What Faith Feels Like

Guidelines for Living Daily Devotional

November 1, 2019

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  Psalm 56:3 NLT

Learning to trust God is a habit that I will be working on from now until eternity.  For the first half of my adult life I don’t think I really had any idea what trusting God was actually all about. Oh, I prayed about things. I could quote Bible verses about faith. David may have been able to say, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3) but I would have had to say, “When I am afraid…well…I’m just really afraid!”

What was I actually trusting in? My own best efforts? My plans? My control- freak attention to detail? God had to circle me in, to reduce my options through the circumstances He allowed in my life, to bring me to the place where I had nothing left to lean on. Nothing, that is, except Him.

When I tried taking my first baby steps of faith, my flesh told me, “This is a terrible idea—this is so irresponsible!” There I was, just doing nothing but praying and looking to God with my problems. Have you ever seen a photo of a frightened ostrich, with its head buried in the sand?  If the ostrich can’t see a threat, maybe it doesn’t exist, right?  Well, it turns out that’s really a myth and ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand, but my first attempts at living by faith felt like I was burying my head down in the sand, just hoping that everything would all work out all right!

I need to remember that trusting God, submitting my will and desires to Him, isn’t likely to feel good to my flesh. Initially, putting our trust in God feels foreign to us.  Romans chapter 7, verses 25 and 26 tell me that my sinful nature is a slave to sin; in my case, it’s the sin of thinking that I have to see how things are all going to work out!  But, as these verses say, “Thanks be to God who delivers me from myself through Christ Jesus our Lord!”

The Bible tells us that He helps us to learn to trust Him. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” we read in Romans 15:13 NIV. “Holy Spirit,” After reading that, I wrote in my journal, “God, I can only do this by Your power. I cannot trust apart from You. I need to overflow with Your hope in order to keep going!”

To be sure, it was a fragile trust at first, but as Calvin Miller wrote, “Fragile trust is stronger than swaggering self-reliance.”[1]  Slowly God worked in me. But I had to ask myself:  Am I willing to accept circumstances as coming from His hand and accept them with gratitude? Or would I continue to charge Him, as writer Elisabeth Elliot used to say, with “a mistake in His measurements, with misjudging the sphere in which I [could] best learn to trust Him?”[2]  Now intellectually, I know God does not make mistakes. It takes practice, but as I consistently remind myself of what the Bible tells me about God, what I know in my head begins to trickle down to my heart-and to my nervous system!

            Do you ever have a panicked feeling when you realize that all you can do about a problem is to pray?  Recognize it for what it is:  sin and focus on verses like Proverbs 3:5,6. I’ll be praying Romans15:13 for you, that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Resource reading:  Romans 12:1-3

[1] Calvin Miller, http://m.yjournalofajourney.blogspot.com/2007/12/random-quotes-helpful-thoughts.html, accessed 12-16-2016.

[2] Elisabeth Elliot, https://barbarah.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/elisabeth-elliot-a-quiet-heart/, accessed 12-16-2016.

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