4 Obstacles to Trusting God and How to Overcome Them
Often my kids are trying to get down off a bed or a chair or something and they inch themselves backwards off the edge until they can’t go any further without “falling” the last inch or so to the ground. But, what they don’t realize is how close to the ground they really are. Thus, when their little toes don’t touch anything they start screaming for help in sheer panic…. They’ve backed up too far to climb back up and can’t go back any further without losing their precarious hold on the bed sheets or the edge of the chair.I’m usually busy so I try to be reassuring and calming while continuing whatever it was that I was doing and tell them to just let go and they will be safe. I do this also to teach them to trust me. When I say it’s ok to let go, I want them to know, it’s ok to let go and that they don’t have to keep questioning me.
The same is true for God.
Obstacles to Trusting God:
1) “How can I trust if I feel like God has let me down before?”
I would put to you, do you just “feel like” God let you down or did He actually let you down? Little hint: If He didn’t respond the instant you asked… that doesn’t count as letting you down. Maybe you weren’t actually listening? Maybe you were freaking out to much to hear? Maybe the timing was WAY off? Maybe you were just trying to trap God in an “impossible” situation? He doesn’t like that very much (Matthew 22:15) nor does he easily fall for your tricks, considering that He is God and can kinda see right through them. You have to ask yourself, was it just your headstrong decision that caused the problem or were you genuinely trying to follow what you felt you should do in the situation? Sometimes I have to let my kids fall on their behinds if they are just being ridiculous and unreasonable. This is because I know they won’t get hurt, not really anyway, and besides, they weren’t letting me help them in the first place. Sometimes, we have to learn the hard way if we are going to learn at all.
2) “I feel abandoned… How can I trust someone/something who ‘isn’t there’?”
Remember, even Christ himself felt abandoned. On the cross He cried out “Father, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46) But in all honesty, do you think God the Father actually abandoned His Son? Does a loving parent ever abandon their child – even if they have to let them experience a sense of having to do something on their own? He is a loving Father who cares more than anything about the well-being of his children. Remember the passage about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field (Matthew 6:25-34)? We are children of God, He will never abandon us. How we feel at times is essentially irrelevant. Think about the Footprints reflection…. When there is only one set of footprints in the sand it is not because He has abandoned us but rather because He was carrying us!
3) “How can I just trust as if it weren’t a big deal?
Aren’t I just giving up the importance I place in this hope/dream if I entrust it to someone else? What would you say to the billionaire who chose not to keep their assets protected in secret accounts, banks or safety deposit boxes because they thought it would be safer to sleep with all their cash under their pillow? The safest place reserved only for the things that are MOST important in this life IS the arms of God. It is there, and there only, that you will find your peace and where your dreams can grow and mature and where you will be able to watch them become everything you never knew you wanted and needed.
4) “What if I trust and I fall?”
My question is this, have you ever truly tried it? You can’t know if you won’t fall unless you let go! The priest from Man of Steel, speaking to Superman, said, “Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first, the trust part comes later”. Sometimes we have to step out of the boat in order to realize that we aren’t going to sink (Matthew 14:29).
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Read also: What to Do when Life is Just TOO Hard
Combatting our doubts
1) Remember you are a child of God
Think about a father swinging their child around or throwing them up in the air. The child is able to squeal and laugh with delight and even beg for more because they experience no fear. Why? Because their trust is so complete. My husband and I have accidentally dislocated our daughters’ arms multiple times now playing with them and they still trust us. If we could only learn to trust our Heavenly Father like this, our lives would change in an incredible way. He will never “dislocate our arms” either since He is perfect. A good parent only wants what is best for their child, so it is with God and you, He doesn’t want you to hurt, only to grow.
2) Get to know God
Marge Fenelon in her book Imitating Mary says, “Trust…only comes with time and knowledge of oneself and He who is to be trusted” (7). There are a myriad of ways to get to know God better but for our purposes here, let’s look at one example. The radio announcer the other day said something about how the key to trust was more faith in the Resurrection. I was thinking to myself, “What does that have to do with trust?” And then I heard this song “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” and everything made sense.
“I know that my redeemer lives / What joy this blest assurance gives / … / He lives to silence all my fears. / He lives to wipe away my tears ; He lives to calm my troubled heart / He lives all blessings to impart / He lives, all glory to His name; He lives, my Savior still the same; What joy this blest assurance gives: I know that my redeemer lives.”
Before His death, He lived to die – but, now that He has fulfilled that mission and is alive again, He lives for a new purpose, solely to love and care for us! He has nothing more important to do, nothing more pressing, nothing He would rather do more. Now tell me, why would someone who LIVES only for you abandon you? Let THAT sink in!
Read also: How to know if you have a Genuine Relationship with God – 10 diagnostic questions, 6 steps to a Practical Friendship with God, What does a true relationship with God look like (Plus, why YOU should have one!)
3) “Gratitude births Trust” (Ann Voskamp, Author)
We need to focus on the positive. We need to remember always to be grateful for the times God has shown us His presence and His trustworthiness in our lives. So often we focus on the times we think we’ve been let down, but we have to remember that often it’s just that the occasion isn’t far enough into our hindsight for us to truly understand all the “whys” behind it. If we can only train ourselves to think about the things we are grateful for, rather than what we can’t as yet understand, then we will find our journey to trust far shorter and less rocky.
4) Just let go
Look back to #4 in the last section. Maybe we should just let go when he says it’s ok and see if He is trustworthy. Its ok if it takes you 4 times or 400 times, what matters is that we try to let go so that we can eventually come know deep down that He won’t let us fall.