I took a heart punch recently.
Trust… Like a blow out of nowhere, it literally took my breath away and made me want to wretch. It was the kind of hit that slips behind the shield and under the armor. I was angry, grieved, and utterly in shock. I entrusted my greatest fear to Jesus, believing He would be the wall between, and it happened anyway. He allowed it. Even though the event happened a few years ago, when I was recently made aware of the event and the fact that He permitted it… it felt like betrayal.
It hit me so hard there were physical and emotional reverberations which shook me to the core for days. My faith was rocked. My 43-year belief system was called to the stand to testify. Was I for or against Him? I never doubted He was God, and still don’t. But, I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to worship Him. How could I trust Him? I found myself in a spiritual crucible.
Trust me when I said I was mad, it was an understatement. I was livid. This was a new reaction for me toward Jesus. I wanted to spit in His face and say, How dare You! How could you? See, when my worst fear came to life, it was during a time that I was pursuing Him with everything I had. I surrendered all for Him, and put everything in His care. It happened during the time I was seeking my healing. And I was also in the final rounds of publishing my first book The Battle of Surrender: One Woman’s Journey to Sacrifice which is my testimony, made public, to bring Him glory. Looking back, I think I also saw it as an insurance policy, or better yet, a trust policy to stop trials. I know this is wrong thinking because there is no such thing.
Reasoning also fueled my rage of trying to understand His selection process of who He shields and saves over those He allows to suffer or perish. What was His criteria? How could He just stand back and watch? I knew how I would be judged and held accountable, if I had the ability to stop what happened and didn’t… Why shouldn’t He? My thoughts along with the newly provided knowledge were tormenting me.
I’ve never felt like that toward God before, and I knew I was in dangerous territory. Like John the Baptist, I found myself in a mental prison, about to lose my head, and wondering if Jesus really was the One. And like the disciples at the crucifixion, there are times and tests that provoke your spiritual and mental foundations that leave you no option other than to confess or deny He is Christ. Then there are trials that attempt to hold you hostage like mine by repeatedly assaulting your thoughts and understanding. It was my Job moment. I had to decide to follow Him regardless of circumstances, my understanding and my feelings.
So, what do you do when the Savior doesn’t save?
What do you do when He lets you lose your home, your business fails, your child gets raped, someone you believe He will heal dies, or your marriage falls apart? What do you do when you give Him your all and you are living sold out for Him, and the attacks still come? Your circumstances scream He failed to rescue or help you, and He fails to answer your prayers the way they were presented to Him? What if your understanding doesn’t match who He is or His manifested ways? What do you do and how can you find your way back to not only believe Him, but trust Him again?
I want to offer 8 Steps to Trust Again. They are helping me find my way back…
1. Keep talking and watch. Be honest with God, continue to pray and tell Him how you feel. He already knows. He wants us to bring everything to Him, even our anger and complaints toward Him. Like Habakkuk’s in chapter 1 verse 2 when he said violence is everywhere and God is not coming to save. Habakkuk brought his complaint and accusation to God, and went back to his guard post to wait and watch for God’s response.
2. Keep Eating. Make a determined decision to keep reading and eating God’s word. I’ve walked with Him long enough to know I can’t survive without His bread of life–His word. I found a couple of relevant devotionals on my Bible app Mad at God and When God Doesn’t Make Sense and forced myself to do them each day. Just like a physical healing, sometimes you must work through the pain, and eat whether you are hungry or not, just because you need it.
3. Consider Truth vs Facts. Thought discipline is critical! Dwell on His goodness and faithfulness, and not circumstances. Remember what the word says about Him. Don’t allow one moment to define your perception of Jesus. 1 Peter 1:13 tells us to gird up the loins of our mind. Don’t let the long robes of circumstances trip you up and gain control over the procreative area of your thoughts that determine your gait and mobility for the Kingdom. Your circumstantial emotions will eventually catch up and reconcile with truth.
4. Have a Holy Throw Down. Get yourself in front of the altar and wrestle until you win! Just like Jacob who wouldn’t let go of the Angel until He blessed him. Position yourself in a place where only mercy and love can apprehend you. I found myself face down at the altar because there was no other place I could go for answers or relief.
5. Praise. Decide to praise Him regardless of how you feel or think. Lift your hands and sing praise and worship songs to Him. This action alone is a chain breaker. The sacrifice of praise lifted from a place of heartache and brokenness releases power. It attracts heaven’s attention.
6. Hug Your Judas. Embrace your betrayer, whether it be a person or circumstance, because it’s ushering in your destiny. You need your Judas to bring resurrection life to your situation. Don’t respond anyway other than like Jesus. He forgave, He loved, He died and He overcame. If you want more on how to handle your Judas, check out this great sermon Judas’ Kiss by Pastor Marion Dalton at Bethel Harvest Church.
7. Name Your Thorn. As Bishop T.D. Jakes so eloquently put it in his April 9, 2017 podcast Sparring Partner, know that God is the source of your thorn. He permits the thorn to make you stronger. Think about your initial reaction when attacked… do you rage? Do you plunge into depression or want to die? The way you respond is the name of your thorn. It’s how the devil wants you to follow through and fall into his plan. Overcome his tactics by choosing to do the opposite. Then go back to Step 5 – Praise!
8. Stand. Position and posture yourself according to Ephesians 6:13. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
I pray these 8 Steps to Trust Again help you as well, as they are helping me. If you are going through the same situation or have been through it and find there is still bitterness lingering toward the Lord, or if you haven’t yet gone through something like this maybe this article will help to prepare you. Jesus said it Himself trials will come while in this world, but be encouraged. He really is greater than he that is in the world. And as my blessing and mentor Tamara Lowe said, “The benefit of time, you get to see the track record of God. You get to see how God causes everything to work together for good…At the end of the day, the Savior saves.” Yes, He did and still does.