Looking at Psalm 46 in the sermon on Sunday, we closed by talking about what it means to trust Jesus in the midst of adversity. God does not promise to keep us from hard times; he promises to be with us in the midst of them (Psalm 46:1, 5, 7, 11). It is in those times that he tells us to "be still" and know that he is God—that our confidence is in his strength and not our own.
So I thought I would briefly review what it means to trust him in the midst of trials.
- It begins with admitting when you are not in control. The simple reality is that he is God and we are not. However, we often try to act as if we are God and in control. We will never trust God as long as we are placing our hope in ourselves.
- The second thing is remembering that he is God. Once we remember that we are not in control, it is much easier to remember who is. All of creation is in his hand. All enemies are subject to his sovereign power. This doesn't mean that no adversity will come to you, but it does mean that none can reach you without his permission and approval. That means if hard times come, God has a reason (Romans 8:28). He is shaping you. He is teaching you. He is helping you learn that this world is not your home. He is teaching you to rely upon him and his strength and not your own. And he is teaching you to long to be with him in heaven.
- The third thing is to learn is to ask yourself the right questions. If you don't learn to ask the right questions, you will never arrive at the right answers. So here are a few questions to ask yourself.
- “Is this trial greater than my God?” The trials that are described in Psalm 46 are not small. They are much greater than we are. But they are not greater than God.
- “Can this trial separate me from the love of God or his plan?” Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8 (vv. 37-39). Nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. God's promise is not that hard times won't come, but that he will carry you through them.
- “Is the goal to get through the trial or to be made more like Jesus through it?” God has told us over and over that the purpose of trials is to make us more like Jesus (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5). If your top priority is just to get through the trial, you will miss what God is doing through it.
These things take minutes to read and a lifetime to learn. My hope is that reviewing them will help you to trust the Lord and seek his purposes in the midst of trials and affliction.