For as long as I can remember, I’ve known Jesus as the Son of God. I’ve always known Him as my Savior, my only means of salvation. I can’t remember hearing His name for the first time. As someone who grew up attending a private, Catholic elementary school as early as preschool, it always seemed to be common knowledge.
There is one element that’s vital to a relationship with Jesus I’ve never had until very recently. Sure, I’ve surrendered and rededicated my life to Him a couple of times as an adult. Trust has always been missing, though. I’ll be one of the first people to show up for church on Sunday morning. My Bible has more handwritten notes and commentary than all the others at any Bible study I’ve ever been a part of. Not only do I raise a hand during worship music, I even close my eyes. Still, when trusting God disrupts my comfort, obedience to Him is the first thing to go.
Before we go any further, I’m completely aware there will be plenty of Christians wanting to run off to the comment section to make sure we know they’ve never in their life had an issue trusting God. They’re model followers. The simple fact that I’m bringing the topic up means my faith isn’t what it needs to be. I need to try harder and come back next week with a rearranged heart.
Be honest with yourself for a minute. No one’s going to know what you’re thinking unless you tell us. Trusting Jesus can be difficult. No, you might not rebel and get as far off track as I do. But, when you close your eyes and pray with no one looking, there’s been a time or two when trusting God becomes difficult. If you’re new to the Christian faith and it hasn’t happened yet, just hang in there. It will eventually. After all, Jesus doesn’t call us to live as comfortable of a life as possible. As a matter of fact, He tells us it will be just the opposite.
The Bible is full of instances of God’s people either trusting His plan or doubting it. When the plan was revealed to Jonah, he ran the other way. Moses questioned God over and over again. Peter took a couple of steps on the water before falling in. John the Baptist, who Jesus called the greatest man born from a woman, even sent messengers to question Him. If these men who God used for amazing things had questions, then why do we look at it so horribly when a Christian we know, or even ourselves, have Daddy issues?
Jesus himself even begged out to His heavenly Father if there was any other way? I’ve been beating myself up a lot about this here lately. As a matter of fact, in September, it will be eight years since I started having serious trust issues with God. That’s when Jesus first became important to me on a personal level.
For the most part, the majority of my issues have been of my own making as an adult. Other than a few deaths, my own choices and decisions have created the biggest obstacles in my life. Since around the age of 16, alcohol has been a serious addiction for me. There have been two different instances when I have gone a year without drinking and life was pretty good at the time, for the most part. Other than those two years, it’s been rare for me to go longer than around three months without a drink. Currently, I’m sitting at day 32.
Also, regardless if I was drinking at the time or not, my anger has brought on serious consequences. This rarely led to any kind of physical violence. My biggest issue was saying words that couldn’t be taken back once I said to them. Until around two years ago, I was unwilling to search for any healing inside of me that needed to take place for this anger and rage to go away. While it’s much better than it was a few years ago, a few consecutive days of drinking can make it seem worse than ever. Don’t believe me, ask my daughter’s mom.
By far, the most glaring issue where I have had trust issues with God is with my marriage. I may or may not have gotten married before I was ready. That’s not what is important. What matters the most is I was nowhere close enough to God to be the kind of Christian man I wanted to be and my family deserved. There wasn’t enough trust between myself and God for the length of sobriety I needed for any serious change to take place inside of me.
As difficult as my drinking and anger made the marriage, the two and a half years since the marriage ended has been worse. You see, I’m all for writing and speaking about Jesus and the Bible when life’s peachy and great from all outside appearances. That being said, any time life has been difficult, it’s been too easy for me to say screw and turn back to previous lifestyles. Yes, over the last two and a half years I have made some great starts at living life differently. Again, until now, none of these beginnings have lasted longer than a month or two, three at best.
I’m not willing to say the time has been wasted. There have been some amazing lessons I have had the opportunity to learn both about myself and my relationship with Jesus. I can clearly look back through the past eight years and see where my lack of trust in Him has been a major issue. Your struggles may not look exactly like mine. Maybe my struggles over the last few years look like a cakewalk compared to what you have been through. Or, maybe you couldn’t imagine facing some of the obstacles I deal with upon waking up every day.
This doesn’t mean that one of us loves Jesus more than the other does. It simply means that we each have a personal relationship with Him that looks completely different from one person to the next. If you have your own trust issues that get in the way of growing more intimate with Jesus, here are three areas I have grown the most while addressing.
Jesus doesn’t promise the comfort in this life
Yes, the Holy Spirit is our comforter. This is where words are extremely important. This doesn’t mean we surrender our lives to Jesus and never face discomfort again. This means that regardless of how horrible the situation we may be facing is, God is there to comfort us during the trial. There’s a huge difference.
Many people pursue the Christian faith with this false notion that life will be easier going forward. Any struggles there have been will be gone now that Jesus is the Lord of our lives, as long as we are doing things the right way. This idea is a lie straight from the pit of hell. Jesus never promises us such nonsense. In fact, Jesus tells us throughout the gospels how real and difficult life will be following Him. I’m not exactly sure how much you know about the Bible, but life doesn’t exactly end well for the original twelve disciples, not their earthly lives anyway.
What we are promised is that regardless of how difficult things become, the Holy Spirit will be our guide as long as we are willing to search for Him and we will have everlasting life through what Jesus accomplished on the cross. I know it may be different than the prosperity gospel you have heard, but no, following Jesus doesn’t equal cash and prizes.
I don’t need to know all the details
For as long as I can remember, I have had trust issues with everyone. Regardless of who you are and the role you play in my life, you have some proving to do before there’s any trust whatsoever. So, in 2012 when I ended up at a faith-based recovery home for men suffering from addiction in Jacksonville Beach and Jesus finally became important instead of just a name, He was going to have to show me something.
Sure, life got better. The more important I made studying the Bible, doors began to open that never would have without Jesus. I received a full-ride scholarship to study theology at a small university, something I’d never considered. I started getting opportunities to write about God’s Word and have it published. He was definitely showing me that this could definitely be part of a bigger plan I was unaware of at the time.
As many blessings that began taking place, life also continued on. I eventually moved out of the “safe” environment I was living in. Any sign of difficulty demonstrated that I lacked trust in Jesus. If I didn’t know the details ahead of time, I simply wasn’t interested in going along.
As amazing as the feeling I get from writing about the Christian faith is, life was much easier just to stay drunk and write about sports. The only thing I had to trust was that the liquor store would be open and there’d be a game tomorrow. The China virus kind of messed that up. It has finally allowed me to realize that if I want to trust Jesus the way He’s called me to, I’m not going to know all the details. In fact, I’ll know very few.
It’s impossible to have true faith without trust
I’ve had no problem making sure others knew I was a committed Christian since 2012. I have degrees and certificates from studying theology and the Bible at the collegiate level. I’ve written and spoke about the Bible professionally. I’ve also lived through hell because I didn’t trust Jesus.
I can’t say I know how difficult obedience and resisting temptation is because it’s never been a part of my life until recently. I’m also intelligent enough to know there will be moments in the future much tougher than anything I’ve faced the previous 32 days. I know that without faith, life simply isn’t worth living. Until developing more trust in Jesus becomes part of my daily life, I’ll never experience the quality of faith that saves.
- Looking back, have you struggled with trusting Jesus? What did Jesus reveal in your heart?
- What is Jesus calling you to do? Are you comfortable with this calling?
Jeffrey has a degree in theology from Aidan University and is the founder of Gospel Grammar in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. His goal is to inspire others to seek a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.