Trusting in Adversity

Let me preface this blog with a prayer for any who are reading it and suffering in the midst of a great trial. This morning I wrote “Prayers without words speak the loudest”. May the Holy Spirit say your prayers today. May the Lord Jesus be your comfort and your hope. Amen.

Would you ever pray, “God, do whatever it takes that I would grow closer to You”? The fear you have is He may have to hurt you to accomplish this. The truth for some is He may have to. He only has to take by force that which you refuse to surrender.

He will not take you up onto the mountain until you first learn to trust Him in the valley. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4).

It is easy to say, “I trust God”. The hard part is actually trusting Him. He forces the issue by engineering a circumstance where we must trust Him. He wins our trust by force one area of our life at a time. How much easier it would be if we just surrendered it all ahead of time.

Trusting God does not mean you understand your circumstances, only that you know He will carry you through them. “And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him” (Psalm 37:40).

Faith is not your ability to have Christ, but trusting entirely that Christ has you. He has you.

We say we trust in God, yet leave no room that we would have to.

You must first trust in God to get you through it before He will lead the way. Follow Him whether you see the victory or not. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

The question is not if you will survive the circumstance you are in, but will you trust Him through them. Only adversity can reveal the degree to which we trust Him. Trusting is the highest when your understanding is the lowest.

Trusting God does not mean that everything will go the way we want, but that everything is in His hands. The three boys facing certain death said, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods…” (Daniel 3:17-18). It is in the “but if not” that the trust in God is perfected.

Adversity is the classroom whereby a believer learns to trust in God. Never squander that which only adversity can produce in your life. Sometimes the greatest loss yields the greatest gains. We often see the gain in another, but have no idea what it cost them. There is always a cost.

You wouldn’t worry as much if you trusted Him more. Consider He has arranged your circumstances to teach you this very lesson. “O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, lest they tear me like a lion, rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver” (Psalm 7:1-2). Don’t be surprised that you have enemies, but let your enemies be surprised that you have God.

We cannot know the level of trust we have in God apart from the test that measures it. Circumstances are not the measure that reveals God’s love towards us, but our trust towards Him. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15). Sometimes God must slay a man to change him.

You cannot always control your circumstances, but you can always trust in God. It is one thing to say I trust You, my Lord. It is quite another to trust You in a storm.

The thing you fear the most is the very thing that God wants you to trust Him with the most. “…do not be afraid…for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). He’s got you.

It is when your trust is beyond your understanding, that your faith grows beyond the limits of you. Our peace is never found in what we know, but to Who we place our trust in. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

If everything in your life is falling apart, let Him hold it together. Faith is not the lack of obstacles, but trusting in Him to get you through them.

Trade what you imagined your life should have been for the life that God would have you live. You know you are in His perfect will when it is not your own. “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17).

If you ever question why God’s plan for you is so difficult, consider Jesus.

Blessings to you,

Paul


15 thoughts on “Trusting in Adversity

  1. Insightful as always. Thank you. A very important message. It’s easy to trust God when times are good, its when tragedy strikes where we’re truly tested.

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    1. Thank you so much David! I think the real question people have is not does God exist, but why does He allow suffering. It is a challenging topic, and one we cannot fully explain apart from teaching how to trust in Him even when we cannot understand.

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      1. I agree, I touched on that topic a few blog posts ago. I think the presence of suffering in the world is the most understandable reason why an atheist or anyone would reject God

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  2. Does Psalm 37:5 teach that we must first trust BEFORE God will lead us through adversity? Doea a loving father wait for his child to trust him out odf a trial, or does he guide that child through it regardless?

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    1. Many teach a sentimental theology where people can do as they please since God will help them irregardless. It is a subtler version of the hyper grace movement, and equally dangerous to the believer. God is a just God. He sent Jesus to die for our sins, but we will still have consequences from them. Not trusting God means we are in rebellion against Him. If we don’t trust Him we do not follow Him, and where will that take us?

      There are many examples in Scripture, but one of great interest to me is when only Caleb and Joshua trusted that God would help the nation of Israel possess the land. The rest did not trust Him and they were judged, that all adults would wander in the desert and die there. Numbers 13:30 “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it'”

      Trusting God means you do it His way on His timing. CS Lewis wrote: “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way'”. Trusting Him is when we say, “Thy will be done”.

      So to answer your question, yes, Psalm 37:5 means exactly what it says, trusting precedes His leading because trusting means we are following Him.

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      1. I am reminded of 1Pet 3:5. David’s character was being assaulted by his enemies. He could trust God for deliverance. In the same way we, as hs children can trust him to deliver us in times of trial. If I said that God won’t deliver me unless I first trust him to do so, I think I would be in error. God promises to deliver us from trouble. There certainly is a connection between our trusting and his deliverance, but sequence is not being taught in the passage, while a precious principle is. That’s my thought, Calvinism has nothing to do with it. I might be the guy you listened to but from whom didn’t ‘feel’ the Spirit. As if our feelings can be relied upon. 🙂

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      2. Oh my, there is just far too many Scriptures that would counter what you are saying. The Lord has made it clear over and over that if we trust in idols, they will not save us. If we trust in the strength of men, horses or chariots, that they cannot save us. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”, and we ignore this at our own peril. Think about what you are teaching, as you stand arm in arm with the devil teaching people that trusting God is not the first thing we should do.

        2 Samuel 22:31 “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him”.

        Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man”

        Isaiah 31:1 [The Folly of Not Trusting God] “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the Lord!”

        I could just keep going. All I have behind me is the Word of God, and that is enough.

        But I do get what you are saying, that God is good even when we are not. On that point, I agree!

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      3. So what you are saying is that when have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we are his children and he will always care for us. This is true! What you said with Ps 27:5 was this “You must first trust in God to get you through it before He will lead the way. Follow Him whether you see the victory or not.” It’s a passage about a particular trouble in the life if David and trusting God through our own troubles. All I am saying is that God will lead his children through troubles no matter the severity of that trouble, or how our trusting him to do so in that trouble waivers. You sounded as if God would not lead us through troubles until we first trust him to do so. He will deliver us in the midst of our doubt and or pain. And now I am standing arm in arm with Satan? If that’s a not so subtle hint to never question your teachings/sayings about passages taken out of context, it might have worked.

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      4. You are such an enjoyable man to debate with! I do hope you would continue to question anything I say. None of us should ever blindly accept what another says, but test it against the Word of God to see if it in fact holds water. I can tell you that I am a fallible man. We all are. I stand on the Word, and as you have challenged me on Facebook and now on my web site, I have always come back with the Word. Interestingly enough, you have not, and will not even address those things I replied to you. Instead you stand proud in your positions to your own detriment.

        Anyone who would argue against a statement that we should trust God, and that Scripture supports that our trusting in Him leads to a better life, well sir, what spirit behind you would benefit from your platform? I sense that you are a man of God, but have developed a conservative christian platform that will argue against any platform not conservative enough for your tastes regardless of the statements made. You are so smart that you can convince yourself and others you are right when you are wrong. Intellectualism can blind a man from truth and wisdom, there is no better example of this than with the Pharisees.

        If you are going to teach the Word, or argue against those that do, then you should consider the Spirit of the Word. If you only teach from the letter, then it is only dead ink on paper from which you can stand on. The Spirit of the Law is love. Yet the very first words from you to me were not to seek to understand, but to condemn. This is always telling of a man when he starts out with words of condemnation. But then the truth came out. You see yourself “saved” from a charismatic type of church, and now see fit to condemn all people that have a hint of what you standing as judge consider incorrect. But I would caution you, that your stance looks to be far more like the Sanhedrin council than the church established in the 1st century.

        I encourage you to question my teachings, but do not be surprised nor claim unfair treatment when I question yours.

        You know, I still think that what we agree on is a thousands times more important than what disagree on. Jesus is Lord, and on that i will hang my hat.

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      5. The salvation I cherish is from my sin. That I at one time was a charismatic is another matter. I think my move away from that had a lot more to do with my move from that world had more to do with things here and there seeming to not line with the text and context of scripture. I took some of the same passages out of context to mean some of the same things you teach.

        I have never said, nor would I ever say, that we shouldn’t trust God. I would say that some tomes it can be difficult because we still live in sinful flesh. When trust falters, God will still bring us through.

        Using scripture out of context is great sport in much of today’s church. Using a passage to say something not in it’s original context is also. Scripture to me means so much more in context!

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      6. My prayer is that there would be a greater unity in the christian faith. But my fear is the divisions are getting deeper. I have learned and taught in both the conservative and the Spirit-filled ministries, and I see errors in both. It does not mean I am better than either side, it only means I do not see either side as being completely wrong.

        I love the Lord and I treasure His Word. I agonize over what I teach. I too am highly concerned on context, and equally concerned to not be limited by the blindness of intellectualism. That is why when challenged, I always will return to the word and argue from that platform.

        I know that many will disagree with me on what I teach, especially those who lean more towards conservative teaching that generally holds to cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But my goal is not to appease every denomination of Christianity, for to do so I would be limited to teaching with only milk. People can get their milk at the grocery store.

        My hope though is that I can have healthy conversations with my conservative, charismatics, calvinists, pentecostals, baptists, lutherans, catholics, nondenominationalists, and do so with a spirit of love and of seeking to understand their position. It does not mean we have to agree, but it should mean we have a mutual respect.

        This sir, is what I hope there will be between you and me, points we agree on, and a respectful disagreement on the rest.

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  3. Thank you Paul, I am struggling with this very thing. I so understand your understanding and I love the truth but I’m finding it hard to let go. Your messages always touch my heart. Lord, lead me and guide me to make right choices, I long for peace in my situation.

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    1. Praying Isaiah 26:3 over your life, that His perfect peace would grow in you as you grow nearer to Him. Letting go is hard until you do. Praying you will do. Thank you for your kind words, they are very much appreciated.

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  4. thank you Paul. Your kind words of encouragement and prayer have once again touched my heart. I am eternally grateful for your insight. Humanly, we need to understand why which doesn’t work in the spiritual realm. I will continue to step out in faith.

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. You exemplify all that Christ would have us do in the church. Praying for your great success as you step out in faith and take hold of all that the Lord has in store for you!

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