God wants us to trust Him. This might be easy to do when life is going well but when life gets difficult, where do we turn? We may turn to God but also we may be tempted to turn away from God.
The Israelites, after the initial euphoria of liberation from Egypt, found themselves led by God into the desert for their protection and well-being. Exodus 13:17-18 Living conditions in the desert were difficult. While there, they did not fully trust God. He provided food but they grumbled because they wanted better food. They forgot the misery of their slavery in Egypt and instead remembered and yearned for the variety of foods found in Egypt. Numbers 11:4-7 NLT They supplemented what little trust they did have in God with reliance on other beliefs and practices from the pagan religions of nations around them. Exodus 32:1-5 Numbers 25:1-3 They became fearful and uncertain of God’s intentions and they thought God meant them harm rather than good. They even decided it would be better to take matters into their own hands. Numbers 14:1-4 Deuteronomy 1:27 In all this, they turned away from God.
However, throughout this time in the desert God did not leave them. Exodus 13:21-22 Deuteronomy 1:33 He was always there with them. He always provided for them. Exodus 16:3-4 Deuteronomy 1:30-31 MSG explains it as: “God, your God, is leading the way; he’s fighting for you. You saw with your own eyes what he did for you in Egypt; you saw what he did in the wilderness, how God, your God, carried you as a father carries his child, carried you the whole way until you arrived here.”
When our life is full of difficult situations, it is easy to react in the same way as the Israelites. We may doubt God’s willingness to provide for us. We know that God has the ability to provide, but we question whether He will provide. We may doubt God’s goodness, even though He has shown His goodness in the past, and think God means to harm us. We become scared and fearful of God. We wonder if we can really trust Him. We look around us at those who do not trust in God and instead trust in more tangible resources for their safety and well-being. Their lives look secure. So, we may decide to turn away from trusting God completely or we may trust in Him to a certain extent but add-on reliance on other things, just to be sure.
But the Bible tells us that trusting God is not beyond our reach. The Message puts it this way: “This… isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean—you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it!” Deuteronomy 30:14 MSG
God provides the ability for us to trust him. He did the same for the Israelites. Deuteronomy 30:6 NLT Through giving us the Holy Spirit, He enables us to trust Him. Romans 8:26 MSG says: “the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.” And Romans 8:15 MSG says: “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Jesus also experienced the same temptation that we experience. Hebrews 4:15 MSG He struggled for forty days in the desert and was tempted to turn away from trusting God’s care and to using his own supernatural powers to relieve his situation. Matthew 4:3
We can ask God for the power of His Spirit to help us see that He is indeed carrying us in His arms. We can remember that Jesus, who understands our situation fully, also identifies with us.