Written by Rachel Denison
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” –Isaiah 26:3-4
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” –Psalm 37:5
Do you fully believe these Scriptures today? I feel like there in something innate within us that tends to pull back toward unbelief. Why can it sometimes be hard to trust God and fully believe that he is good? Is his word to us not enough? For many of us trust is a commodity not easily earned—and that is for good reason most of the time. Based on our experience, many of us have been betrayed, abandoned, been let down, seen our hope deferred or come from an unstable family life. Many of these things can cause distrust to build up in our hearts. Unbelief is a direct result of distrust.
I had this friend going up. We'll call her Becky. Becky was the kind of friend who always wanted things her way. And if I didn't comply with her every wish, she would passive-aggressively shove me off and disclude me from our friend group. I still remember the tone of her voice as she said, "Fine. We didn't want to be your friends anyway" and locked arms with all of my best friends and forced them to walk away from me.
Whether it be school friends or family members, I always had a hard time believing people were no longer mad at me, even after I had asked for forgiveness. I can't remember many instances where conflict I was involved in was resolved in a conclusive, redemptive way. I was always left feeling unsure of where I stood with that person. As a child, that marked me. And now those experiences have shaped my understanding of God's forgiveness toward me. And they are continuing to keep me from experiencing God's fullness for me as an adult.
Because I have not known forgiveness to be something easy to come by, I misconstrue God's forgiveness to be the same way. I interpret who God is through my cracked lens rather than see him for who he really is clearly defined in his word.
It’s easy to allow our experiences with people and life’s circumstances to dictate the way we see God. Everyone does it all the time. It’s because in the beginning God created every living thing to somehow be a reflection of his goodness and point us back to him. And people unfortunately always fall short—our parents, our bosses, our spouses, our churches, our friends. And we live in a fallen world.
Romans 4:20-21 says of Abraham, “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
True repentance of my unbelief has been the quickest step to opening my heart back up to God. It has been helpful to confront those lies about God head on the minute I hear them pass through my mind. A fruitful and freeing prayer in these times has been, “God I just realized I’ve closed my heart off to you again in unbelief. I’ve allowed others to dictate what I believe to be true of you. Heal my unbelief.”
Practically, God is healing me as I search out what is true of his character in his word. Through me mulling over the truth of God's character, the Holy Spirit is able to reach into my heart and replace those old, habitual lies that play on repeat. God does not contradict himself, and we can always take him at his word. We have a God we can actually trust with our whole hearts. This should be a huge relief for us all.
If this resonates with you like it does me, it’s time for us to let God be who he says he is, and who his track record proves him to be. It’s time to release unbelief and take on trust. No longer be content with going through the motions. If something is not right or you’re feeling distrust in your heart toward your faithful God, do something about it. Take control of your own thought life and surrender those misconceptions to the King. Draw near to God in the midst of your pain leading you to unbelief, and allow him to meet you. He will always reveal himself to be who he always said he was.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” -Hebrews 10:22-2