s declaration in Ps 31:15a: “My times are in Your hand….” The key phrase here, I believe, is “in Your hand” – God’s hand. It was Joshua who declared “… that the hand of the LORD is mighty….” (Jos 4:24). It is “the right hand of the LORD [that] does valiantly” according to the psalmist in Ps 118:15. That “hand of the LORD” which, according to Prov 21:1, is what turns “the king’s heart… like channels of water…; He turns it wherever He wishes.” That “hand of the LORD” is what gave Ezra strength as it was upon him that he testified of in Ezra 7:28. The focus here is God’s hand, not even our trust.
It was Oswald Chambers who said, “It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.” But this is exactly what should encourage us to put our trust in Him in joyful surrender.
David surrendered his life – his “times” – in God’s providential hand, His sovereignty. Therein rests the secret of peace and encouragement in even the most uncertain and trying seasons of our lives.
I would like to end with a quote from C.H. Spurgeon: “Providence is a soft pillow for anxious heads, an anodyne for care, a grave for despair.”