Note: This is the script for a Faith Partnership Initiative conference call (audio above).
One of the things we have learned in this experience with COVID-19 is that we have to learn to trust God. There are too many unknowable things about the virus. It leaves so many questions unanswered. Why some get ill, some do not. Why some recover, and some do not. How is it transmitted so invisibly? What is the future going to look like as we learn to live with it? Why do doctors and health professionals have vastly different opinions about the virus and how to respond?
In all the things we cannot know, the one thing that brings us hope is God is present, He is Holy, He is all powerful, and He can be trusted. Today I want us to think about why we can trust God. There are many wonderful stories about trusting God, but I want us to focus on our Bible. When you hold your Bible in your hand, you hold the wisdom of God through the ages. You are able to hear a Word from Him simply by opening its pages and reading. What a wonderful privilege.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Trust is something we decide to do. It is our response to what we know and love about God. It requires our heart. It is out of devotion that we give our lives to Him. Scripture promises that if we seek God’s will He will show us the path to take in our lives.
Some things we experience may make it difficult to feel trust in God. But notice that this verse does not tell us to feel close to God. In fact, it tells us to look beyond our feelings – do not depend on your own understanding. Instead, seek God’s input in your life and believe what he has given you in His Word. When bad things happen or when we give in to temptation or when we have tried to do everything right and it still has produced struggles – all of those are times when trusting God seems hard. But the Lord understands these things and He will remain with us while we try to figure it out. Corrie Ten Boom famously said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Trusting God can be a challenge – but there are many reasons why you should trust Him.
Looking through the Scriptures, there are several expressions of faith that teach us why we can trust God.
TRUST GOD BECAUSE NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR HIM.
Jeremiah 32:17, 26-27 O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! …. Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?
John Piper assembled a list of the works of the Lord. He wrote:
He created the universe out of nothing (John 1:1). He turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). He split the Red Sea (Exodus 14:22). He brought bread from the sky (Exodus 16:15) and water from a rock (Numbers 20:11). He slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers to save his people (2 Kings 19:35). He caused ravens to bring his prophets food (1 Kings 17:6). He made the jar of meal and the cruse of oil keep on giving till the famine was over (1 Kings 17:16). He shut the lions’ mouths to protect Daniel (Daniel 6:22). He caused a virgin to conceive a child (Luke 1:31). He cleansed lepers (Luke 17:14) and healed the lame (Matthew 15:30) and gave sight to the blind (Matthew 9:30) and hearing to the deaf (Mark 7:37). He fed 5,000 with a few loaves and fish (Matthew 14:20). He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43). He caused Peter to find a coin in a fish’s mouth (Matthew 17:27).
Is anything too hard for the Lord? The Bible teaches that we can trust God because nothing is too difficult for Him.
TRUST GOD BECAUSE HE IS YOUR SHEPHERD
A Shepherd is in charge of a flock – he feeds them, protects them, leads them. God is our Shepherd, caring for us, loving us, and leading us.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.Psalm 23, NKJV
This Psalm has brought comfort and strength to untold millions over the centuries. It reminds us to put our trust and faith in God who cares, loves, and leads us through the most difficult days of our lives.
As our Shepherd, it concerns him when we wander away from the truth, away from His presence. Matthew 9:36 says, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.“
As our Shepherd, Jesus will give his life for our protection. John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
As our Shepherd, Jesus knows us – he knows our hurts, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our needs. John 10:14 says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me...”
TRUST GOD BECAUSE HE IS OUR HELPER
I would not want to try to go through this pandemic experience without the help of God. I’m concerned for those who have yet to give their lives to Christ – how are they coping with all of the stress and anxiety of COVID-19 and the resulting life changes? It is an upheaval of our society – but those who trust in God have a Divine helper who will give them strength to overcome and survive and thrive each day.
I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.Psalm 121, NLT
I hope those words encourage you because they reflect that God is never “off duty” … his office is never closed … He never fails to notice what we are going through or how our day is going … We will never know the harm he has kept from us. Even when we experience struggle and difficulty, we can have confidence that we can make it through because of His loving care … both now and forever!
TRUST GOD BECAUSE HIS MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY MORNING
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” …He also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.Lamentations 3:22-24, 32, NLT
We can never exhaust the mercies of God – Every morning when we wake up they are as fresh and new as we need them to be. Aren’t you glad that God’s mercies never come to an end? This is why we can put our hope in Him and why we can trust Him – his love is unfailing.
TRUST GOD BECAUSE HE KNOWS YOU
There is nothing about you that God does not know. He is aware of all of your struggles. He knows when you have experienced victory, and defeat. He knows your thoughts – and your words before you speak them. Yet he loves you deeply. So if you have experienced fear, worry, anxiety or stress over COVID-19, do not think that He is unhappy with you or displeased. His love goes beyond our weakness.
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!Psalm 139:1-7, NLT
TRUST GOD BECAUSE HE MAKES YOU STRONG
Our strength is not in ourselves – but in the God we love and serve. I’m so glad that I do not have to fight the spiritual battles on my own. In fact, I can’t do it on my own. I need our strong God to give me the heart to go on.
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:28-31, NLT
TRUST GOD BECAUSE HE CANNOT FORGET YOU
…Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. …Isaiah 49:14-16, NLT
I know it seems like God may have forgotten us and is far away when we are struggling and hurting. Sometimes we just do not understand the things that happen to us in this life.
I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse. – Philip Yancey
Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God. – John R. Stott
Psalm 147:11 …The Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.