A story is told of a man who lost his footing while climbing a mountain trail. He slid over the side of a steep precipice and would have certainly fallen to his death had he not caught hold of a tree root protruding from the side of the cliff. Hanging there, he was literally suspended between heaven and earth. He could not climb up to safety, and there was nothing beneath his feet but open air. He began calling for help and suddenly a voice spoke to him from above. The voice said, “I am God and I have heard your cries for help. Do you trust in Me?” The man replied, “Yes!”, to which God said, “Then let go of the tree root.” At this point the man shouted, “Is there anyone else up there?”
Obviously, this story is hyperbole, but it illustrates the truth about trust. We passionately affirm our trust in God, but our actions frequently belie our affirmation. We read and quote Mt. 6:33, where the Lord told His disciples not to worry about their daily needs, but to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Then we forsake the assembly of the saints while working day and night to provide for our family’s needs. Like the man in the story, we’re not willing to demonstrate our trust in God.
One man who did not have this issue was King David of Israel. His life is an example of trust in God, even in the times when he sinned against God. In Psa. 25:1-3 David put his trust into the words of a song. He said, “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.”
When David took a census of the people in 2 Sam. 24, God sent the prophet Gad to David to declare His displeasure. God offered David a choice from three alternatives as punishment for his sin. These were: seven years of famine, three months of defeat at the hands of his enemies, or three days of pestilence from God (2 Sam. 24:11-13). David demonstrated his trust in the Lord by choosing to fall into the hands of God. He said, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hands of the Lord for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” David’s trust in God was rewarded when God stayed the angel’s hand as he was about to strike the city of Jerusalem (vs. 15-16).
David’s actions, as well as his psalm, demonstrated that he fully trusted in God. He knew that if he waited for the Lord; that is, if he put God first, then God would bless him. This is the crux of the matter regarding trust. It must be shown. Verbal affirmations mean nothing unless they are backed up by actions that prove their truth. Anyone whose actions prove his trust will not be ashamed. Those whose actions belie their affirmations will not be blessed. This is a timeless message that sometimes gets lost when things are going well.
The real demonstration of our trust in God is our obedience. Those who truly trust in God will turn to Him first, instead of as a last resort. Having turned to Him, they will do all He commands of them without hesitation or reservation. Trust begins with obedience to the gospel and continues with our ongoing obedience to “all that I commanded you” (Mt. 28:20). It means putting God first in every aspect of our lives, so we need not worry about tomorrow (Mt. 6:34). And sometimes, it means letting go of the tree root to which we are clinging, even though we cannot see how doing so will help us. Do you trust God? Then show it by obeying Him.