This week I'm sharing the message I had prepared for the service to celebrate Hala's life last week because I believe it's what many of us need to be reminded of today.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. - Proverbs 3:5-6
I suspect that if I asked all those who are finding it hard to trust God right now to put up their hands – many of you would. Don’t worry – I’m not going to. For some of you that’s probably because you feel let down by God. After all none of us expected to be here today at this service to celebrate Hala’s life.
Well that’s not actually true – there is one in this room who did know we would be here today. Who? – God. He knew the days he had allotted Hala before he was born and he knew that Thursday 8 April 2021 was the day that he was taking Hala home to be with him for all eternity. That that day was the day that Hala would receive the reward that he – that is Hala, had trusted God for. The reward of eternal life with God because he believed in Jesus Christ and had a personal relationship with Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
A relationship which saw Hala living out these words that we read in Proverbs 3:5-6. Hala trusted in the Lord with all his heart. In my experience he didn’t depend on his own understanding or rely on his own thinking or insights – most of the time. He actively and always sought to do what God was asking him to do; he sought to do God’s will in and through his life and to help others do the same. Why - Because he knew that when he did this God would show him which path to take even when that path took him from this life much earlier than any of us would have wanted. Much earlier than he wanted.
“Trust God.” If we are honest, even the strongest Christians, the strongest believers amongst us can find it hard to do this at times. And that’s ok. We aren’t perfect - we are human – with all our failings – with all our weakness. Sure, as God transforms us into the likeness of Christ, we are changed, our thought processes change, it becomes easier to trust God, it becomes easier to trust him in all circumstances.
But we will still fail to do so. We will still make mistakes until we get to heaven like Hala has. Then we will be perfect as God always intended us to be. Then we will trust him completely and always.
Perhaps though if we understand what it means to trust God, we might find it easier to do it. We might find our default being to trust God at all times rather than to look at our circumstances, putting God to the side or even worse side-lining him completely.
So, what does it mean to trust God?
In the original Hebrew the word translated here as “trust” can also mean “confidence.” Confidence - the feeling or belief that we can have faith in or rely on someone or something.
So, when we trust in God, we have faith in him, we rely on him, we know he won’t let us down.
Some might say but I can how I trust God - isn’t trust earnt? Sometimes. Sometimes though you need to trust first. And besides hasn’t God already shown we can trust him. When has he ever broken a promise? When has he not done something he said he would do?
Think about it – perhaps the biggest show of trust is that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
So how do we trust God.
First and foremost it is an act of will. We choose to do it. We choose to trust God. We choose to trust him even when things seem really bad. Actually, it’s on those times when we most often have to make the conscious choice to trust God. After all it’s easy to trust God in the good times. In the times when life is good and all is going well.
In the bad times, like now when we mourn the passing of someone so relatively young trusting God becomes harder – for most people at least.
When things aren’t going well how do we trust God.
Recently I found myself in a situation which seemed really bad. It was nothing like what Hala was going through. It wasn’t life threatening. It really was what I heard a friend of mine call "a first world problem." A problem that the dictionary defines as “usually a minor or trivial problem or annoyance experienced by people in relatively affluent or privileged circumstances especially as contrasted with problems of greater social significance facing people in poor and underdeveloped parts of the world.”
1st world problem or not it didn’t stop me worrying about, being woken up in the night thinking about it. Up here, mentally, I knew I had to trust God but emotionally and practically – I’m someone who likes to be able to solve the problem and know the way ahead – emotionally and practically I was finding it hard to do. Several of my friends, including Hala, reminded me I had to trust God and to turn the problem over to him.
To do that I had to consciously do it. Consciously trust God. Consciously turn my thinking towards God rather than wallow through the potentially bad consequences – not once but several times. I don’t think I actually said I trusted him but I know that I acknowledged when he reminded me of how he’d done what he said he would do for me in the past. Mentally I came to a point where I knew I trusted him and felt the overwhelming peace that only he can provide.
And guess what – the situation worked out. That’s not to say that when we trust God it will work out as we want it to, but when you trust God you trust him that whatever happens is for your good – even if it might not seem like it.
These two verses Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. These verses are in the form of an action and a promise.
· Trust in the Lord with all our heart
· Do not depend on our own understanding.
· Find out his will in all we do,
God’s promise - he will show us which path to take – what to do – where to go.
These were two of Hala’s favourite verses. He knew the truth of these words. I don’t think he’d mind me telling you that when he first heard his diagnosis he needed to be reminded to trust God. And that’s ok – I defy any of us to say that we would not have needed that reminder when faced with a life-threatening diagnosis. Hala did trust God – all the way. And he reminded us that we needed to also.
As we grieve may we follow his example. May we learn to trust God in all circumstances. May we trust God that even now he will help us learn to carry on and find a new life without Hala in it. May we know we can trust God to do that because he promises he will show us how – and God never breaks his promises.