This post is the second in a series looking at how we can develop and build our trust in God, last week I looked at how we can develop a faulty schema (representation) of YHWH which then prevents us from being able to trust God as we should. This week I want to build upon this and look at three steps that helped me to develop my trust in God. If you missed last week’s post you can find it here.
Trust (firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something) comes from the word true. When something is true it is firm, solid, steadfast, consistent, right, just, accurate and sure. I can trust something/somebody which is true because there is concrete evidence that verifies its nature, it has been tested and found to live up to its reputation/properties/nature.
True is an adjective (descriptive word) which is linked to the noun truth. I feel that the fact that truth is a noun (albeit abstract) is important, it means I can view truth as something tangible and concrete, it is possible to be and possess truth, remember this as I share my journey with you.
Trust —> True —> Truth
I can trust something which is true, because its very nature is truth. Let me put it another way, you can’t trust God until you believe that He and His Word are true. This doesn’t mean being true in the sense that you believe that it’s true because the Bible says so or that’s what you’ve always believed, that is what I call faith or even belief. Everybody has a belief, but not everyone’s belief is truth. Truth can always be verified because of its nature, it can be tested so that we begin to know that it is true, God created us with physical senses so that we could have physical experiences, our physical experiences enable us to verify spiritual truth. Whenever we verify spiritual truth in this way, this moves us away from theological faith and into the realm of developing experiential trust. As such trust is stronger than faith, faith believes without any reason to whilst trust knows because of past experiences.
It is much harder to sow doubt and fear when we stand on trust, than it is when we stand on faith/belief. For example, I had some semblance of faith when I started my healing journey, my faith again was part of the schema that I developed throughout my childhood of who God was, His character, His plans and purpose for me and how I was expected to behave. My faith was built upon textbooks, masses, rites of passage, assemblies, parents, Religious ed. teachers and the like. My faith taught me that I needed to be good and that if I was bad that bad things would happen to me, so I tried to be as good as I could be but still bad things happened to me. Shaky faith, I found out that my belief wasn’t true. When I fell ill I yearned for the truth, but all I knew up to that point in time was that something had to be wrong with me because things weren’t going so well in my life. I was the God-forsaken sinner, too bad for God to love, cursed with sickness!
And you shall know the Truth and the Truth will set you free!
I remember a single line I wrote in my diary:
“You are truth, save me in truth!”
In all of this I had no idea what truth was, but I knew that if I intended to get through this agony of living at all I needed to find, know and experience this truth. Somewhere from deep within me, I pulled out a strand of truth, “You are truth.” Where did this come from? Thinking back to it now, I recognised that my scientific mind had worked out that if truth existed at all in the universe then there had to be a source of complete and utter truth. It was that source of truth that had the ability to save me, not the God that people had handed down to me through church doctrines and dogma, just the TRUTH that created and it was.
This was my first step into trust, I trusted simply because I knew through my rational self that I could trust in truth.
It might seem strange to people reading this, but this started a journey where I was led to re-examine every single belief I had about God and begin to test them against His Word which I believed to be the Bible. Maybe it was all the contradictions I found within my current faith, or the hunger to know God as He really was, like I had experienced all those years ago which caused me to look past the mainstream and go deeper. I have been described as ‘a Searcher’ and that’s exactly me, searching for the precious pearl of truth in the fields of life. Over the years I had tried many churches, many denominations always with a quest for the truth, I felt that somebody out there had the truth all I needed to do was find them. How silly of me, I was yet to realise that truth is always there, readily available waiting for us to open our eyes and see it. But I heard a voice whisper to my soul ‘how would I recognise truth if I did not know the Word of God?’
Where did that come from?
Yes, I couldn’t test truth without knowing the right answers so out came my Bible and in I dove spending many hours absorbed in its pages. Everything I read, I researched and questioned, meditated and prayed over, I noticed that over time my beliefs developed and changed to come in line with what I was reading and what I was beginning to understand as true. I felt myself changing, becoming more confident and spiritually aware, my spiritual eyes were opening and this filled me with an increased trust that what I was reading was true.
This was the second step towards trust – learning the true character of God through His Word and being subjected to its transformational power (Romans 10:17).
The more I changed the more I began to open myself up to the source of the change, the One whose Words were changing me. I began to trust God, that the One who could bring such spiritual awareness and confidence to me could not be as bad as what I once believed, and that if everything I was reading about in the scriptures was true then maybe this God is one who does really care about my joy and well-being after all!. I began to hunger to know more about the characteristics of this One and as I searched the more I recognised and understood that He was much more than I could ever have imagined.
This was the third stage of my trust journey.
I began to see His love towards me, His unending and unfailing love called out to me, I began to trust in that Love, and the more I trusted in His love the more I tasted His goodness.
Once you reach the stage where you know at a very deep level that God is completely for your good, that His love for you is without spot or imperfection then you have reached the true gateway into trusting God. With this level of confidence and assurance in God He can and will bring you through any calamity and disaster that you will face in the world.
I just want to conclude today’s post with a scripture from the mouth of our Messiah:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33 ESV
Pause for reflection
Think about your schema of God, what proportion of it has been developed through first hand experiences and what has been developed through second hand experience, teaching etc. What can you learn from the gap between the two?