Summary: Will we be faithful when the going gets rough?
You know being trustworthy is one of the best character traits to have. Smart is good, but if you cant be trusted, no one will believe your smart-ness. Friendly is good, but if you cant be trusted it is only a shallow hello. A winsome personality is wonderful, but if you cannot be trusted you are a sham. When you child looks at you from the edge of the pool, and you say, jump in, you can do it, right then is a crisis of trust. Will they trust you to catch them? Many people treat their relationship with God that way. They wonder, can I really trust Him? Is He really got my best interest at heart? And you know the truth is, He does. Think about it, the God of the universe, creates you and me, and decides to allow us to choose Him or not to choose Him—because He wants to be loved freely—by our own free will. Some people say, if God was so loving, why wouldn’t He just make us love Him and avoid the whole sin thing. God chose the loving act of giving us a free will, so that He wouldn’t force anyone to do what they did not want to do. And friends, let me lovingly say as your pastor today, that He will not force you to spend eternity with Him. He only wants those to be with Him who really want to. If you are running from God today, think about that. He may in time, let you have your own way.
Those that begin a walk with God, know that He can be trusted to do what He says He will do. He has given us his Holy Spirit to guide us, to protect us, to walk with us. That’s the kind of God I want to serve. God has to be trustworthy. Did you know that? He has to be trustworthy, because He is truth. God has revealed his truth through His Word and through Jesus, His Son. The truth is, that He loves us very much, and wants to have a relationship with us. If God is trustworthy, that raises an interesting question I am sure few of us have ever answered with any clarity: Can God trust you?
If I asked most of you today, “can you really be trusted?” most of you would answer YES. Most of us would answer “YES” because we would reason that we are good and even godly. We don’t steal, don’t cuss, don’t cheat or go with girls who do—or whatever. But if I asked you this morning, …can God trust you? The answer becomes more difficult.
1. Can God trust you when you are under attack?
2. Can He trust you when all hell is breaking loose around you?
3. Can God trust you when Satan decides to shoot a fiery dart at your marriage, your children, or your health?
4. Can He trust you when the bank says there is no more money and you just bounced a check?
5. Can He trust you when the boss doubles your work and not your pay?
Can God trust you?
Turn with me to the letter of 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 8-11.
8. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11. as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
Paul is writing to the people of the churches in Corinth. He has just expressed that God will comfort them as He has indeed comforted Paul and his companions. Paul had some real trials. He was imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten with the lash 39 times (because at 40 they thought you might die), he was almost stoned at one point. Paul endured a lot of hardship in his years of ministry. What this particular trial was is not revealed here. It may have been any of the things just listed, or even a physical trial. Paul notes in other places that his “thorn in the flesh” is a real and more than irritating problem for him. Some of you know that sometimes physical trials truly do take on the nature of life and death situations. Paul says in verse 9 that in their hearts, they felt the sentence of death. This was a serious trial—one in which even the eternal optimist, Paul, was challenged in his faith.