Article of Faith

July 30, 2017

Why is it so difficult to trust God?

Why is it so difficult to trust God?

By Femi Aribisala

God is not just the God of the possible: he is more pre-eminently the God of the impossible.

Jesus used five loaves of bread to feed 5,000 people. He then used seven loaves to feed 4,000. Nevertheless, instead of reaching the conclusion that because of him they would never again have to worry about bread, his disciples were still concerned when they forgot to bring bread with them on a trip.

He rebuked them, saying: “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?” (Mark 8:17-18).

From Jesus’ questions, we can extract certain principles about trusting God.

Unreasonable trust

Jesus asks: “Why do you reason because you have no bread?”

You don’t need to trust God just for what is reasonable. What is reasonable will come to pass because it is reasonable. But you need to trust God for what is unreasonable. Solomon says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5).

God is not just the God of the possible: he is more pre-eminently the God of the impossible. Jesus says: “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27). God does not receive as much glory for the possible as he does for the impossible. Therefore, the more impossible the situation, the better it is to trust in God’s intervention.

This was the case with Abraham. God promised him an heir. However, he delayed fulfilling the promise until it was impossible. He waited until Abraham was 100 years old and, presumably, sexually inactive, and his wife, Sarah, had long reached her menopause. Then he renewed their bodies and gave them Isaac.

So doing, he stretched the faith of Abraham. “Against hope (Abraham) believed in hope.” (Romans 4:18). Thereby God was glorified.

Spiritual understanding

Jesus asks: “Do you not yet perceive nor understand?”

How do you know anything? Do you know it by what someone tells you; by the books you read or by what you see? That is not the source of true knowledge.

True knowledge comes by faith. It is by faith that we come to the knowledge of the impossible. It is by faith we are brought to the understanding of what God can do. What does it mean to know something by faith? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). This means true knowledge comes from what God tells us.

Peter did not know he could walk on water until Jesus bid him to do so. He believed Jesus, got out of the boat, and walked on water. But even as faith comes by hearing, even so faith goes by not believing what we hear. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked instead at the waves, he started to drown. He started drowning because he believed his lying eyes, and stopped believing the truth of God’s word.

Fake news

Do you believe the truth, or are you a captive of the CNN, BBC, Sky News and Al Jazeera?

It was carried in the news that Jesus had been defeated by his adversaries. They had arrested him and killed him by nailing him to a tree. This dashed the hope of those in Israel who thought he is the Messiah. Except that this factual report of his defeat was in actual fact a lie.

Isaiah asks: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1). The arm of the Lord is revealed to those who believe the report of the Lord.

Jesus rebuked his disciples for failing to believe the report of his resurrection. He was angry because they believed the report of the “BBC” and not the report of the prophets. He said to them: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26).

He was angry because he had told them beforehand that he would be killed but would rise from the dead on the third day. (Luke 18:31-33). Nevertheless, they still did not believe when what he predicted came to pass. Natural men say: “Seeing is believing.” But Jesus stands this on its head by telling doubting Thomas: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).

Hardened heart

Jesus asks: “Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see?”

What do you see? Do you see God at work or do you see the devil at work? Can you see what God is doing in spite of the hullabaloo around you? The hardened heart refuses to accept the truth of God. God’s truth does not change his philosophy.

Jesus says: “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (John 10:25-26). The hard-heart sees a miracle denies it, rationalizes it or explains it away. The reason is simple, the human heart is not fashioned to receive the truth. It can only receive lies.

Jesus says: “This people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13:15).

Therefore, in order to trust God we need a new heart. God says: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Forgetful hearers

Jesus asks: “Having ears, do you not hear? Do you not remember?”

Do you know when it is God who is talking to you even though he might be using the mouth of a friend to do so? Do you ask God a question and expect him to answer? Jesus says: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10: 27).

Do you remember what God has done? If he has done it before, he will do it again. He says: “I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:6). Do you remember what God has said? If he said it, he will do it. “God is not a son of man, that he should change his mind.” (Number 23:19).

God is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning as well as the ending. That means he will never begin what he does not intend to bring to completion. If you ever see him move in your project, it means he is committed. “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6).

The enemy is a thief. Don’t allow him to steal your dreams. Don’t allow him to steal your testimonies. “He who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25).