Summary: Trust can be a huge challenge for us, especially when it comes to God. What does it really mean to trust God?
A man was out jogging one day and slipped and fell off a cliff. Grabbing hold of a branch on the way down, he found himself stranded and began to scream, “Help, is there anyone up there who can hear me?” He yelled for hours and was about to give up when he heard a voice. “ “Yes, I can hear you and see you. Are you alright?” “Yes, but...who are you and where are you?” “I am the Lord, I am everywhere.” “The Lord? You mean God?” “That’s me.” “God, help me, I promise that if you get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person and serve you for the rest of my life.” “Easy on the promises. First let’s get you down, then we can discuss all that.” “I’ll do anything, Lord, just tell me what to do.” “Okay, let go of the branch.” “What?” “I said, let go of the branch. Just trust me, let go.” There was a long pause of silence and then a cry, “Help, is there anybody else up there?”
Trust can be a huge challenge for us, especially when it comes to God. Every time we pull out some money, we’re confronted with “In God We Trust.” But do we? Trusting God is easier said than done. If we’re honest with ourselves, many of us will trust some parts of our life to God but everything? What does it really mean to trust God? Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” The word for trust here in the Hebrew means “to put all of your weight.” An example would be when you go to bed, you lie down trusting that the bed will fully support you. When you put all your trust in God, you put all your weight on Him. And that is why God says in our text, “with all your heart”. You either give Him all your trust or none at all. Half hearted trust is wholehearted doubt.
One cause of our trust issues is worry. Is anybody willing to admit to worrying too much in your life? All right, I’m in the right place. You see, worry and anxiety are the result of our struggle to trust God. We struggle with worry in just about every area of our lives: our decisions, our careers, our job, our money, the purpose and direction of our lives, our relationships and the list could go on and on. And yet, in our Scripture today, Jesus tells us to put our trust, our whole hearted trust, in God. Here is the challenge: our struggle to trust God, left unchecked, leads to worry and anxiety.
One capability that sets us apart from all other creatures God created is to plan our future but that can lead to worry. So here’s what happens: we lay out our plans, but then when things don’t go as planned, if we are not careful, we begin to worry. Worry comes in T-shirt sizes - small, medium, large and extra large. We have small worries like, “Will I be on time for my lunch appointment?” We have medium size worries like, “Will my next project at work be a success?” We have large size worries like “How will my kids turn out?” And then we have extra large worries like, “Am I living out my God-given purpose?” Or “Am I going to heaven?” And what happens is that we don’t just worry a little while and then set it down. We carry it around with us wherever we go and end up shouldering a burden God never intended!
The result? We lose our perspective. We begin to focus on the wrong things in life. We begin to focus on what’s not happening rather than what can happen. “For with God, all things are possible.” If we don’t turn it over to God, then we get worn out and worry, and worry’s sisters, fear and anxiety grip us. And it begins to interfere with our life and our relationship to God. We have difficulty understanding the Word of God. We don’t know which direction to go and we cannot figure out which voice is God’s from the other voices. We can become paralyzed by fear and worry and then are unable to live the life that God intended.
Nowhere does Jesus say, “I have come so that you might have worry and anxiety and you might have it more abundantly.” No – Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it in more abundantly.” John 10:10 If we’ re going to experience life to the fullest, then we’re going to have to deal with the worry which strikes us when things turn out differently than planned. In our Scripture today, Jesus is saying, “Look, you don’t have to worry about all that stuff. Your Father in heaven has already worked it out while you were trying to figure it out!” That is what Jesus is trying to tell us this morning. In Matthew 6, we read that once, not twice, but three times, Jesus tells us not to worry but to trust God.