It’s Not A Feeling
For many of my years as a believer, I saw Christianity through a purely emotional lens. If I didn’t feel Christian, I wasn’t. If I didn’t feel close to God, I was far from Him. If I didn’t feel happy, I was a defective follower of Christ. After all, the choir director told us to make sure we smile real big when we are singing at church. So if you don’t feel a smile, paste one on there anyway. This was also true of trust. I thought trusting God was something that you primarily feel. I have often found myself discouraged in times when trust is not my default emotion toward God. And if the truth is to be told, I have found myself judging Christian brothers and sisters who are not overflowing with emotional trust for God.
Sometimes we know where we should end up, but have the wrong idea of where to start and how to get there. Good, lasting, and unshakeable trust starts in the mind, not the heart. It is a daily decision based on what you know to be true. The mind does not depend on the heart to tell it who or what to trust. The heart depends on the mind to direct that trust. It is not much different than the concept of love in a lasting marriage. The marriage lasts because the spouses constantly make the decision to love one another when they feel it and when they don’t.
We will get to the role of the heart later in the study, but I think this deserves mentioning. The heart is a powerful tool in trusting God. But as a tool, it has to be directed and controlled by something else in order to be effective. Like many other things in the Christian life, the heart is a powerful conduit in our trust for God, but it is not the driving factor.
It’s a Decision
The primary question determining our trust in God is, “Am I going to take God at His Word?” We have read all of God’s incredible promises in Scripture. Do we believe them to be true? To say that our hearts guide our trust for the Lord is the same as saying feelings can dictate truth. If we want to be the kind of people with unwavering trust in the Lord we must regularly decide to trust God because we believe His Word, not because we feel like it.
I see this in Proverbs 3:5. The very first word is “Trust.” It is abrupt and seems very much like a command. The trust seems to come before the heart. There is first the decision to trust, then the heart is brought into subjection to that trust and used to amplify it (“with all your heart”).
An Eye Opening Moment
It was a hot day at work. I was listening to the radio in the trailer and a worship song came on. I can’t explain it, but I suddenly became overwhelmed by the presence of God. I literally felt like He was standing right beside me. It was the sweetest moment of worship I have ever experienced (on the shipping dock of all places). Shortly after the song faded away, that sense of God’s presence went with it. I pleaded with God to not let me lose that feeling and that is when I heard the voice of God. It wasn’t an audible voice or a burning bush, but somehow I heard the words. “I want you to take My word for it. If you always feel My presence then you will be trusting in your feelings and not in Me. You need to trust Me.” I will never forget that moment. It was the moment I realized that true trust in God comes from believing His Word despite my feelings, not from believing God’s Word because of my feelings.
I will wrap it up by giving us all this challenge. May we trust God’s promises and in who He has revealed Himself to be when we feel it and, especially, when we don’t feel it. May we decide today to trust God’s Word simply because it is His Word and encourage our hearts to come along with us.