Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”
These are the words to the first verse of the old hymn Trust and Obey. Following this is a chorus and four more verses which affirm the truth that obedience and trust are two sides of the same coin.
In today’s atmosphere of mistrust of anything relating to civil authority, with arguments pitting individual rights against the mandates of governments, with the politics and division trumping all reason, some are openly rejecting reasonable solutions based upon their trust in God; and for sure, trusting God is never wrong. But trust without action is.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” The next verse is similar; “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
There is a well-worn story of a man whose house was being surrounded by flood waters. When the waters began to encroach into the first floor, a man in a rowboat came by and offered to take him to safety. The man replied, “No thanks, I trust in the Lord. He will watch over me.” The flood waters continued to rise until the man had to retreat to the second floor. Some people in a motorboat came by and offered to take him out. He again refused stating he trusted the Lord to rescue him. The waters continued to rise forcing the man to sit on his roof. A helicopter pilot saw him and tried to rescue him. Again, the man refused proclaiming his confidence in the Lord. Finally, the house was washed away and the man drowned. When he found himself standing before the throne of God he cried out, “Lord, I trusted in you. Why didn’t you answer my prayers for rescue?” The Lord replied, “I did, I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”
The point is obvious; trusting the Lord does not mean we pray, praise, and do nothing. It demands that we listen, hear, and obey. Dr. Ken Boa, president of Reflections Ministries in Atlanta Ga. teaches a mantra of “Trust, abide, and walk.” I believe this means we trust in the Lord, abide in, or take ownership of His instruction, then be obedient to do what He says and go where He directs. And it also means we embrace the help He sends us.
When Jesus was facing the most difficult trial of His life on earth, when He had experienced rejection, betrayal, and persecution, He went out to the Garden of Gethsemane and three times he prayed for the Lord God to deliver him from this trial; yet, each time He qualified his plea with, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Yes, Jesus was acting out of human agony, but at the same time He was demonstrating the depth of His trust in God and his intent to follow God’s lead no matter what. His trust was based on an unwavering belief that God knew what was best for Him, and He would walk through hell if that was what it took.
Yes, we often find it difficult to hear clearly and know without a doubt the will of God. But it is only difficult because we want to listen to the call of the world, we want to hold onto our old desires and prejudices, instead of getting quiet and listening to the Lord. And this betrays a truth in us, that we don’t trust the Lord as much as we think we do.
Let’s return to the hymn, to the last verse of Trust and Obey:
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet
or we'll walk by His side in the way;
what He says, we will do;
where He sends, we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey,
for there's no other way,
to be happy in Jesus,
but to trust and obey.”
It is right and proper to pray for God to heal you, but understand; He has raised up many servants to minister to you. Some He calls doctors, pharmacists, first responders, or maybe, just neighbors and friends.