by Nancy Missler, posted on Oct 4, 2013
The more we understand what trust really is, the more we’ll be able to confidently walk out His will. Like many other principles in the Christian life, trust doesn’t just happen; it’s a learned experience.
God has established a destiny for everyone and the enemy is relentless in keeping us from that destiny. Throughout history there have been many heroes who were relentless against the attacks of the enemy. One such hero was General George Washington.
On the night of December 25th, 1776 General George Washington led his exhausted and tired Continental Army across the hazardous, icy Delaware River. Morale was at its lowest because prior to this night they had suffered many defeats. This surprise attack had been planned by Washington. Two detachments were unable to cross because of the severity of the icy river, leaving Washington with only 2,400 men under his command in the assault. But he was bound and determined to see it through. He was relentless. The surprise attack caught the enemy off guard. The battle was victorious! It was brief and there was very little loss of life for his men. Almost two thirds of the 1,500-man garrison were captured.
This American victory inspired the rebels in the colonies. A week earlier, the army had seemed on the verge of collapse, but because of this dramatic victory, it inspired soldiers to serve longer and attracted new recruits to the ranks.
Being relentless, like General George Washington, is imperative to being an overcomer for the times in which we live. Trusting the Lord and walking in His cycle of trust will keep us on the road to victory. As Nancy continues to heal and get stronger, we at The King’s High Way have chosen a message that she wrote back in 2006. It was taken from her book, Never Give Up. We pray that it encourages, inspires and reminds you to be relentless in your Christian walk.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to Heaven.
— Philippians 3:13–14
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century wrote:
The wondrous theme of the Bible that frightens so many people is that the only visible sign of God in the world is the cross. Christ is not carried away from earth to heaven in glory, but He must go to the cross. And precisely there, where the cross stands, the resurrection is near; even there, where everyone begins to doubt God, where everyone despairs of God’s power, there God is whole, there Christ is active and near. Where the power of darkness does violence to the light of God, there God triumphs and judges the darkness.
Trusting God Is Essential
If we are going to learn longsuffering and the ability to “never give up,” then we must learn to unconditionally trust God. This is the means by which Jesus accomplished all that God intended Him to do. And, it’s the same with us.
What exactly is trust? The Greek word is peitho, which means “to rely upon, to have confidence in or to believe in.” Think about it for a moment. Trust encompasses absolutely everything. Everything we think, say and do is built upon either trust in someone or trust in something.
Most of us have learned the hard way that if we put our trust in material things or other people, we’ll usually be let down. That leaves us with just two other options: either put our trust in ourselves, which again most of us have found out to be deadly (see Proverbs 28:26), or put our trust in the Lord. We cannot do both. We cannot fully trust in God and trust in ourselves at the same time. We must choose one or the other.
For Christians, Hebrews 2:13 tells us that there is only one correct answer. We must unconditionally trust in the Lord and Him alone. He is the only One who has all the answers to life. He is the only One who knows all the intricate plans He has for our individual lives. And He is the only One who can control what comes in and out of our lives.
Trusting God means cleaving to Him with unreserved confidence no matter how we feel, what we see or what we understand; being fully persuaded that what He has promised, He will perform in His timing and in His way. (Romans 4:20)
By experience, most of us have learned that God’s ways are often far beyond our human understanding. Thus, if we are to walk with Him, love Him and experience His Life through us, we must unreservedly cling to the assurance that whatever He allows in our lives is for a purpose. Being able to trust Him, rely upon Him and have confidence in Him in these times is absolutely essential. If we give in to doubting His Love and His care at this time, we can easily lose our way.
It’s impossible to do His will and learn longsuffering without being able to trust Him completely!
The Lord’s Cycle of Trust
One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 37:5, which says: “Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He will bring it to pass.” Trusting God is simply knowing and being absolutely assured that He will do all He promises. Remember the definition of perseverance—the certainty that what we are looking for, will happen. Trusting God is the basis of that perseverance.
As we learned last month, trust incorporates many things, from knowing what His will is to walking it out. And, of course, it incorporates the whole process in between. The more we understand what trust really is, the more we’ll be able to confidently walk out His will. Like many other principles in the Christian life, trust doesn’t just happen; it’s a learned experience. Simply saying “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” is far different than actually living out being slain and still trusting Him. Trust begins with one faith choice at a time. When we experience God’s faithfulness in the first incident, well have the confidence to make the same kind of choice in all the rest.
There are eight principles that make up God’s cycle of trust. These eight principles (each of which makes up some form or aspect of trusting Him) will take us from “beginning knowledge of God” to “intimate knowledge of Him.” These are principles that you and I have bantered around for years and thought we understood. But perhaps we’ll see for the first time how these terms are interrelated. They not only depend upon each other but also build upon each other. Consequently, unless we are “living” the first principle, we’ll be unable to go on to the next. And if we are not living that one, the third one will be out of our reach. And so on. All these principles are related and must go in the order God has laid them out. Again, each defines some aspect of trusting God.
So, after over 50 years of being a Christian and many, many stumbles and falls, this is what I see as the Lord’s cycle of trust: (You check me out. We have the same Guide Book.)
God’s Cycle of Trust
- First, we must know His basic will. We must know what He desires to do in our lives. Romans 8:29 tells us He wants to “conform us into His image.”
- Next, we must know He unconditionally loves us. We must know this not just in our heads but in our everyday experience.
- As a result of the above two things, well be able to trust Him enough to obey Him by faith, not feelings. And, the way we obey Him is:
- Choosing to love Him—continually giving our selves over to Him. And,
- Choosing to renew our Mind—continually dealing with our sin and self. And,
- Choosing to have absolute faith—continually walking by faith, not feelings.
- If we are doing the above, we’ll have the ability to see Him in all things.
- And, as a result of all of the above, we’ll be able to patiently endure all He allows.
In simpler terms, knowing His Love produces our obedience, which brings about His presence and the ability to persevere through any trial.
These are the principles that make up the Lord’s cycle of trust and leaving any one of them out puts a hole in our ability to trust Him fully. So the bottom line is: we can only learn the fruit of longsuffering by living all eight of God’s principles of trust, His cycle of trust. If we fall down in any of these steps of trust, chances are we’ll feel like giving up, letting go and turning back. And, most likely, we’ll not survive our crises without confusion and devastation.
Interestingly, this cycle of trust is a chronology of my own walk with the Lord. First, I learned about His Love and what His will was (especially during the earlier years of our troubled marriage). Then, He proceeded to teach me what He desired from me (obedience): how to love Him, how to renew my mind and how to have naked faith (through desperate circumstances in my own life). As a result of applying these principles to my life, I began to see Him as I never had before. So, again, His Love in my life produced a willingness to obey Him in all things, which resulted in my seeing Him and being able to endure through harsh and tragic circumstances.
Even for us older Christians, trusting the Lord completely during horrific trials and tragedies is still hard. The route our natural minds take when everything falls apart in our lives is not towards trusting, enduring and persevering, but towards discouragement, confusion and depression (see chart, above).
Being willing to unconditionally trust the Lord and not lean on our own understanding is absolutely essential. (Proverbs 3:5) Only living God’s cycle of trust will allow us to say and live out, “Though You slay me, yet will I trust You…” (Job 13:15)