Trusting God with the Unknown
People have an incredible hunger to know our future. We want to know what is coming next and how that will affect our future. We don’t like being in the dark. We don’t want any bad surprises. It’s the ‘not knowing’ that can sometimes cause us stress.
We think, if we know what to expect it gives us a measure of control over our life. But there are so many unknowns like: How long will I live? What is my future going to be? How will certain things turn out?
When a person gets saved they come into a new relationship with God. We are learning to relinquish control and trust Him. But this won’t happen without some help from God. He will arrange some circumstances that we cannot figure out, and He will not give us answers when we want them. He is trying to make us water walkers.
It takes experience with God for you to learn to trust God.
Ill. Maybe you have been praying about a situation for a long time and don’t see anything happening. You can get discouraged. Here is where trusting God with the unknown is vital.
If you say, “I’ve been waiting for years and God has not done anything. I think He is waiting on me to do something.” If that is true, then God will communicate that to you but don’t just jump out there and do something for the sake of doing something.”
“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the Word of His servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. But now, all you who kindle a fire, who encompass yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of YOUR FIRE among the sparks that YOU HAVE IGNITED. This you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in sorrow. Isa. 50:10-11.
This scripture is a warning to believers if God does not give you light – don’t create your own artificial light – there are times of the unknown future that God does not gives us any light and expects us to trust His name:
· When is our child going to straighten up? When are we going to get well?
· When is our breakthrough going to come? He sees the big picture, we don’t and when we don’t know what to do – we are to trust His name.
“You mean that’s it? Just trust God’s name?” How can I do that?
When you know what to do or what is going to happen, you govern things through your mind. God is not opposed to the mind, but He is opposed to the mind over ruling the heart in a believer.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
3 types of believers but only one can walk on water:
Figure-Feel –or Faith
1. Figurers – They filter everything through the mind and remove what isn’t logical. They rely on their own logic and reason to keep them safe. They won’t go beyond their understanding. The analyze, create maps, charts, and figure out every detail or possibility. We need people like this. It is not wrong it’s just they will never be a water walker. They won’t trust HS.
2. Feelers – They feel everything through emotions and then make a decision. Good but emotions can be deceptive especially if the mind is not renewed to think like God. Too conscious of people.
3. Faith-ers - true worshippers in awe of God. Their hearts are surrendered to God. They realize their hearts can embrace things that their heads can’t understand. A surrendered heart to God can lead you where logic would never go.
Ill. Think about the courage of people we call heroes. Those who run into burning buildings to rescue someone. We never say they were courageous because they were smart or had a high IQ. Their courage came from their heart overcoming their mind and reason.
Trusting God does not come because we understand, it comes because we are confident in His goodness.
We naturally seek answers to the questions in our life, but if we get no answers from God and then we get frustrated, that is a sign we have gone too far in trying to understand with the mind.
Much of the frustration people have in life comes from feeling like we need to know why this happened, or we need to know what to do in every situation. Sometimes it may be more complex that you need to know and would cause us stress and worry. HS will tell us some things to come but not everything. So when He does not give us insight, we need to trust Him.
Can you trust God when you are in the dark? It takes 2 things:
“Through faith and patience we inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12
It is hard to have patience on God’s timing when what you hope for does not happen by the time you think you need it.
When breakthroughs don’t happen when you expect you have to be patient with God and trust He knows what He is doing.
Ill. God purposely did not take the Israelites on the shortest route to the Promise land, because He knew they were not ready for the warfare they would have to endure. Maybe God knows you are not ready for the warfare you would have to endure.
He took them a longer route to protect them but also to prepare them so they could fulfill their destiny.
While you are waiting on God’s timing don’t make the mistake of trying to figure everything out. It may take longer than you thought or it is more difficult than you expected.
When God brings you out of your difficult situation, everybody around you is going to have no doubt that the God you serve is an awesome God. It is really about Him not you.
Ill. I’ve been reading Ezekiel lately and I noticed a phrase that keeps popping up.
“Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
“Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
Sometimes this refers to God going to allow bad things to happen to people because they are not pursuing God. The people will turn back to God and He will help them.
It’s like God is showing that He will do anything to get us to know He is the Lord – the Almighty. It’s like the whole purpose of life is for us to know Him as the Lord.
Ill. God I’ve been waiting on my child to change for 15 year!
If you are still trying to figure it out, and God is not talking then you are going to be frustrated in demanding answers. Some things you do not know why or what to do – so at a deeper level of trust you have to surrender to God and say, ‘Lord, my times are in Your hands. I am not going to worry about why this has not happened yet. I am going to trust you and just keep doing what I know I need to do.
Just because there seems to be no solution, it does not mean there is no solution!
Fear will attack us and try to convince us there is no solution. “There’s just no way this is going to work out. This is never going to end. I’ve done all I know to do and nothing is working. There seems to be no way.”
Ill. In Acts 12 King Herod of Jerusalem had James the leader of the Jesus church, killed. He did it to make political points with the people who hated the Jesus’ people. It was Passover and more Jews were in town so now he has Peter, a high profile Jesus cult member, arrested and sentenced to die too. Peter is just a political pawn to Herod. He is just trying to show the Jews that he is in control and don’t mess with him and try to unsettle Jerusalem as long as he is king.
So Peter is arrested and in jail under heavy guard. 4 squads of soldiers at 6 shifts guard him around the clock. He is chained at the wrists to a guard on each side and shackles on his feet. It must have been very uncomfortable.
The Christians gather to pray at a home for Peter’s release. They must have been wondering, If Peter gets killed – whose next?
God heard their prayers and sent one angel to release Peter from prison. Read the account from Acts 12:6-19.
I wonder how I would feel if the night before my scheduled execution – I would b sleeping? The stress would be emotionally great. I would be praying for a miracle because of what happened to James. I don’t think sleep would be on my bucket list.
Somehow Peter slept –deeply. He remained in peace while facing death in a few short hours – how? Certainly God was helping him but he played a part in this too. How did he manage to go to sleep?
You can’t remain in God’s peace and have your own agenda!
If Peter had been focused on his own agenda – worried about his plans not coming to pass – worried about his own life – worried about the church who looked to him for leadership – his family?
Here was a man that was somehow free from all that stuff that we are normally concerned about. Is is realistic to think we can deal with serious life issues, real responsibilities, family issues, financial pressures and and a multitude of demands placed on us and not get weighed down with stress? This is why we take vacations – to take a break from the pressure and stress and get away from it all!
Is it possible to have what Peter had?
If Xns are stressed out – what kind of good news do they have?
Our God commands us not to worry, not to fear, unload your cares on Him, trust Him – but our walk is so different! Most Xns are just as stressed out as the rest of the world.
Several years ago after I finished writing “Crossing Forbidden Boundaries” I had been asking God about what to write next. I had an encounter with God on the way to this church on a Sunday morning. God spoke so clear and said to me, “I am about to give you CPR.”
Contentment – Peace and Rest. I was so excited and was expecting a download of revelation. Years have come and gone and with several attempts at writing it but it has not come together yet. In the mean time I was expecting supernatural CPR in my own life and church.
But the next few years things seem to go south fast. Struggles and division in the church, broken dreams, family dysfunction, on and off financial pressure and some personal burdens that almost crushed me.
I began to laugh at the idea of God wanting me to write a book telling the world how to live in CPR? The problem is I am the guy heavily burdened, sad, grieving, with my own share of depression and issues!
The same reason I felt disqualified to write this book is the same reason God said you are qualified.
Whenever this book gets written, it is to be more than an “don’t worry – be happy – God is in control pep talk thing. Life is much more complex than that. I don’t know the details of how, when, and the outcome yet – it is a work in progress.
My middle name is Wayne – burden bearer. I’ve wondered about that being a prophetic part of my life – learning to carry burdens assigned to your life with CPR.
Think about the heavy load a freight train pulls.
Pic of freight train:
Actually the weight helps the momentum. Weight can work to our advantage to push forward with ease once we are moving in the right direction.
Life is not about getting rid of our burdens – it is about finding grace to carry them with God to the place He wants us to go.
Psalm 55 Cast your burdens on the Lord – “on the Lord” who lives inside us. The burdens of our life don’t disappear because we cast them on the Lord – we find grace to carry them and then experience freedom from the heaviness in our soul, the grief, the sadness.
It is living deep down in a heart level of freedom. Peter had to learn this – you and I have to learn this too and then share it with one another.
Remember Peter walking on the water during a storm. Jesus did not say wait Peter until I turn off the wind and make the rain stop – now step out. Nothing changed – the storm kept on. The only thing that changed was Peter’s focus. Don’t focus on storm, your troubles, your fear of what may happen. His level of fear diminished as he focused on Jesus. A simple but profound truth for us too.
We don’t get peace by getting rid of our problems. That may not be an option. Our peace comes from focusing on Jesus. He wants us to walk on top of burden and not go under by them.
Why doesn’t He just take away our problems? Because they are the things that He uses to teach you to trust Him.
Near the end of his life he wrote I Peter 5:7. By then it was the voice of experience talking. He had been through several storms, prison, church strife, persecution but he learned to trust God with the unknown. He had become a strong spiritual father with CPR.
He did what Father’s want to do on father’s day – take a nap.
Jesus did too – He took a nap during a violent storm. You can sleep through storms once you know Who is really in charge.