This past week’s sermon related to the link between “Sabbath” and “Trusting God.” As disciples of Jesus we experience a continual struggle with trusting God. There are moments when we have great trust in God, yet only minutes later it seems our trust waivers.
Following the sermon I received several questions related to trust:
(1) When we encounter a problem in life, and adopt a perspective that we will trust God and not take immediate action, at what point is that trust, or at what point is it ignoring (or not dealing with) the problem?
(2) When we experience a problem, have prayed about it and have come up with a plan of action, how do we know if the plan is from God, or a man-made plan that comes out of our own desperation?
Great questions! Here are a few thoughts:
Take time to be with God: Be careful not to be too quick to declare “I have heard from God!” Our tendency is to want to quickly hear from God and put a plan into action. Take time to be with God. The more time we spend with God, the more likely the answers will be clear. This is best done as an ongoing part of life and not just at a time of desperation. As we spend more time with God and in God’s word, we will have a greater confidence in hearing from God.
Having a desired answer: There are times when we are praying and already have a desired answer in mind. I don’t think it is wrong to have a desired answer. It’s part of our nature. But be careful. Take time to process this and examine your thoughts. Do you have a desired answer in mind? What is it? What is the motive for that answer? Then, as you pray be aware of your desires and ask God to guard you against making a decision that is based entirely on your desire.
Involve other Christians: If you are married, pray with your spouse. Take time to share with each other what you sense God is saying. Do not move forward if there is disagreement. If there are different thoughts, continue to pray.
A second possibility is to “call a friend.” I have a friend whom I’ve known for close to 30 years. I call and explain the situation to him, ask him to pray and ask him to let me know what he senses God is saying about the situation. This is an excellent “check” for my own impulses and my desired answers. Other options are to be part of a small group and ask them to pray with you, come to “Elders in the Gates” (usually on the first Monday evening of the month) or have a prayer team pray with you at the conclusion of a service.
Another aspect of this is to listen to the council of people. Do they think this is a wise decision? Do others agree with the financially viable of the decision? Can they think of anyway that this decision goes against God’s Word?
Looking for a Confirmation: In your prayer, ask God to show you something that will confirm the decision. Then watch for God to reveal the confirmation. When we pray this honestly and with humility, I believe that God will give us confirmations (so that we have a larger confidence as we move forward). This confirmation may come from a variety of sources. It may be other Christians who have prayed and come to the same answer you have. It might be something we sometimes mistakenly call a “coincidence.” It may be our taking a step in the direction we believe we should go and watching to see how God opens or closes the doors.
I hope this has been helpful.