Trust in the Lord forever, for in God, the Lord, we have an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26: 4

 

There are things that I trust almost every day. I drive my car at seventy five miles per hour while trusting that wheels will stay on, and I turn on electrical appliances believing that the protective system that has been designed into the wiring will keep the electricity in the machine and not let it run through me. I get out of bed in the morning and trust that my legs will hold me up when I stand; also, I trust that my doctor has knowledge and skill to take good care of my body. The concept of trust is laced through everything that happens in our lives; yet, most of the things and all of the people that we trust will, at least at times, fail to hold up their ends of the bargain, for that is the way things go in this world.

 

In order to find a trust that will not fail and to get to the level where trust becomes the foundation of calm and peaceful living, we need to dig down deep into the center of creation; since, that is where we reach the foundational bed rock that is the nature, character, and heart of God. Underlying all that is true and everything that is trustworthy is the Creator, and He seeks to give us the sort of confidence and the type of courage that makes the challenges and the concerns of daily living manageable.

 

It is good to gain knowledge and it is worthy to develop our skills, but it is essential to put our primary energy into getting to know God. None of us know God fully, and no one that I have ever encountered has come to the place in life where they are immune to situations, events, and circumstances that will upset the order of our days. Still, even when the footing that we have been relying upon has turned to quicksand and our most trusted friends have turned against us, the Lord is there to stop the descent into oblivion and to place His loving arms around us. The God of Creation will place your feet on the solid footing of His Word, will warm your chilled soul with His love, and will show you the way into the light of His glory.

 

Thus says the LORD:

Cursed is the man who trusts in man

and makes flesh his strength,

whose heart turns away from the LORD.

 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

whose trust is the LORD.

Jeremiah 17: 5, 7

 

The prophet says it all with a few very direct words. Where we place our trust directly relates to the results that will come our way. The trust that is under consideration is, in itself, a big issue. It is foundational to the conduct of the day, for the way that we handle almost everything in the course of life is impacted and effected by the nature of the foundation that we stand upon when making decisions, both small and great. When we trust in ourselves and in the wisdom of other people as our primary means of discerning what is right, wise, and just, we will be disappointed and even abandoned at some point in the process. People are fickle and self-interested and are almost always guaranteed to fail to live up to the highest of expectations when we stand on our own without the guidance and the strengthening that God provides to us.

 

Jeremiah goes on in this passage to describe the person who places his trust in the ways of people as being isolated and even as being starved for the things that sustain life and bring about flourishing during it. This person is like a plant that is standing alone in the desolation and bareness of the desert. There is little for his soul to feed upon, and there is no sustaining support and encouragement to be found in these places. In contrast, the person whose “trust is the LORD” is compared with a tree that has been planted by water. In other words, one that is close to, focused upon, and remains connected with this unceasing and completely trustworthy source of nourishment, strength, and guidance in the ways of truth and righteousness. Although a tree does not make the choice to be planted close to the stream, we are different from these analogous plants in the text. We do have the option and the opportunity to make these choices for ourselves.

 

We can turn toward the ways and the thinking of this world for our guidance in various matters. We can even think that it works for us to seek out God’s Word and His path for some things, those that we deem to be religious in nature, and at the same time turn to the more comfortable understandings of this world for the rest. Yet, according to the thoughts of the Prophet, which experience has demonstrated to me to be correct, neither of these approaches to life will work for very long. We will always end up thirsty for truth, starved of wisdom’s nutrients, and isolated from the fellowship of faith where we can find real and lasting encouragement and strength. So, we can also choose the path wherein we place our trust in the Lord alone and turn toward Him absolutely and totally. In so doing, we turn to God’s Word as our primary and final authority for everything, all other ideas and thinking is tested against Scripture, we pray and listen to the Lord’s responses to our prayer as a regular aspect of each day, we engage in the fellowship of other followers of Christ and we seek out the counsel of these like-spirited people, and we recognize the fact that we are living as imperfect beings under the gracious and loving care of the Lord. When we choose this last approach to life, the roots of our hearts, minds, and spirits are planted in the singular source of nurture that will never fail to provide what is necessary for the day at hand.

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26: 4

 

There are days when security feels like a concept that comes out of the science of quantum physics; I’ve heard about it, but it seems to be expressed in a language that is hopelessly foreign to me. Days like this are ones where I would truly like to trust in the promise of the future, even in the safety of the next hour, but my mind keeps revisiting the worst moments from all of the disaster movies that I have ever seen. Times like these require me to reorient my mind by opening my heart to the longer-term truths that life has taught me.

 

Here is one of those life-long truths that my mind wanders away from at times. God has always met every need that I have ever had. I can look back through my life and identify a continual stream of the Lord’s active involvement with me, for He was with me before I was willing to accept Him into my life, and He has been the primary identity of my heart since I asked Him in. God meets my deepest spiritual, emotional, and practical needs. For finances, food, shelter, acceptance, purpose, peace, joy, and love are all gifts that the Lord brings to me.

 

There is nothing wrong with being concerned about the condition of the world around us, for God tells us to be active participants in life. We are designed to work in order to provide for ourselves and we are given the resources that are needed to be able to do these things. We are also directed by God to care for others out of these resources. People were created to be living examples of Christ’s loving involvement with others; so, the fact that there are situations in our lives that cause insecurities to exist is not a problem, the challenge comes in how we respond to those troubling times.

 

It can be very difficult to trust in anyone or in anything; yet, to me, not trusting in God, who has a perfect track record of coming through in my life, seems totally illogical. When my heart starts to get shaky and my mind starts to become consumed by anxiety, I need to stop what I am doing and redirect what I am thinking about to point my mind toward God. I tell Him my concerns with deep honesty, and I listen to His calming voice of reason and hope; then, I trust Him enough to do what He tells me to do.

 

 

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37: 3, 4

 

Sometimes where we are is where we should be, and what we are doing is the very thing that will bring fulfillment to us and put a smile on God’s face. The job that we have, the city where we live, and especially the relationships that we are engaged in are usually gifts from Him. What we do with them, and how we act while doing it are the things that we get to choose.

 

David is telling us that we need to embrace God’s view of life, for the Lord wants us to trust Him enough to go deep into our world, to get to know the people who live there, and to let them know us. When he says that we should dwell in the land, David is telling us that God wants us to take up residence in our world in a well-invested and deeply committed manner. We need to demonstrate our faithfulness to involvement in people’s lives. This is the way that Christ interacts with me, and this is the way that the Lord wants me to demonstrate Him in my community. When we bring love, compassion, grace, and humility to our neighborhoods, we share the Lord with our neighbors in real and understandable ways.

 

This all starts with trust and with focus. We need to trust God to equip and to protect us, and we can count upon Christ to produce the outcome as we go out into our world without the defense mechanisms that we might normally employ. We need to turn our hearts and our minds toward Christ and keep Him and His love clearly in view so that the real purpose and Christ’s motivation for our actions stay continually defined. Thus, as we delight in the Lord and allow Him access to our hearts and as we live openly in faith and trust in our community, God brings joy, peace, and fulfillment to us. Also, our world will become a better place as one person here and another there come to know the source of peace and love that does change everything. With the Christ’s purpose in mind and His presence in my life, this land is my perfect dwelling place.

 

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,

And trust in the Lord.

Psalm 4: 5

 

So, God wants me to give Him something in the form of a sacrifice; that seems a bit strange in that He is the Creator of everything, and He ended the Old Testament practice of sacrifice with Jesus’ final one. Still, God does want us to willfully give Him certain aspects of our lives, and those gifts can be true sacrifice for us. The Lord asks for things that are often the things that we hold onto the tightest. They are frequently our long-standing touchstones of personal security.

 

God wants people to give themselves to Him; not just in an external expression of involvement, but He wants our hearts and our minds. He wants our essential beings. For the Lord really doesn’t care whether we have perfect church attendance or what committees we may serve on; He isn’t interested in the stickers that we place on our cars, or in the books that we line our shelves with. He does care greatly about the way that we love our families and how we reflect His love in our community, about the nature of our conduct, and about what we learn and apply to life from those books.

 

A sacrifice of righteousness is one that we give to God out of a desire to serve Him; for, He wants us to leave our places of comfort and to take the risk that fully trusting Him entails. Many of us segment and separate our spiritual lives from our other ones to some degree. We talk about some topics with one set of contacts but not with others; we engage in some behaviors in one locale but not in another; and we allow Christ to take absolute lead in some situations, but we hold onto control in others. Sometimes these distinctions between spiritual life and the rest of it are drawn between our personal or private life and our public one, and some of us establish these lines based upon our sense of comfort, thus, our sense of safety with individuals or within groups. Still some of us are more open about our relationship with Christ in the public setting than we are with those who we are closest to. Whatever the circumstances and the situation, if all of my thoughts, actions, and life direction are not driven by my relationship with Christ, I do not trust Him fully. Therefore, He desires for me to give Him the portions of my heart that I am still clinging onto, and these are today’s righteous sacrifices to my Lord.

 

 

 

Trust in the Lord, and do good;

Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Psalm 37: 3

 

Gardening is a strange and interesting hobby; it brings joy and delight, and it causes frustration and a feeling of utter helplessness against the forces of nature. There certainly have been times when I have been convinced that God is laughing mightily at my failed efforts and that, at the same time, He is hoping that I am considering the fundamental truths of my relationship to Him that are depicted in my futility. We do sometimes fail to think about the fact that the last consequence for their sin that God pronounced upon Adam and Eve was that their efforts to grow things, their work, would become difficult; for, their efforts would be frustrated and frustrating. Thus, I can blame the serpent when my garden doesn’t thrive, and I can shift the blame away from my own poor skills and claim that the tomato worms are demons in my greenery.

 

You know, I think that this is a true concept in the rest of life. There are demons in our gardens; there is evil that will do anything, truly anything, to cause our lives to wither and to fail. It is really easy to let it happen, too. Most of the time, the effects of evil are subtle and small; although, there are times when a large, furry and horned worm can be found chewing greedily on the leaves of my life, these events are rare in comparison to the days when I am just angry, impatient, and unloving. There are days when I go about my business and don’t actually growl at people; yet, if I also don’t do anything to bring Christ’s goodness and grace to them, these days are equally wormy.

 

Setting out to grow a garden involves an act of trust. We need to believe that the seeds will sprout, that they are what they claim to be, that the tiny plants will grow, and we trust in our memories of the superiority of the taste or of the color of the product. Living a life that is resistant to evil also requires trust, and it requires practice and determination. We can choose to allow the Lord to take control, and we can trust Him to take control of our attitudes. Also, we can plan to make every encounter of our day one that God will smile about. When we do this, we are truly living well in the land that the Lord has given to us, we are taking care of it in the manner that he desires; and our crops will be bountiful.