Trusting God!

Arthur Pink, 1933

Of himself, the Christian can no more regulate his faith than he could originate it. Only He who imparted it, can call it forth into action. This is recognized by few today. Even in those little groups where it is owned that faith is the gift of God (Eph 2:8-9; Phi 1:29), the majority appear to think it lies within their own power to exercise this spiritual grace. Even when it is allowed that a spiritually dead soul cannot believe in a spiritual way — it is commonly supposed that only an effort of will is required in order for the living saint to lay hold of God's promises. Not so. It was to His regenerated disciples the Lord Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). In keeping with this, the apostle Paul declared, "To will is present with me — but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Rom 7:18).

But why proclaim and press so discouraging a thing. Will not God's children be disheartened thereby?

First, because it is the truth, and the truth does "good" (not evil) to those who walk uprightly (Mic 2:7).

Second, to counteract the haughty, independent, self-reliant spirit of the day. Anything that humbles the heart, is beneficial.

Third, to emphasize the Christian's entire dependence upon God, not "that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves" (2 Corinthians 3:5). If we are incapable of so much as "thinking" a good thought of ourselves — then how much less can we initiate a good work!

Yet while the divine Giver of faith can alone regulate and stimulate it — nevertheless, He is pleased to use means in so doing. One of these means is the exhortations of His own blessed Word. Such an exhortation we find in Psalm 62:8, "Trust in him at all times. O people, pour out your heart before him — God is a refuge for us." But if fallen man and quickened saint are alike incapable of doing so, is not God mocking us by bidding us to "trust in him at all times"?

Far be it from the puny creature to blasphemously charge the All-wise with foolishness. Better to say with the psalmist, in another connection, "such knowledge is too wonderful for me," (Psa 139:6) than to call them into question, much less deride them. In this case, however, a solution may be given. It is both the duty and the privilege of the Christian to beg God to work in and through him that which He requires.

"Trust in him at all times" (Psa 62:8). And why so? Circumstances fluctuate, we ourselves vary — but He is immutable, "I am the LORD, I change not" (Mal 3:6). Blessed, assuring, comforting declaration. If God were fickle and unreliable — then faith would be without any foundation to rest upon. But because He is "the same yesterday and today and forever," (Heb 13:8) — then He may be safely confided in.

Again, His promises are ever sure and they are given for faith to feed upon. None ever yet really truly grasped one of the divine promises — and found it to fail him. Then why should we not "trust in him at all times"? It is for our own peace and good, that we do so. It is our own great loss and misery, if we do not.

Why does the Christian not trust in the Lord at "all times"? Because the root of unbelief still indwells him. Not yet is sin eradicated from our being. The "flesh" opposes the "spirit" every step of our journey toward Heaven. "Fight the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12). The repetition of that word "fight" in such a short sentence plainly intimates opposition and a fierce contest. What, then, is the struggling Christian to do? Cry earnestly with one of old, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief" (Mar 9:24).

But alas, so often we make provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof (Rom 13:14) and then the Spirit is grieved, and His enabling power is withheld.

But what is it to "trust in the LORD"? A very helpful answer to this question is supplied in 2 Kings 18:30, "Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us." The second clause explains the first. Trusting the Lord is the heart's assurance that He will surely "deliver." A signal illustration of His high sovereignty was this, God using a scoffing heathen to define for us the meaning of the word "trust." How it ought to shame us that an idolater had a clearer conception of what it means to "trust in the LORD" than many Christians have!

To trust in God is to 'cast your burden on the Lord,' when it is too heavy for our own shoulder (Psa 55:22); to dwell 'in the secret place of the Most High,' when we know not where to lay our heads on earth (Psa 91:1); to look to our Maker and to 'have respect to the Holy One of Israel' (Isa 17:7); to lean on our Beloved (Song 8:5; Isa 36:6); to stay ourselves, when sinking, on the Lord our God (Isa 26:3).

In a word, trust in God is that high act or exercise of faith whereby the soul, looking upon God and casting itself on His goodness, power, promises, faithfulness, and providence — is lifted up above carnal fears and discouragement, above perplexing doubts and disquietments, either for the obtaining and continuance of that which is good, or for the preventing or removal of that which is evil.

There are some special instances and nicks of time for trust.

"1. The time of prosperity. When we sit under the warm beams of a meridian sun, when we wash our steps in butter and feet in oil, when the candle of the Lord shines on our tabernacle, when 'our mountain stands strong.' Now, now is the time for trust, but not in our 'mountain' (for it is a mountain of ice and may soon dissolve), but in our God. Any gift or blessing which comes between the heart and the Lord, is a snare and a curse.

2. In times of adversity. This also is a seasonal time for trust. When we have no bread to eat, but that of 'worry,' nor wine to drink, but that of 'affliction and astonishment,' no, nor water either, but that of our tears. Now is the time, not for our over-grieving, murmuring, sinking, despondency — but trusting.

In a tempest, then, a believer thinks it seasonable to cast anchor upon God. Thus did good Jehoshaphat, 'O our God…neither do we know what to do — but our eyes are upon you' (2 Chronicles 20:12)." (Thomas Lye, 1621-1684, from "Morning Exercises.")

"Trust in him at all times. O people, pour out your heart before him — God is a refuge for us" (Psa 62:8). "The word 'pour' plainly signifies that the heart is full of grief and almost afraid to empty itself before the Lord. What does He say to you? 'Come and pour out all your trouble before Me.' He is never weary with hearing the troubles of His people. Therefore you should go and keep nothing back. Tell Him everything that hurts you — and pour all your troubles into His merciful bosom. Make Him your Counselor and Friend.

You cannot please Him better — than when your hearts rely wholly upon Him. You may tell Him, if you please, you have been so foolish as to look to this friend and the other for relief, and found none and you now come to Him, who commands you to" (John Berridge, 1716-1793).

"Trust in the LORD at all times" (Psa 62:8).
In times of persecution — as well as toleration;
in times of famine — as well as plenty;
in times of sickness — as well as health;
in times when called to walk alone — as well as when enjoying the fellowship of Christians;
in times of spiritual darkness and distress — as well as light and joy.

"Trust in the LORD," not merely about Him — in His love, His power, His faithfulness. Trust Him when His providences frown, His rod smites, and His hand removes your most cherished idol. Trust Him in the worst case you have ever been in, or can be in. The way to make a spiritual feast, is to trust Him — and the way to have a continual spiritual feast, is to trust in Him at all times. The way to honor Him, is to trust Him. The way to prove Him to be a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, is to trust in Him at all times.