Do you trust God or not?

A spider monkey hanging in a tree outside the Mayan Ruins of Tikal in Guatemala

The locals call it “the tour the monkeys take.” The canopy zip line near the Mayan ruins of Tikal is a series of cables strung from platform to platform in the thick of the Guatemalan jungle. It’s not uncommon to spot spider monkeys and bright-feathered birds as you sail from tree to tree.

I’ve never been on it, and I’m not planning to go anytime soon. But I know loads of folks who’ve done it. And I admire their fearlessness. They’ll strap themselves into the harness, hook themselves on the cable, and fling their bodies into the open air of the jungle.

If it were me standing on that platform with nothing but a slim cable to support my flight from tree to tree, leaping into the air like some kind of Superman would be the last desire in my heart. But while I haven’t done it physically, I’ve done it in other ways.

I walked away from my high-paying job to start my own business. I elected to write a novel that would challenge the way people see Christ-followers. I traveled alone to dangerous parts of the world. I climbed behind the wheel of a car after surviving a terrible wreck.

No, it’s not the same as riding a zip line through a jungle canopy. But it was just as crazy.

Facing the future can be terrifying. With everything we know is happening today, it’s hard to see the future as anything less than bleak. Yet some people still walk toward it with their heads held high. They charge toward the unknown without a hint of fear, risking life and limb as they fling themselves into the air.

How can you embrace the terror of the future without collapsing under the weight of everything you don’t know? How is it possible to be brave when all you have to go on is how much failure hurts?

Well, do you trust God or not?

That’s really the only question that matters. But it’s the one of the most difficult questions you’ll ever answer.

Trusting God can be difficult. God is perfect. That’s one of the things that makes Him so scary. Because He’s right all the time.

So what happens when you trust God for something, and you don’t get it? It happens more often than not. You think you know what He’s calling you to do. You’re sure you’re on the right track. You believe it with all your heart, and then BAM! The world changes. You lose that person you love. You lose that relationship you needed. You lose the job you had to have.

So much for trusting God, right? All it gets you is more pain, more heartache, more trouble, more stress. You trust Him to take care of things, and all you get is more difficulty and struggle.

But doesn’t it make sense that part of trusting God is trusting that He’s not done yet? If we say we trust Him, why do we give up when life gets tough?

The truth is, God never promised you wouldn’t get hurt. He never promised that you’d get to keep everything you have, relationships or possessions or positions included.

So many times I think we project our own wants and desires onto God’s promises. So when we hear Him promise to protect us, we think that means He’ll prevent heartache or that He’ll stop anything from happening that will hurt us. And that’s not the case.

The Bible doesn’t say trust God and you’ll never be hurt. The Bible says to trust God because He knows what He’s doing. Trust Him because even when you get hurt, He’ll stay by your side (Isaiah 43:1-2).

Your life isn’t what you expected. So what? Do you really want to limit yourself to what you expect? Why not believe that God has something bigger and better in store?

Your boyfriend or girlfriend left. I’m truly sorry, but maybe that’s not who God had in mind for you.

You lost a business deal or an election or a relationship. Do you really think God is so small that He can only work within the boundaries of your expectations?

I have trust issues. Everyone does. And God knows that. But He’s done so much to prove Himself. How much more does He have to do to demonstrate that He is good, that He is faithful, and that He is worthy of trust?

You can’t half-trust Him. Half-trusting is putting on the harness and staying on the ground. It’s writing your book and never telling anyone about it.

So decide. Ask yourself. Do you trust God or not? If you don’t, that’s fine. That’s your choice. And you have the right to make that decision for yourself.

But if you do trust Him, then it’s time to start living like it. Stop wallowing in the what-ifs and might-have-beens. Stop clinging to the life you expected. Stop pining for the dreams that didn’t come true. Open your eyes and see the world for what it is, see God for who He is, and remember that He isn’t finished yet. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Do you trust God?

Yes, you’ll probably be afraid. But that’s what bravery is—action in the face of fear, boldness in the face of danger (Proverbs 28:1).

You can stay on the ground if you want. But God has so much more for you. If you trust Him, He’ll take you places you never dreamed you could go, and He’ll do more through you than you ever thought possible.

Pretty pink flower - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Don’t Panic!!

I have noticed an influx of those “Keep Calm!” t-shirts. I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed them or not, but they’re pretty random and kind of funny. “Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake” or “Keep Calm and Don’t Blink” and so on and so forth. I get them mixed up with the “Don’t Panic and Carry a Towel” t-shirts, which references Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Maybe that’s a silly example, but I have also noticed more and more materials out there that are all about trying to stay calm in rough situations. Self-help books and 12-step programs and meditation guides–lots of people smarter than me have all been working on ways to help us stay calm through the dark parts of life.

But do any of those methods work? In Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the one item you needed to help you out of any situation was a towel.

So is there an item we can carry around with us that will help get us out of scrapes and help us to not panic?

Pretty pink flower - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Pretty pink flower – Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Deuteronomy 31:6.

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Well … maybe it’s not an item. But it’s something to remember. This was actually Moses speaking to the Children of Israel just before he handed over leadership to Joshua. He told Joshua something similar, but this message was for the people who would be following Joshua.

Personally, I’m not prone to panic. It’s difficult for me to get to that place. I generally stay fairly calm in just about any circumstance … unless we’re talking about getting up in front of people or talking to someone I don’t know. Then, panic becomes very natural for me. But when you get right down to it, panic doesn’t solve anything. Actually, panic creates more problems than it solves. And it doesn’t even make you feel better. It just makes you more difficult to deal with than normal!

When you’re panicking, you’re not thinking. You’re just feeling. And it’s not that feelings are bad, but when you allow only emotions to dictate your decisions, you’re really just asking for trouble.

Moses knew that the people of Israel had some major challenges they were going to have to face, and he wanted them to be aware of what was coming. He could have told them not to worry and that Joshua was going to take care of everything. He could have told them to be disengaged from what was going on in the world and just chill until the ride was over. But he didn’t. He told them to be strong and courageous. The line where he told them no to panic indicates that he expected them to go out and face their enemies and not panic “before them.”

If the Children of Israel didn’t go out to fight, they would have been stuck wandering around the wilderness for another 40 years. That’s what got their ancestors in trouble. These people were the descendants of the original Israelites who God rescued out of Egypt, the ones who choked when they had the chance to stand up. Moses wanted their children to do better.

We will all face challenges every day. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we’re doing or where we’re going, everyone will be challenged. Maybe it will be a faith issue. Maybe it will be a physical task. Maybe it will be a health problem. The possibilities are as endless as people themselves. And we’ll all have the choice to face the enemy or run away. And once we choose to face the enemy, we’ll have the option to panic.


Why? Because if you belong to God, He has already run ahead of you and prepared a path to victory for you. If you are following God, if you are doing what He has called you to do, He will open doors for you that couldn’t have possibly opened on their own. And when you come to face your enemy, you will find that God has already prepared you for what you’re facing. And if the God of the universe has personally prepared you for battle, there’s no chance you’re going to lose. Maybe it won’t feel like you’ve won right away. Not all victories feel like victories. But if God is on your side, you can’t lose.

So when you’re standing face to face with your enemy, whoever that might be, and you start thinking about how much bigger-stronger-taller-smarter-more-successful he or she might be, remind yourself of who God is and what God has promised you.

Don’t panic and remember Deuteronomy 31:6.