By Joyce Meyer
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With each new chapter, Joyce unveils a sovereign and trustworthy God who longs to be in a relationship with his people, and inspires you to tear down the walls of self-reliance. This book will both equip and encourage, as you learn how to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Regardless of your past pain, your present circumstances, or your future uncertainty, when you learn to trust God each day, you’ll experience the joy-filled life Jesus came to give you. Others may have let you down . . . but God never will!
I cannot think of any subject that is more important to write about than trusting God. It is a vital subject because once we choose to trust God, the benefits are countless and amazing. Trusting God is one of the greatest ways to honor Him.
From the very beginning of this book, I want to emphasize that trust is not an obligation that we owe God; it is a privilege that He makes available to us. We are invited to trust God, and by doing so, we open the door to a life of peace, joy, and fruitfulness.
When we mix a healthy portion of trusting God into everything that we do, it enables us to live without worry, anxiety, fear, reasoning, or debilitating stress. For example, I am trusting God to help me write this book. That means I recognize that I don’t know everything I need to know about trusting Him and am convinced that without Him, the book will not be good. God wants us to lean on Him at all times and in all things. Nothing is too small for God to be involved in where His children are concerned.
Since individuals tend to be self-reliant and independent, it usually takes us quite a while to learn how to trust God. Part of the difficulty stems from our unpleasant experiences that often teach us that people cannot always be trusted. But God’s ways are far above those of people, and His Word teaches us that His character is such that He cannot lie or deceive.
In this book, I hope to share with you that you can learn to trust without borders and have faith beyond reason. Total trust in God should be our goal, not only because it honors God, but also because the benefits are astounding.
When we trust God, it pleases Him. Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (NKJV). Faith and trust are so connected that we cannot separate them. Faith is the substance that invites God into our lives. It maintains His presence in our lives and connects us to Him in a very powerful way.
We have an enemy, Satan, who continually seeks to prevent us from enjoying relationship with God and the life He offers us. Satan tempts us with fear, worry and anxiety, reasoning, stress, doubt, and many other things that take our mind off God and cause us to lead self-absorbed lives in which we desperately try to take care of ourselves.
The only antidote for these miseries is complete trust in God. I pray that as you read this book, you will receive grace to completely release yourself and all that concerns you to God, in every situation and at all times.
As you read and study this book, keep this Scripture in mind:
[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.
Jeremiah 17:7 (AMPC)
What Is Trust?
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of faith is the end of anxiety.
Anytime we trust anyone or anything that proves trustworthy, it puts an end to anxiety. Therefore it is very important to learn what trust is and how to trust. We especially want to learn to trust God.
Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines trust as: “Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.”1 He who puts his trust in the Lord will be safe (see Proverbs 29:25).
Trust enables us to live without weights, burdens, or cares because we have confidence that another will deal with those things for us. Instead of feeling that we are continually carrying a heavy load, we can enjoy a wonderful lightness in our souls.
Putting our trust in God and casting our cares on Him requires that we make a decision to do it. The psalmist David spoke frequently about putting his trust in God. The word “put” is an action word that we often find in God’s Word when He is giving us instructions on what to do—things like put on love, put on the new man, put on your shoes of peace, as well as put your trust in God. (See Colossians 3:14; Ephesians 4:24; Ephesians 6:15; Proverbs 3:5.)
The Bible says, “Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you…” (Psalm 55:22 [AMPC]). I like the idea of releasing the weight of a burden. We often live with a heavy heart and a burdened mind, but God is inviting us to a better quality of life that is only experienced by putting our trust in Him. Noah Webster said that trust is a resting of the mind. The apostle Paul confirmed this when he said that those who believe (trust) God will enter His rest (see Hebrews 4:3).
One of the ways we can discern that we are truly trusting God, rather than merely trying to trust Him, is whether or not our souls are resting in God’s faithfulness. If I say I am trusting God, but I continue to carry the weight of the burden by worrying and being anxious, then I have not released the burden to the Lord. I may want to. I may be trying to. But I have not done it yet.
Understanding this has helped me to learn what real trust in God is. It is more than words—it is releasing the weight of my burden; a decisive action that brings rest to my soul (mind, will, emotions). Just imagine that you are carrying a backpack filled with rocks everywhere you go. You take it to work, to the market, to church, and it is a heavy burden, but you continue to carry it. Now imagine that you decide to drop it—just think how much better you would feel and how much easier everything would be. That’s the way it is when we worry and carry the weight of burdens with us instead of entrusting them to God. We continue functioning and doing what we need to do, but the weight of the burden places a great deal of stress on us and makes our life very difficult. You can decide to drop your burden today by trusting God, if you choose to, and you will be glad you did.
I encounter many people who are quick to tell me that they are trusting God to take care of their problems, and yet, they also tell me they are afraid, worried, and desperately trying to reason out what they should do. This tells me they believe they should trust God, and they want to trust God, but they haven’t done so yet. They say they trust God, yet they are weighed down with the cares of many things.
I’ve learned that the best way to function in our relationship with God is to be truthful with Him. He already knows the truth, but it will help us to face it. I wasted a lot of years claiming that I was trusting God while I was worried and miserable, and it really helped me to recognize that true trust has good fruit. It produces peace—the peace that passes understanding!
If a person has not yet come to the point of being able to trust God totally, it is best to be honest with God about it. In Mark chapter 9, there is a good story about a father who sought healing for his son. He told Jesus that he believed but needed help with his unbelief (see Mark 9:24). I have always liked his honesty, and the good news is that he received his miracle. We all have some doubt mixed in with our faith at times. Hopefully, we are growing and learning to trust God more all the time, but growth takes time and there is no reason to be condemned if your trust in God is not perfected yet.
I have been teaching God’s Word for over forty years, and yet I have learned a lot about trusting God in the past year. I strongly imagine that I will learn even more while I am studying and doing research for this book.
The Character of God
The Merriam-Webster.com dictionary defines trust as: “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.”2 Trust is dependent on what we know about the character of the one being trusted. If we cannot believe the person is good, just, kind, loving, and trustworthy, then we cannot put our confidence in them.
I have found that a thorough study on the character of God has helped me tremendously in learning how to put my complete trust in God. For example, one of the aspects of God’s character that gives me a lot of comfort is that He is just. That means that He will always make wrong things right.
I have experienced His justice in my life many times, and when I am enduring what seems to me to be unjust or unfair treatment, I can trust God to make the wrong thing right in His own way and timing. Life is not always fair, but God is, and when we put our trust in Him, releasing the weight of our burden, He works in our behalf and brings justice in our situation.
Trusting God to bring justice relieves me of the job of trying to do it myself. God says clearly in His Word that vengeance is His and that He repays the enemies of His people:
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the deliverance of justice rest with Me], I will repay [the wrongdoer].” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
In order to experience the justice of God, we must be willing to turn the situation over to Him and refuse to try and take care of it ourselves. This is the hard part! For me, and I think for most of us, we usually wear ourselves out trying to take care of ourselves, unsuccessfully, until we finally are willing to give trusting God a try. Once we do that and begin to experience His faithfulness, it becomes easier to trust again and again. One of the reasons why trusting God can be challenging is because He doesn’t always immediately give us what we ask for. We receive from God through faith and patience. The waiting part is a test that usually stretches our faith to new levels.
God is good, merciful, holy, and kind. He is gracious and He is faithful and true. God is love! He is the same at all times, and we can depend on Him to keep His word.
It is easy to put our trust in someone we believe loves us and not only has the power to help us, but also wants to help us! God is waiting to help you and me, and all we need to do is trust Him to do so.
As I look back over my life, I can definitely say that God is faithful. He is always there for us, even when we don’t see Him or feel Him. As long as we believe He is working, He will manifest, or reveal, the evidence of His work at the right time. Don’t give up when the wait seems long; continue trusting God!
Anytime I am having difficulty trusting God, I remember things He has done for me in the past and I am reassured that He will do it again. I have kept journals for forty years, and I ran across one recently from the 1970s, when I asked God to provide me with a dozen new dishtowels. Dave and I had no money to purchase them, and since I was just beginning my journey of trusting God, I approached Him as a little child and asked for them. Imagine my elation when a few weeks later, a woman I was barely acquainted with showed up at my door and said, “I hope you don’t think I’m crazy, but I kept feeling that God wanted me to bring you some new dishtowels!” I got so excited that she was shocked until I explained to her that I had asked God to provide them. That is one of my vivid experiences with the faithfulness of God, and there have been many others through the years.
In the Bible, we read that when David needed to kill the giant, Goliath, and everyone was discouraging him and telling him that he would fail, he remembered the lion and the bear that he had previously killed with God’s faithful help. His faith was strengthened and he went on to slay Goliath. (See 1 Samuel 17:34–36.)
I want to encourage you to take time, perhaps even right now, to make a list of some of the times you have experienced God’s faithfulness in your own life. I can assure you that it will feed your faith and enable you to trust God more easily for the current needs in your life.
I have heard the word “faithful” defined as “to be trusted or relied on.” We can rely on God! We can lean on Him. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, but to be with us always (see Matthew 28:20).
When we are in need, we can trust Him to be with us and help us (see Hebrews 13:5). When we are going through trials, He is with us and always helps us (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). And when all others forsake us, He is with us and remains faithful (see 2 Timothy 4:16–17).
A sincere study of each aspect of God’s character is very beneficial in helping us learn to trust Him. I will mention more of His character traits throughout the book, but I also encourage you to seek out resources on this subject and do your own study.
Trust is said to be confidence! We all know how much easier life is when we have confidence. Having a belief that we can do a thing enables us to live life boldly with joy and positive expectation. As believers in Jesus, our confidence needs to be in Him. We all have confidence in some areas, but we can be confident in all areas of life through trusting God. For example, sometimes I feel confident when I am teaching in a conference, but there are also times when I don’t. In those times I can choose to be confident as long as my confidence is in Christ and not in myself or how I feel.
The apostle Paul was very clear when he stated that he put no confidence in the flesh. Although he had many natural advantages, he did not put his trust in those outward things. He emphatically says that our confidence is in Christ (see Philippians 3:3). Trust is confidence in the one who is trusted, and confidence in Christ makes us comfortable! It allows us to work with ease because we believe we can do what needs to be done. Confident trust removes stress, pressure, worry, and the fear of failure.
I said that we can “be” confident even when we don’t “feel” confident, and this is a very important point. Feelings are fickle; they are likely to change at any time and without notice, so putting our confidence in how we feel isn’t very smart.
You might go to apply for a job and initially feel confident because you believe you have the skills needed. But halfway through your interview, you get the feeling that the person interviewing you doesn’t like you very much, and suddenly that thought (which may not even be true) causes you to lose your feeling of confidence. However, if your confidence is in God, you can trust Him to give you favor, and you can continue the interview while being confident that if it is the right job for you, you will get it.
Satan does not want us to be confident because he knows that without it, we will not accomplish much in life. Even people who are very talented, intelligent, and capable still need confidence. Confidence is to us what fuel is to an airplane: An airplane has the capability to fly, yet it remains on the ground without fuel.
It is impossible to be consistently confident if our confidence is misplaced in people or things, because they are changeable, but God never changes and He does not lie! He is the Rock we hang on to in a world that is often a swirling sea of uncertainty.
Trust Brings Rest
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest…
Matthew 11:28 (AMPC)
In Noah Webster’s definition of trust, he indicates that it is a resting of the mind on the good character of someone else. I feel it is important to dedicate a chapter in this book to the thought of resting the mind. This is something we all desperately need and most of us want. There are far too many things in our lives that need attention for us to be able to think about all of them without feeling overwhelmed. God wants to help us, but as long as we continue trying to do it all ourselves, He won’t force His help on us.
God often offers us help by providing other people to help share our load in life. Dave and I have two sons who work with us in the ministry, and God has provided them to help us by sharing the load of managing a large ministry. It was difficult at first for us to let go of things we had previously been in charge of and to commit those things to our sons. It was a decision we had to make, and doing so has given us great rest of mind and soul.
There are many things and situations that we no longer have to think about because our sons take care of them for us. I am free to teach, write, pray, study, and do my television show. As I sit here and write, there are many things going on at the ministry that I am not even aware of. I see the result and it is always good, but I trust my sons to manage all the aspects of getting us to that result. My son Dan just told me yesterday that our television program is now on Netflix, and I was pleasantly surprised. That is a great opportunity to reach more people, and it all happened without me being involved because I released that part of the management of the ministry to someone else.
My son David surprised me when he showed me pictures of a project in Tanzania that we are funding and overseeing. I get the joy of sharing in the celebration of helping more people, but I didn’t have to worry even one time about any of the thousands of details that went into making the project a success.
Our sons are partnering with us in the ministry, and although we still work hard, we are not overburdened and overloaded. We are not pressed down with worry and concern. Our minds are at rest!
God delights in surprising us and will often do so if we will put things into His hands and safekeeping. He wants to partner with us in our lives, and when we let Him do so, our minds can be at rest. According to Scripture, we are called into companionship and participation with God. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (AMPC) says it this way:
God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
A relationship with God is much more than reading Scripture each day, going to church once a week, giving some money in the offering, and perhaps doing a few good deeds. That is mere religion, but the rich and wonderful relationship we are offered through faith in Christ is a partnership. He gives us ability and expects us to use it, all the while trusting in Him. He is also ready to handle anything we cannot handle. I like to say, Trust God to help you do your best, and trust Him to do the rest.
Peace of Mind
God offers us peace of mind when we place our trust in Him. Throughout each day, many thoughts come to mind that can cause worry and concern. This morning I was with someone who was very quiet and not interested in having any conversation with me, and my thoughts went something like this: I don’t think she likes me very much. As I thought that, I started feeling that perhaps I needed to “do something” to change the situation, and yet I did not have any idea what I could do.
When we try to do things that we have no idea how to do, it always creates stress, concern, worry, and sometimes fear. Are there things in your life that you feel responsible to “fix” but you have no idea what to do about them? If so, you can do what I did this morning and pray, committing the situation to God and trusting Him to “fix it.” I prayed a simple prayer and said, “Father, I put my relationship with __________ into Your hands. I commit it to You and ask You to make it what You want it to be.” As soon as I did that, my peace of mind returned.
Shortly after that, I heard from one of my children and I could tell they were not doing well emotionally. I asked if I could help in any way, but they said no, and immediately my thought was, I wonder what’s wrong? Did they argue with someone? Do they feel bad physically? What happened? I had my backpack loaded up and was ready to carry it all day when I remembered that I could release it to God, who was the only one who knew what was wrong and what to do about it.
I prayed, “Father, help __________ decide to have a good day. Let them see how blessed they are and be thankful instead of sad.” Shortly after that prayer I received this text: “I feel much better now. I love you!”
We may experience many things like this each day. It is no wonder that people are stressed-out unless they know how to trust God and cast their cares on Him. I was one of those people for over half of my life, but I am very grateful to now know what to do with my cares.
Let God share your day by talking with Him about everything. Prayer is simply talking with God, so I urge you not to see it as a duty we need to perform. Prayer is our way of letting God into every aspect of our lives, including the ones that attempt to steal our peace and cause us anxiety.
Don’t be deceived into believing that you have no choice in what you think about. If the thoughts in your mind are worried or anxious, you can choose to think about something else. God’s Word teaches us to cast down wrong thoughts, bringing all of them into captivity to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5). I find that talking to Jesus all throughout the day, about all that I do, and any concern I have is one of the best ways to stay in fellowship with Him, enjoy His presence, and at the same time receive help from Him.
What would Jesus think when He had a situation that would be classified as a “trouble”? We have many examples in the Bible of how He handled such situations, and in each case, He made the choice to trust His Father in Heaven. Even when He was on the cross and felt that He had been abandoned, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” (Luke 23:46 [AMPC]). This was the most difficult time of His life and yet, in the midst of terrible pain and suffering, He trusted God!
The Bible also gives us an account of Jesus being in a boat when a huge storm of hurricane proportions arose. The disciples who were with Him became frantic, timid and fearful, but He was in the stern of the boat asleep. When they woke Him up and expressed their fear, Jesus said, “Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?” (Mark 4:40 [AMPC]).
God expects us to trust Him! He offers us that option, and we would all be wise if we learn to choose it anytime we are tempted to worry. Why be miserable when we don’t have to be?
What If I Don’t Get What I Want?
I think the fear of not getting what we want is a root cause of the difficulty we have in learning how to trust God. Most of us are convinced that the only way we can be assured of getting what we want is if we take care of ourselves. This fear prevents us from completely trusting anyone.
Because I was raised by a selfish and abusive father and mother, I felt certain that nobody truly had my best interests in mind. My attitude was, If I don’t take care of myself, nobody will! Perhaps you recognize that attitude and it has made you as miserable as it did me.
Dave was often hurt by my unwillingness to trust him, but I was not convinced that he would not make selfish decisions that only benefited him. I believed that he loved me, but my parents had also told me that they loved me, and I saw how that turned out. I could not learn to trust anyone until I came to believe in the unconditional love of God and realized that even if a person did hurt me, God would heal and comfort me. God always has our best interest in His thoughts and plans for us, and once we believe that, we can trust Him and learn to trust others.
Trusting God doesn’t guarantee that we will always get what we want. However, if we don’t, it is only because God has something better in mind for us. Many times in my life, I wanted and asked God for things that I didn’t get, only to realize later that if God had given me what I wanted at the time, it would not have been good for me. As we learn to want what God wants for us even more than what we ourselves want, we can have peace of mind in every situation.
Jesus gave us a perfect example of this type of attitude when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His painful death. He said:
… Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.
Luke 22:42 (AMPC)
Our peace of mind rests on whether or not we are willing to trust that God’s will is better than ours even if we don’t understand it. Because we are created with free will, we have the option of trying to run our own lives and live for what we will, but thankfully, we have another option, and that is to trust in the goodness and sovereignty of God. The prophet Isaiah puts it this way: “Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end…” (Isaiah 9:7). The more we let God govern our lives, the more peace we will enjoy!
Who Is in the Driver’s Seat of Your Life?
When life isn’t going how we’d like, and we don’t trust God, it’s easy to try and take the wheel from Him, to boss Him around and try to force Him to do things our way. Sadly, this will land even the best person in an emotional and spiritual ditch. Why not let God drive your life instead?
I heard a story recently about two teenage girls who were spending the day together. One of them was a very spontaneous girl who often did things without thinking them through. She suddenly decided she wanted to trade places with the girl driving the car and proceeded to try and do so while the car was moving. Although the driver of the car initially resisted, she eventually joined in the experiment, and soon they ended up in a ditch with a damaged automobile.
I recommend letting God do the driving. Don’t try to take the wheel from Him while He is taking you where He wants you to go. Let Him take the lead and learn to follow. This is the smartest, safest, and most fulfilling way to live.
This is a good place to stop reading for a few minutes and think about some questions:
• Who is in the driver’s seat in your life?
• How much peace of mind do you enjoy?
• How often do you waste an entire day worrying about something that steals your peace?
• Is a fear of not getting what you want preventing you from trusting God?
• Are you hungry for more peace of mind?
• Do you want to enjoy your life more?
Answering these questions honestly may help you identify your level of trust. If you find that you are not trusting God as you should, there is no reason to be condemned. Just start from this moment to choose trust over worry. Consider this Scripture:
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
Isaiah 26:3 (AMPC)
Let me suggest a new way for you to pray. Instead of merely telling God what you want Him to do for you, try asking for what you want but then adding this statement: “But, Lord, if this isn’t the right thing for me, then please don’t give it to me!”
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