“Trust” is sometimes used as a noun. When it is, it means that firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. But then again, “trust” can also be used as a verb. When it’s used that way, “trust” is not just some inner confidence; it is an active choice you make to believe something true about someone or something. It means you choose to believe in that person’s reliability. Or strength. Or love.
When it comes to God, “trust” is of the utmost importance. This is what He desires from His people – it’s their faith, not just in word, but lived out in their everyday decisions:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
Sometimes trust is easy; when the circumstances of life just seem to be lining up, it’s easy to take another step in confidence. But sometimes trust is hard. When circumstances seem to mount against you, when you are feeling anything other than confident, when you are shake to your core and confused about what’s happening in life – these are times when you start to feel that verb. Trust is work.
During those times, it’s important to remember some key things in order to continue, day by day, to make the choice to trust God. And while those things to remember are many, here are three of them:
To trust God in all circumstances, we need to remember something about time. Specifically, we need to remember that God’s timetable is not the same as ours:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:8-9).
When circumstances are difficult, we inevitably think that things should move faster. Change should come quickly; deliverance should happen immediately. But to trust God at all times, we need to call to mind that the Lord’s timing is very often not ours. We should not, then, mistake what we perceive to be slowness on the part of God as indifference.
We should also remember that God’s goals are often different than ours are if we want to trust Him in all circumstances. When we are walking through a season of pain and difficulty, we most often just want it to end. To be done. Over. Finished. And yet God’s goal is not necessarily to get us out of that season. He has a higher purpose in mind:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).
Yes, God is working all things for our good. But our “good” does not necessarily mean our comfort. Rather, God’s goal for us – His purpose for us – is to be made like Jesus. And many times those difficult circumstances are very helpful tools to that end. If we want to trust the Lord, we must remember that His goal is not to get us out of a circumstance; it’s to make us more like Jesus.
If we want to trust God in all circumstances, the final thing we need to call to mind is God’s character. Sometimes, in the midst of pain, we tend to forget who God is. It’s a good thing for us to remember that God is strong. And that He is wise. And that He is loving.
And where do we see the convergence of all those attributes? We see it in the cross of Jesus Christ. This is where God demonstrated who He is, and how much He loves us. When we remember what God gave for us at the cross, then we can, in any circumstance, say along with Paul:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32).
This article originally appeared on thinke.org and is reposted here by permission.