The journey into adulthood is not easy. At times it gets exciting and other times it’s fraught with challenges and even anxiety of what is to come. When it comes to the latter, we can all relate to moments when fear of the unknown and anxiety has intruded upon our thoughts.
In these moments, the uncertainty of the future can make us anxious, which we are admonished not to be as believers (Philippians 4:6). On the contrary, we are told to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not to lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
In light of this, I have felt the urge to share my journey of learning to trust God with the future and also to look at what it means to trust in God with all our heart and that is what today’s blog post is about. I hope that at the end of it you will feel encouraged to keep trusting in God.
For me, there are times when my mind has been preoccupied with thoughts of how life after campus is going to be, of what direction my life is going to take and even being anxious about the next season after singlehood and the many uncertainties that revolve around it.
While these are just some of the general things we may be anxious about, there are many other things that make us anxious that are specific and unique for each one of us depending on our individual circumstances. Despite the differences in our anxieties, the underlying factor is a fear of the unknown and of what the future holds.
In his book, “My Utmost for His Highest”, Oswald Chambers says,
Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing… Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.
I think we can all relate to the fact that we are naturally inclined to be in control, especially over our lives. We are always working at eliminating any form of uncertainty in our lives by making plans and doing things that are going to secure a good future for us which is actually not a bad thing but when done by leaning on our own understanding, eventually leads us astray. Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that seems right to a man but it leads to death.
During the times I have had thoughts of anxiety concerning the future, God has taught me and is still teaching me to wholly trust in Him. Whenever such thoughts intrude my mind I have learned to pray to God to teach me afresh what it means to trust in Him and not to lean on my own understanding.
I have also come to realize the danger that anxiety poses to us in that it keeps us from focusing on what is required of us at the moment and thus makes us ineffective because we are fixated on what the future holds which really is none of our business.
While our human nature craves control, God calls us into the unknown. He calls us to put our trust in Him and to do so with our whole heart. When I think about what it means to trust God with all my heart I realize that many are the times I have failed to do so because I have not done it wholeheartedly. There are times my trust has been weak and I have resorted to making my own plans and that is when I am reminded that God knows what is best for me.
When I think about Proverbs 3:5, I marvel at the weight of this kind of trust that involves the whole heart. It is not the basic kind of trust that we may have become accustomed to. It is the kind of trust that eliminates all kind of fear and anxiety. It is the antidote to the anxiety that naturally creeps up on us.
God calls us to walk with Him into the unknown, for He has assured us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We may not know what lies ahead but we are assured that He has good plans for us. We may think that our plans are good but God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
WAITING UPON GOD
Trusting in God also involves waiting patiently upon Him to reveal what He has in store for us. In my Bible reading, I have been going through the book of Psalms and one of the things that I have found very profound is the theme of waiting upon God. One of the verses where it is very evident is in Psalm 27: 14: “wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Most, if not all of us, can attest that waiting is not such a good experience because of the uncertainty it bears both in terms of the timing and what to expect. It is even possible to get tired of waiting but even during such times, we have God’s promises to hold on.
In her book “Passion and Purity”, Elisabeth Elliot says that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.
Whether it is a prayer we have been making or something we have been trusting God for, times will come when we may feel tired of waiting but as believers, we are called to patiently wait upon God knowing that even the period of waiting prepares us for that which we are trusting Him. God is not malicious in any way and He would not deny us something that is good for 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?” (Romans 8:32)
As the excerpt above from Oswald Chambers’ book says, to be certain of God means being uncertain of our ways. We should not think of uncertainty with sadness but rather with breathless expectation…looking forward to how things are going to unfold.
Imagine going on an adventure to a place you have never been before. Imagine the anticipation and the feeling of excitement of getting to see and discover new things or a new place or environment. In the same way, we should think of the future and the unknown with breathless expectation- the same way we would look forward to an adventure.
That said, it does not mean that we should live our lives just for today, not thinking about the future. It is good to make plans for the future but we should ask God to help us and guide us as we plan so that we do not just follow our hearts, which are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9).
We should commit our plans to God because a man makes his own plans but it is the LORD who establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9). We should also acknowledge that God is sovereign. If our plans come to be, glory to God and even if things don’t work out as we planned, we should rest in the assurance that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His plans are higher than our plans and that He works out all things together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Therefore, as we grow in our walk with God, it is my prayer that we will learn to trust God and that we will be still and wait patiently upon Him because He knows what is best for us. It is my desire that we will ask God to teach us what it means to trust in Him wholeheartedly and not to lean on our own understanding.