My one and only ride in a hot air balloon was awesome. Drifting slowly above the earth as I peered over the edge of the basket at the countryside below gave me a perspective of the community I lived in that driving through it didn’t. While I couldn’t see the details of the houses, farms, and the little town I lived in like I could when I drove past them, I was able to see the area as a whole.
I’m finding my marathon journey through the Bible in 90 days to be much the same type of experience, as it enables me to see the overall picture of the story of God’s people that a more detailed study doesn’t. I’ve been struck by a thread that runs through the narrative of almost every account in the Old Testament – God delighted when people trusted Him, and grieved when they didn’t.
When Adam and Eve didn’t trust that God’s instructions to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was for their good, He was grieved. He knew the consequences humankind would experience as a result.
When Job put his full trust in God no matter the suffering he was going through, God was delighted in his confidence.
When Joshua and Caleb expressed faith they could conquer their enemies and take the land He’d promised them, God was pleased, but He was disappointed in the doubt their companions expressed.
Whether it was Moses or Hannah or Rahab or David – in each of their very different circumstances – God asked them to trust Him rather than their circumstances. They did, and He proved Himself trustworthy. Of course, He proves Himself trustworthy whether we trust Him or not. That’s what’s so awesome about the redemptive God we serve! Our trust does not determine if God will act on our behalf or not. But our trust, or lack of it, does determine what our personal experience will be – whether we will experience peace and joy, or anxiety and distress.
One could say that God is delighted when we trust Him because it brings Him glory, and I think that’s true. But I also think God is delighted because He knows how much happier we will be if we fully trust Him. When we trust God we live knowing we are loved, we have peace, and we have confidence and freedom. That’s true happiness. When we don’t trust Him, we are filled with fear, anxiety, bitterness, and loneliness. That’s pure misery.
David knew the happiness of trusting in God. He personally knew what he was talking about when he wrote in Psalm 40:4, “How happy is the man who has put his trust in the Lord.”
David’s earliest lessons in trust – at least that were recorded for us – were during his time as a shepherd boy, alone in the fields as he took care of his father’s sheep. He fended off a lion and a bear with his bare hands, killing both, and gave God credit for giving him the strength. Because of this same confidence in God, he was able to fearlessly face off with the giant Goliath, and win.
Later on David trusted God as Saul relentlessly pursued him. God had told David he’d be the next king, and David believed Him, knowing he couldn’t be king if he were dead. Time after time God protected him from Saul, each experience increasing David’s reason to trust Him. He expressed this faith in Psalm 56 when he wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” And then several verses later he declared with confidence, “This I know: God is for me.”
Many singles wonder if God is for them, or if He’s forgotten them. In this we can be confident: He is for us, and He has not forgotten us! He has given us Himself, and the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. He never meant for us to carry the weight of fighting our battles alone, or providing everything we need alone, or even figuring out what to do next alone.
He did and does mean for us to live in relationship with Him, learning to trust Him more and more as we experience that we are completely loved by Him, completely protected by Him, and completely provided for by Him.
When I climbed into the basket of that hot air balloon, I had two choices. I could trust the pilot to know what he was doing and get us back to ground safely. Or, I could be fearful the whole flight, distrusting the pilot and his abilities to land the balloon safely. What allowed me to enjoy that ride was my choice to trust, and it left me with a happy memory instead of a miserable one.
If we live life trusting our Heavenly Father, we will be happy. If we live life cynically and anxiously, we will be miserable. Let’s live knowing confidently we are loved, that we are cared for, and that we are never alone. Our happiness depends on it!