This morning I was reading Psalm 115. The Psalms are amazing. It never ceases to amaze me how these words that were written so long ago can still have an impact upon the lives of people here in the 21st century. That is the power of the Holy Spirit working to inspire the writers of the books of the Bible. What an amazing God we truly have!
The Psalmist writes: "O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield." (Ps. 115:9-11) The phrase that just kept jumping out at me is "trust in the Lord." Those words are the words that I would like to consider this morning. "Trust in the Lord!"
It isn't always easy to trust in the Lord. The situations of life make it challenging. There are many who would point to that which is going on your life and tell you, "Trust in yourself. Trust in the doctor. Trust in your family. Trust in your friends." That advice leaves you empty, like a tree without leaves in the midst of winter. The emptiness of the branches make it hard to find shade from the heat of the noonday sun, so the advice of one who points you something or someone other than the Lord God almighty. He alone is able to give you comfort and strength in the trials and tribulations of your life. He alone is able to lift you from the despair of the day.
BUT! you may cry out, but the problem is still there! It hasn't left. He hasn't healed me or my loved one. He hasn't give me a job. He hasn't made the frustration go away. He hasn't done what I asked Him to do! How can you say that He is still right there, helping me? He isn't! He hasn't! That must mean He can't!
Therein lies the problem. The challenge of the Psalm is found in that very thought. To trust in the Lord is not to make Him a magical genii that will make all things better, that will solve all your problems and make your life all that you want it to be. I believe that we have elevated ourselves to the point of becoming 'godlike' so that we believe that what we want is what needs to happen. We have lost the thought that our God is one who looks beyond the moment, the present, which holds many struggles and pains, trials and temptations, problems and sickness, and a whole host of other things that we can't even name (or perhaps don't want to because we are afraid to even say/think of them because they just "might" come true). We have a warped understanding of God. We have remade God in our image and then, when that newly made God doesn't act the way that we want Him to act, when He doesn't do what we want Him to do, we get upset, frustrated, and angry with Him and cry "Foul! I didn't sign on for a God that doesn't do what I want, when I want. I am not so sure that I can trust in this type of God." And in anger, pain, bitterness, and frustration, we shuffle off to Buffalo without looking back upon the God we have made that has disappointed us.
"Trust in the Lord!" Those words call us to set aside ourselves and our ways and to turn to the God of the universe, the God who has made all things, who has loved all things, who has saved all things. We are to trust in the God who has reached out to us, not by making us become like Him but by becoming like us. We are to trust in the God who has sent His Son into this world to suffer (yes, suffer, and much more than we have ever suffered) and to die for each of us. Yet, that is not the full story. He also rose again on the 3rd day, rising from the dead to give new life who all that believe in Him and all who trust in Him.
For you see the fullness of what Christ Jesus has done is that He did die but He also rose again. It is in that resurrection, in that new life, that we are given new life, new hope and new future. To trust is the Lord is to have the old self put to death (with all its demands that make it desire to become the controlling of all things) and the new self come forth. To trust in the Lord is to actually trust that He is God and I am not. It means that even when things don't go the way that I think that they should, I know that God is still in control and knows what is best for my life in this situation. It means believing in God and not myself.
That is the challenge. I am not God. I am not in control. I do not know what is the best for my life. I may suffer. I may become ill. I may lose someone or something important in my life. But I trust that God is still God, He still loves me and cares for me. No matter what happens, how things play out, God is still God and I still trust in Him.
That is not easy. Satan doesn't want us to live that way. Our sinful nature doesn't want us to live that way. People around us don't want us to live that way. That is where the Psalm, the Word, and faith begin to really come together to guide our lives.
"Trust in the Lord!"