“Struggling to Trust God?” November 29

 

Struggling to Trust God - Is there some area of life where you're struggling to trust God? Do you find yourself impatient because God has failed to answer your prayer or change your circumstances? Do you wonder, "Why me?" Is there some area of life where you’re struggling to trust God? Do you find yourself impatient because God has failed to answer your prayer or change your circumstances? Do you wonder, “Why me?” 

 

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 1 & 2
Psalm 135.15-21
Proverbs 29.10
1 Peter 5.1-14

 

We’ve finished another O.T. book (Ezekiel) and will finish 1 Peter today. We’re closing in on the end of the year! What has God shown you as you’re read your Bible this year? I’d love to get your thoughts.

 

Struggling to Trust God?

 

Daniel 1 & 2:

When Struggling to Trust God

 

Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel, so this book backs up to the beginning of the Babylonian conquest when Daniel was kidnapped and taken to Babylon along with other intelligent, handsome young men. They were to be brain-washed through education and exposure to rich-living so they would be useful to the leadership in Babylon, possibly to help with the other Jews who would later be brought to Babylon in larger numbers.

Instead, because of his character, God would use Daniel to influence two pagan kingdoms. Just as He did with Joseph, God would use his personal circumstances to alter the course of history. And in it all, Daniel gave glory to God (Dan. 2.28-30).

Daniel would face the temptation to compromise his beliefs (Dan. 1.5-8, 6.6-7) and the threat of death (Dan. 2.12-13, 6.6-7). Yet he stayed faithful to God. He didn’t rely on his own devices but prayed continually for God’s wisdom and help (Dan 6.10).

What a great example of God using “all things,” even an unsaved king and unfair, undeserved circumstances, for good (Rom. 8.28).

But what about your life and your difficulties? Has someone sinned against you in grievous ways? Are you struggling to trust God in your life?

If you’re a believer, God’s promises are true for you, too! He has not allowed anything in your life that He cannot use for your good and His glory. Others may have meant it for evil, but God means it for good (Gen. 50.20).

 

What Possible Good!

 

Have you ever thought, “What possible good can come from this?!” I know I have.

We need to understand that God’s love isn’t a pampering love. It’s a purifying love. His goal in our lives is to lovingly help us become conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8.29). He uses tests and trials for that purpose.

Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others (Matt. 22.37-40). When we face tests and trials we become more sensitive and compassionate about the struggles others face. In short, we learn to love better, one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5.22-23).

Remember the goal is to become like Christ who perfectly manifested all the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

As we wait on God to answer our prayers or work in our situation, we grow in patience. As we learn to trust Him, we grow in faithfulness. As we suffer the consequences of our own sinful behavior, we learn that kindness, gentleness, and self-control are better choices. So when we’re tempted to get discouraged in a trial, we might ask ourselves, “What aspect of the fruit of the Spirit might God be growing me in?”

But even when we don’t understand what God is doing, we can trust that He is using it for our ultimate good. Many times I’ve looked back and thought, “I didn’t like it at the time, but I’m so glad I went through _______. I wouldn’t be where I am in my relationship with Him without it!” I know many of you can say the same.

 

Struggling to Trust God - Is there some area of life where you're struggling to trust God? Do you find yourself impatient because God has failed to answer your prayer or change your circumstances? Do you wonder, "Why me?" 

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 135.15-21:

God & God Alone

 

Daniel understood what the psalmist said in these verses, that heathen gods have no power—that God and God alone is to be praised, worshiped and feared. As we read through the book of Daniel in the coming days, we’ll see that demonstrated in some amazing ways.

 

Proverbs 29.10:

Good for Evil or Evil for Good

 

“The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, but the upright seek his well-being.”

Even while being hated by godless men, true believers pray for and desire to see them come to the knowledge of God and be saved from an eternity in hell.

 

1 Peter 5.1-14:

Accepting God’s Gracious Work

 

Again and again in Scripture, we see that one of the character qualities believers are called to develop is humility (1 Pet. 5.5-6). We think of humility as merely a lack of boasting, but humility is also the ability to trust God and be joyful in the midst of difficulty—that is to humbly accept His gracious work in our lives. This is just one more way that God uses our trials for good.

Throughout history men and women who have been mightily used by God have had to first submit themselves to God’s providential work in their lives. Daniel was carried off to Babylon and forced to leave his family and everything he knew. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. Ruth lost her husband and was left to care for a bitter mother-in-law.

Thoughtful man hurt depression guilt sadnessIn what area of your life are you struggling to trust God? In what circumstance are you impatient for a change? Are you allowing that desire to drive you to your knees in humble obedience or have you stiffened your neck in pride and anger?

“… humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time … for He cares for you” (v. 6).

Share your struggles and concerns in the comments section. I’d love to pray for you. And I’d like to recommend Jerry Bridges book Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts.

 

Your Thoughts:

How has God spoken to you today? Did you see a passage in a new light? Did you see an area where you need to grow and change? Did you find a promise to hold on to? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Coming Up:

In the next few days, we’ll talk about false teachers, friendship, judgment, the Rapture and the Tribulation and how blameshifting leads to despair. We’ll also discuss the question, “Is the Bible enough in a complex world?”

Be sure to sign up here so you won’t miss any of these upcoming daily posts. If you sign up now you have a chance to win a bible and journal. You can see the details below.

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Blessings,
Donna


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Getting ready for 2018

The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading and prayer an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible and to sign up for my daily encouragement. This year I’ll be adding Scripture-based prayers to each day’s post. If you sign up before December 15 you’ll have a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible and a journal to record your thoughts and those Scripture-based prayers.

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I hope you’ll sign up for my daily email. It can serve as a gentle reminder to stay on track. I try to make comments that are relevant to the daily struggles and questions that I hear in my counseling and discipleship ministries.

Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.

You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. Just click on the social media icons. But nothing replaces having the daily devotion pop up in your inbox each day. It, usually (once in a while life gets in the way), goes out at 3 a.m. MST, so it’s there for early risers no matter what time zone you’re in.

So will you join me and, possibly, encourage someone else to do the same. (Why not email or call them right now?) Let’s get ready and grow in our relationship with Him together.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links! There is no additional cost to you when you do.

Today’s Featured Resource:

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts
In an effort to strengthen his own trust in God during a time of adversity, Navigator author Jerry Bridges began a lengthy Bible study on God’s sovereignty. The revelations changed his life. In Trusting God, Jerry shares the scope of God’s power to help you come to know Him better, have a relationship with Him, and trust Him more—even when unjust things happen. Tragedy, grief, loss, and death are part of life. Discover how Trusting God can reveal biblical truths about God.

19 thoughts on ““Struggling to Trust God?” November 29

  1. I work in long term care, have been a LTC nurse for 21 years. The struggle I’m facing is submission to the authority, not in the daily tasks and endeavors of the job, but in his manipulative, demeaning and deceitful tactics. My direct supervisor spoke to the governing board president, who encouraged her to file a grievance for sexual harassment against him, he got wind of it, and he dismissed her. Small town politics, two of the governing board members are “good buddies” of his. It is an “at-will” employment state. Before being escorted out of the facility, she gathered her belongings, but failed to log out of her email account, and he later (2 days later) read her emails. One of those was an email I sent after her termination with links regarding retaliation law in our state. Knowing and having been witness to how he operates, I fear I’ll be next, and I’ve prayed daily, “Your will be done.” I still struggle, fearing my job will be next, as the grievance was brought to his attention after executive session of the board meeting yesterday. I sent the email from my phone, so no “personal computer” use policies were broken. I am a nurse, so finding other employment isn’t really the fear. I have, however, invested 10 years in this facility, the residents and their families are MY family. I have repeatedly stated aloud, “God, it’s in your hands, I turn this all over to you.” I find bits of peace, but the thoughts and fears creep back in. 🙁

    • That’s a lot to deal with, Michelle. My heart goes out to you and I’m praying for your right now. I know God will give you the wisdom to say just what you need to say without threatening if you’re confronted about it or if it affects your job (1 Pet. 2.22-23) and He’ll enable you to “entrust yourself to Him who judges rightly.” Let me know what, if anything, happens.

  2. Reading about Daniel caused me to consider how much we really should rely on prayer. Could Daniel have stood up to all of that temptation without having been continually connected to the Lord? And the results of sticking close to God was that Daniel’s life had great influence. Daniel knew what was important and God used that to influence whole nations. Prayer truly needs to be an important aspect of our lives. Thank you for this reminder!

    Stopping by from the Sitting Among Friends Blog Party

  3. You are talking today about something my husband and I were talking about just yesterday, Donna. We both want to train ourselves to look for the possible good in every difficulty. I know God uses the harsh circumstances in my life to bring about a redemptive good all the time, so I should never fear or doubt that He will come through! Hugs to you, my friend!

    • Thanks, Beth. I’ve been contemplating this more lately, too. I’m so glad you were here today. Have a great week!

  4. Donna, it is so true that we must turn our focus to who God is during difficult times. As we remember that He is a good God and all He does is good and for our good, may our trust in Him grow strong and deep. Glad to have stopped here today!

  5. Donna,

    I just studied the first half of Daniel with a group and it was excellent! I’d read Daniel many times but never considering just how grievous the sins committed against him were until the study. Thanks for highlighting Daniel’s example of trusting in and obeying God!

  6. He loves us so much he puts us through the refining process knowing exactly what we need to grow. it is kind of amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Donna

    I resigned from a well paid job because I believed God was calling me to be a hands on mum to my 4 kids. A year down the line, the bills are piling up, my home business is struggling, my emotions are a mess and I am in a daily battle to trust Him…Thank you for reminding us that the children of God in the Bible went through the challenges too, even when fulfilling God’s purpose in their lives. Please remember me in prayer.

  8. Wow Donna, the timing of me reading this is perfect. “Daniel trusted in God and not his own devices..” this is powerful and true.

    I love the sound of the listed book you share about too.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Yet it seems so much easier at times to trust ourselves … how foolish we can be! Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas and New Year blessings!

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