3 Ways to Trust in an Unseen God
So often we’re called to trust in God, to have faith that his plan is better than ours will ever be. We’re told to trust in someone we often haven’t seen ourselves or don’t fully believe can and will accomplish what we long for.
This distrust causes us to say we trust, to give lip service to the God of the universe and then end up acting outside of God’s instruction because of our anxiety.
This situation is shown clearly in Abraham and Sarah’s story.
Genesis 16:1-2 says, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.’”
In that time, this was common practice. If a wife couldn’t have a child, they could select one of their maidservants to stand in for them as a surrogate. Legally, the child would belong to the wife, and he could be the heir to the father. We see this again with Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah (Genesis 30). According to the world’s customs, this was an okay way to carry on the family line. However, Sarah’s choice to give Hagar to Abraham was not made out of a desire for more children, but rather a distrust in God’s promise to grant her a son.
As we read on it becomes clear that Sarah regretted that decision. Even before she herself is pregnant, she abuses Hagar to the point that Hagar flees into the desert (Genesis 16). On and on this cycle goes, so far that Hagar returns to the desert after being sent away in Genesis 21. Sarah took matters into her own hands because she was anxious to have children. In the process, she gave herself a world of trouble, because she wasn’t patient for God’s timing, and didn’t trust that it could happen. We see her distrust again when angels come to warn Abraham of God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. As they remind Abraham of God’s promise to give him a son through Sarah, Sarah laughs.
In the end, the Lord is faithful to his promise and Sarah bears Isaac. In our 20/20 hindsight, we see that she should have trusted God.
None of this makes it any easier to trust, however. So how can we start trusting in our Creator, in the God who has a wonderful plan for our lives?
1 | Look at what God has done in the past.
It’s easier to believe that someone will do what they say they will when you can see that they’ve done what they said they would in the past. We have the benefit of reading how God has been faithful to his people over and over and over again. Psalm 105 gives an overview of Genesis and Exodus, showcasing how God took care of his people. We can take comfort in knowing we are part of “his people” now, because of Jesus, and his promises apply to us as well.
2 | Release your anxiety to him.
Pray and be honest with God. Tell him what’s on your mind. What scares you, what you want to do to speed up his process. And listen. Bring him into the discussion room where you make decisions, and let his voice have a stronger say in your dilemma than your own. One of the first steps to trusting is to let God know what’s keeping you from trusting. The process of admitting your fears to him and letting him love you even in your fear can bridge the gap of your distrust.
3 | Make a conscious effort to wait for the Lord.
Put your desires on hold, and trust the answer you received when you told God what you wanted to do. If he says no, then you need to make the conscious effort to hold yourself back and not do what he told you not to do. This is one of the hardest parts of trust, but in the same way that you can look back and see how God has been faithful to you, your trust will be proven in your actions.
This isn’t an overnight change, and it won’t be an easy adjustment to make. But it can be done, and we’d love to support you as you move toward trust. We encourage you to reach out if you’d like to talk to one of our pastors or biblical counselors. You can send us an email here.