By Nicole Kerr
Have you ever done one of those trust fall exercises where you close your eyes and fall backwards into the open arms of someone standing behind you? I don’t think I could do it. Sadly, I think I would have a hard time doing it even if it were my husband waiting to catch me! (Shh, don’t tell him.) Maybe I am just not a trusting person. Are you? Maybe it is because we simply know that as humans we are flawed, and even if the other person means to catch us, we think, “What if they get distracted or they slip?”
If you are like me, you may have times when you find it hard to trust God as well. But if we believe He is perfect and all powerful, why do we still struggle?
Here are five things that can prevent us from trusting God:
1. The fall and our resulting sin nature.
It’s as simple as that. We were created from the very beginning to be in perfect communion with God and to know that what He has for us is best, but the fall broke that connection. Our own sin nature gets in the way of our fully trusting in the God who created us. But there is good news. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we have been redeemed! We can daily die to that sin nature so we can tap into that beautiful connection with God again.
2. Our need for control.
We have a hard time trusting anything outside of ourselves that we can’t fully see, understand, or control. Since the fall, we are very aware that everything is out of our control, but that doesn’t stop us from trying and from making a mess of things. In Genesis, God made a promise to Abraham (then known as Abram) that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. The only problem was that Abraham’s wife, Sarah (then known as Sarai), couldn’t have children. I really do believe that Sarah thought she trusted in God’s promise, but “just in case,” she took control to make sure it would happen. And boy, what a mess! (Read the full story in Genesis 16.) God was always in control of the situation, even after Sarai thought she could do it better. God is always in control of your life as well, even when things look messy.
3. We have a self-made echo chamber.
We live in a world where opinions fly in every direction, and when we find one that makes us feel good, we surround ourselves with more of the same. The problem is that much of what the world says to us is contrary to what God says in the Bible. Sometimes His Word doesn’t make us feel warm and fuzzy because God uses the Bible like a mirror that shows us that our shirt is on backward or our hair is messy or last night’s spaghetti is still on our face. So how can we trust something/someone that doesn’t make us feel good all the time? Real love speaks the truth to you no matter how much it may hurt. God and His Word bring us truth, and the truth is something you can trust.
4. Our limited view.
Our view of the world is so two-dimensional. We can see what is happening right in front of our eyes and what has already happened to us (which is still not a very accurate picture because we view our past with a skewed lens). God sees the full picture all at once from the beginning of time to His return, and He sees how your life fits into the picture. Jesus’ disciples had followed Him and sat under His teachings for three years, so you would think they would trust Him. Matthew 16:21 tells us that Jesus plainly (not through parables) began to tell the disciples about His suffering that was about to take place, that He would be killed but that He would be raised back to life in three days. He spelled it out for them! But then when they were in the midst of these events all they could see was what was right in front of them. They couldn’t see the bigger picture, that in three days Jesus would be back with them. Even when we know God is in control and we know the truth of Scripture, we still have a hard time seeing past our limited view of our situation.
5. We are not convinced God really loves us.
It all goes back to that separation from God because of the fall. We are no longer linked up to God’s heart, so we can’t fully comprehend the love God has for us. That prevents us from trusting Him. Romans 8:31-37 (NLT) says it best, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? . . . Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
The bottom line is that God is trustworthy. You can trust Him to catch you. If you find yourself having a hard time trusting God in whatever situation you are facing, ask yourself if any of the above reasons are the problem. Maybe it is all of these; maybe it is something else. Take time to seek God and let Him reveal what is in your heart, and let Him bring healing so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can be at work in your life.