From the President's Pen

A monthly devotional series from President Miller that is designed to help us pause and reflect on God's character, His goodness, and the truth of His Word.

January 2023

our Heavenly Father is Trustworthy

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

If I were asked to make a list of the five most important words for the Christian life, “trust” would be near the top of my list. It’s not uncommon for the concept of trust to be overshadowed by the concept of “faith,” and sometimes it’s easy to be confused about what it actually means to have faith.

When I’ve asked people to define faith, I’ve received a variety of answers. The saddest one I ever heard came from a Sunday School class when the teacher asked “What does faith mean?” and a child raised his hand and said “Oh, I know! Faith means trying really hard to believe something you know isn’t true.”

Nope—that’s not the right answer.  

If faith is not a kind of mental energy that we work up within ourselves, then what is it? The definition that I use is linked with trust: True faith is trusting that what God said is true.

God has said many things about us and our lives today. Among them, He promises to take care of us, and that He won’t leave or forsake us. He also promises that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

For us to fully trust in the Lord, we have to unclench.

Our society is so accustomed to being anxious that we literally live clenched up lives, but Jesus said “Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Apostle Paul wrote that we shouldn’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, we can present our requests to God. Then the peace of God, that passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

As we learn to trust in the Lord and set our anxieties aside, a beautiful exchange occurs. Instead of trying to think our way out of anxiety, we can lift our requests to the Lord with thanksgiving – not thanking Him for the problem, but thanking Him that He is with you in the midst of it—and a peace that you can’t drum up within yourself comes down as a gift from God.

When you trust Him, He protects your heart (your emotions) and your mind (your thinking) in Christ Jesus. This means you can trust Him with your whole heart.

There’s not a lot we should trust with our whole heart. We’re called to love people, but it’s also wise for trust in other people to be earned.  Not so with Almighty God, though, who has already proven Himself completely trustworthy.  

When our life circumstances are challenging or painful, it can be difficult for us to fully trust the Lord. For some, it’s easy to trust God with their money, but not their physical health. For others, they trust God to heal their bodies but not to take care of their children. Each one of us must continue to ask God to help us trust Him completely and unconditionally.

I once rode with my father in a little four-seat airplane from Rapid City, South Dakota to Des Moines, Iowa and back, and it was a turbulent and nerve-wracking experience. When we landed on our return flight, I remember looking over at my dad as he peeled one finger at a time off the handle overhead. He looked at me and smiled and simply said, “Well, somebody had to hold the plane up.” I guess Dad trusted the pilot enough for the two of us to ride with him, but I don’t think he trusted him with his whole heart.

How often do we do this with God? We say we trust Him, but we also think it’s our responsibility to keep the plane in the air. Perhaps this is because we are so quick to lean on our own understanding.
There is a fine line between using our understanding—that is, the wisdom and intelligence given to us by God—and leaning on our own understanding. It’s such good news for us that the Holy Spirit will bring us clarity to know when we’ve crossed the line from trusting God whole-heartedly to trusting in our own abilities to solve our problems.

James 4 can be helpful here. For us problem-solvers who begin each day with a to-do list (guilty!), we can be tempted to try to find our own solutions to life’s problems. But time and time again, the Lord nudges my heart and reminds me that I don’t need to scheme and plot—that’s leaning on my own understanding. Instead, I can choose to trust that He has a plan and knows what He’s doing.

So, each day, let’s unclench, take a deep breath, and trust our Heavenly Father. He’s got you in the palm of His hand and He’s not going to let you go.

Additional reading: James 4:13-15