|The God We Can TrustThe following article appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Peacemaker Magazine and was adapted from one of the sermons available as part of the Peacemaking Church Resource Set.by Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun (Ps. 37:3-6).
Seeing Eye dogs fascinate me. Every time I see one of them leading its master along the street, I pause to watch their marvelous teamwork. The dogs are incredibly intelligent, marvelously trained, and utterly devoted to their masters.
The people who depend on these dogs are no less admirable. Just think of the trust they place in their four-footed friends! Every day they step out of their safe and familiar surroundings, and walk into a world filled with danger. Guided by their canine companions, they navigate obstacles that could cause them to stumble or twist an ankle. They walk up and down stairways where a misstep could send them tumbling. And they cross streets filled with speeding cars, which could crush them in an instant if they moved a second too soon or too late.
This life-risking trust was dramatically demonstrated by a man named Morris Frank, who brought the first Seeing Eye dog to the United States in 1927. Her name was “Buddy,” and she was a beautiful German Shepherd from Switzerland. When they arrived in New York, they were met by a group of curious reporters. Morris described what Buddy could do, but the reporters refused to believe him. When they challenged Morris to be led by Buddy across any street in New York, he gladly accepted. They choose West Street, a wide street roaring with speeding cars, which amounted to a freeway in the middle of Manhattan. When Morris approached the noisy street, he could hear the wave of cars passing by. Holding tightly to the leather harness connecting him to Buddy, he literally put his life into her hands-or rather her paws. Listen to how one author described their incredible journey across that deadly street:
Buddy calmly stepped into the thundering maelstrom of trucks and cars. She darted, side stepped, leaped between and around and in front of the racing juggernauts. Horns sounded, brakes squealed, alarmed drivers leaned out and cursed, but Buddy and Frank made it to the other side. As they reached the curb, a taxi drove up; out of it stepped a press photographer. He had been forced to take a cab in order to follow Buddy and her master. The rest of the reporters were still on the opposite side of the street. Not one had had sufficient courage to make his way through the stream of traffic that had been safely negotiated by a blind man and a dog! 1
Now that is trust!
You may never do anything quite this dramatic, but hardly a day goes by that you and I do not trust our lives into the hands of other people, many of whom we will never know. You see, life is all about trust. The world is so full of struggles, dangers, and conflicts that we simply cannot live without trusting someone to look out for our well-being.
Trusting God does not come easily for any of us. Even though we continually trust total strangers with aspects of our lives that could mean life or death, we often find it difficult to trust God by doing something so simple as going to another person and saying, “I was wrong,” or “I forgive you.”
Can we ever overcome this reluctance to trust the One Person in whom we should have absolute confidence? If so, how can we do this? Psalm 37 provides a key insight into David’s success with this issue. When faced with the struggles, threats, and injustice of life, David dwelled long and hard on the many commitments that God had made to him. In other words, David knew that real trust is based on the promises of God.
David meditated on God’s promises day and night (Ps. 1:2). He rolled them over and over in his mind until they saturated his soul and dominated his response to life. When dangers and conflicts arose, he undoubtedly preached these promises to himself to maintain a momentum for trusting God and obeying his commands. This momentum of trust carried David through countless tests and trials.
So how can we show that we trust God? We can talk all day about believing in God, but our actions are the most persuasive evidence of how we truly view God. In other words, real trust is revealed by dependent obedience.
The connection between trust and obedience is revealed throughout Psalm 37. Notice how the promises are interwoven with corresponding commands. Here is the wise and safe path for navigating the struggles and conflicts of life. Trust in God, keep his ways, and he will exalt and protect you!
Although this formula is simple, it is not easy. Our doubts, fears, and worldly conditioning constantly tempt us to turn from God and do things our own way. That is why it is not good enough to simply resolve to obey his commandments; we must pray for and seek after dependent obedience.
This means that instead of trying to do what is right in our own power, we constantly look to God not only for instruction but also for the strength and the will to do what would please and honor him. This calls for constant prayer, where we repeatedly ask God for grace to guide, strengthen, and protect us. Dependent obedience may also require that we look to others in the body of Christ for encouragement, support, counsel, prayer, and even loving correction as we walk through difficult situations.
As you remember God’s promises and draw on his grace, you can learn to resolve conflict in a way that shows his presence and power in your life, and enables you to make peace with others. Doing this defies the wisdom and the ways of the world, but more importantly, it proves beyond all doubt your trust in God, your confidence in his promises, and your reliance on his commandments. In the process, you will be an ambassador of the peace and reconciliation that others can find in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Think once more of Buddy leading Morris Frank across that busy New York street almost 80 years ago. A small German Shepherd was all that stood between him and catastrophe. His heart must have been pounding, and every instinct must have told him to turn back. But Buddy had shown herself to be dependable. She had guided him safely through the streets of Paris and London. Although she could not speak a word, she had repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to keep him safe. So Morris overruled his natural instincts, stepped out onto that busy street, and followed his dog into history.
How much more can we follow our perfectly dependable Guide when we are faced with the challenges and conflicts of life! He has written his promises in the blood of his own dear Son and not one of them has been broken! He has the power to move heaven and earth on our behalf. He has guided us safely through countless dangers, and has never failed to protect us from eternal harm.
So the next time you are faced with a challenge or conflict, remember the God you can trust. Put your confidence in him, hold fast to his commands, and you will discover that trusting God frees you to respond to conflict in a way that points others to the source of true security and peace. As Isaiah 26:3 promises:
You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.
1 More Than Courage, Patrick Lawson (Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co., 1960) pp. 186, 196.