Why is it that we so often fail to trust in the God for whom nothing is too hard? Well, for one—and for me this can be a big one—it’s because we seek approval from other people.
This morning as I read my Bible, I came to these words of Jesus addressing His opponents: “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:43-44)
My first thought was: how stupid! They believed in mere men who came with nothing but their own name and failed to believe in Jesus who came from God Himself? But then, I realized: that is what I do every time I frantically chase after other people’s approval! And it’s not just stupid. It’s failing to trust in God.
D.A. Carson commented on these verses:
“The chief judgment on those who deny that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Son of God, is not so much that they have no Messiah, but that they follow false messiahs…Like most people then and now, they were heavily dependent on accepting praise from one another; they made no effort to obtain the praise that comes from God.”
Far too often I run after false messiahs, convinced that if I can simply amass and maintain a certain level of approval from others, I will be happy. But when I do so, I am failing to believe that the glory that comes from God is the only glory worth seeking after. I am choosing NOT to trust God.
John Piper says it better than I can:
“Itching for glory from other people makes faith impossible. Why? Because faith is being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus; and if you are bent on getting the satisfaction of your itch from the scratch of other’s acclaim, you will turn away from Jesus. But if would turn away from self as the source of satisfaction (= repentance), and come to Jesus for the enjoyment of all that God is for us in him (= faith), then the itch would be replaced by a well of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:14).”
We can’t be trusting God while trying to garner a little praise from others on the side. No, trust in God requires a wholehearted pursuit of the glory that comes from God—a glory that never fails to satisfy!
This morning during my quiet time I read that familiar story of Sarah’s laughing unbelief at God’s promise to her and Abraham:
The Lord said [to Abraham], “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son” (Genesis 18: 10-14).
I am glad that the Bible does not gloss over Sarah’s struggle to believe and trust God. Because I too struggle with unbelief. Sadly, I too sometimes laugh and question in my heart like Sarah: “Shall I indeed________? Shall God indeed prove powerful and faithful?” Even this morning, as I read this portion of Scripture, I was convicted of a specific area where I have not been trusting God.
It is hard to trust God.
I’ve actually been mulling over this reality for the past several weeks—ever since hearing a sermon by Robin Boisvert where he made this very point: “Trusting God actually takes effort. Trusting God actually takes work. It takes reading the Bible. It takes meditating on Scripture. It takes praying about things. It takes taking our own souls to task and stopping one kind of thinking and turning to another kind of thinking. It takes work. It takes effort.”
This is a helpful reminder. I don’t naturally trust God. I need the power of the Holy Spirit, and I need to take my soul to task. I need to choose to trust God in all circumstances.
And I’m encouraged to do so by Sarah’s example. For despite her initial cynicism and doubt, she too came to believe the promise of God. We learn in Hebrews 11:11 that “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who promised.”
Trusting God is hard, but in another sense it is also easy. For when we choose to “consider him faithful who promised” we are putting our faith in one for whom nothing is hard: “Ah, Lord God! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
Where have you been tempted to doubt Gods faithfulness and power today? Turn, like Sarah, to “another kind of thinking” and trust in Him for whom nothing is too hard!
If you’ve ever sold a house, you’ll certainly enjoy this week’s Friday Funny. Our thanks goes to faithful girltalk reader Trillia (whose husband is a real estate appraiser) for this one!
Catch you all Monday!
Nicole for the other girltalkers
YOUR HOUSE AS SEEN BY…
YOUR TAX ASSESSOR…
This week we have considered the biblical response to “all circumstances.” We are to pray earnestly and give thanks always. And as Janelle noted yesterday, we can rest in this truth: if we’ve repented and put our trust in Christ, our salvation is certain, no matter what our circumstances.
Among the countless blessings that flow from our salvation is the fact that we are now on the receiving end of our Savior’s prayers. Mr. Spurgeon comments on Luke 22:32: “I have prayed for thee:”
“How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and when we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers….We little know what we owe to our Saviour’s prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate!”
If our circumstances are difficult or challenging, this truth can provide immeasurable comfort—when we pray, and even when we don’t pray, our Savior never ceases to intercede on our behalf.
As you probably noticed on our sidebar, I am in the middle of an excellent commentary on Esther and Ruth by Ian Duguid. One of the things that I love about this book is the way in which Dr. Duguid constantly takes the messages found in these books and gives application for my life right now, today!
For example, in his explanation in the book of Esther of the King’s edict to counteract Haman’s plot to kill the Jews, Ian Duguid draws our attention to God’s edict which preserves our lives today. He writes, “God’s edict of life for all who trust in Christ can neither be revoked nor challenged. There is no other edict that can be issued to countermand it. God’s settled decree is ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Rom. 8:1). No one and nothing in all creation can ever separate us from his love. So let us daily celebrate our deliverance with unshakable and glorious joy!”
I pray this brings fresh encouragement to your heart today no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in. God’s edict pronouncing your salvation can never be reversed!
Yesterday we considered the biblical exhortation to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18). But there is another God-honoring response to “all circumstances” and that is to pray. “In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” it says in Philippians 4:6.
Each day, as I conclude my time with the Lord, I try to write a Scripture or quote on an index card to carry around with me during the day. The blue index card with the following verse and thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on it is a little worn now—I’ve been carrying it around and meditating on it for days! It’s a reminder to me to make my requests known to God:
“Be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.” Psalm 28:1
“Be not deaf to me—Genuine suppliants are not satisfied with the results of prayer itself in calming the mind and subduing the will—they must go further and obtain actual replies from heaven, at once if possible; they dread even a little of God’s silence. When God seems to close his ear, we must not therefore close our mouths, but rather cry with more lamenting for when our note grows shrill with eagerness and grief, he will not long deny us a hearing. What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become forever silent to our prayers! This thought suggested itself to David, and he turned it into a plea…. When we consider the readiness of the Lord to hear, and his ability to aid, we shall see good reason for directing all our appeals at once to the God of our salavation. Jehovah is our rock, the unmoveable foundation of all our hopes and refuge in time of trouble. Charles Spurgeon
Thank God that he is not deaf to us. He hears us when we call (Psalm 4:3). So let this unshakeable promise drive us to seek God in prayer, in EVERYTHING!
I was struck by Jennifer’s example of learning to be content and grateful in the midst of less than ideal circumstances. God’s Word commands us to give thanks in all circumstances—not only when things are going well (1 Thess. 5:18). We can take our cue from biblical commentator Matthew Henry (pictured here). He wrote the following in his journal after being robbed:
“Let me be thankful—
First, because I was never robbed before.
Second, because although they took my wallet, they did not take my life.
Third, because although they took my all, it was not much.
And fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Hopefully, none of us will fall victim to a robbery today. But let’s follow Matthew Henry’s example and consider all we have to be grateful for—even in the midst of trials and difficulties. Let’s give thanks in all circumstances!
We received many inspiring emails in response to last week’s Mother’s Day posts. May God continue to give all of you struggling with infertility, grieving over the loss of a child, or praying for a wayward son or daughter grace to trust Him with all your heart. Our hope is that this email from Jennifer will encourage all of us to trust God and embrace His sovereign will—whatever our circmstances.
I have read your insightful blogs on Mother’s Day. My husband and I were unable to have children for many reasons, but we have 16 nieces and nephews that we love very much. It was a painful time for me but I feel we have been blessed because His grace is sufficient for me. Mother’s Day used to be hard for me, but now I send e-cards to all the moms I know to bless them for Mother’s Day and I am able to rejoice when people get pregnant and have kids.
I used to be envious and jealous and even had the arrogant attitude that motherhood is not real work because the wife gets to stay home and doesn’t have the pressures of a real job.
When I moved and began watching my sister’s kids almost every day, I saw how hard and demanding taking care of children and babies is. Motherhood is the toughest job there is. I got a taste of what being a mom was and it was hard. At the end of the day, I got to go home from work. But when you are a mommy it is 24/7/365. There are many times you don’t get down time or many breaks. God really taught me a thing or two and I became very humble and respectful of a woman’s role as a mom.
I have learned to be content because life is too short to be upset over what I don’t have. God is sovereign and He is the Master and He is in control. I have a loving husband who loves Jesus and wants to serve. I am going
on 14 years of marriage and each year gets better and better. I am a
spiritual mom to many children and have 2 goddaughters.
God allows things to happen for a reason. Although I may never know all the whys—why I could not have my own baby—I do realize this: It is not God’s job to give me everything I want. It is God’s will for me to be obedient and satisfied in Him. And true faith is rejoicing in the Lord Jesus even when life does not turn out the way I want it.
Over the last few days we have sought to bring encouragement to women whose Mother’s Day has sorrow mixed in with the joy. But we want to end this week by providing you with a little laughter—which God’s Word tells us “does good like a medicine.”
Our long-time friend, Kathy Spiro, has adapted the words to various popular songs to describe the more humorous side of mothering. She and her acting troupe—known as “Funny Moms” have performed these songs for many groups of ladies through the years. They’ve always managed to keep their audience laughing until they cried.
We didn’t want you to miss out on the fun so we picked a couple of her songs for you to enjoy. This post is counting as Friday Funnies for today as you won’t be able to handle much more laughter after watching this production.
Click here here to enjoy the video, and from all of us here at girltalk, have a blessed Mother’s Day!
Janelle for the girls
This morning, Kristin wrote to encourage mothers who have lost children to death. Some of you, while you have not been touched by tragedy of this magnitude, may feel as if you have lost a child. You have a wayward son or daughter. Maybe they are not a Christian and are mired in sin. Maybe they are even angry and bitter toward you.
You spent a lifetime caring for them, praying for them, teaching them God’s Word, and hoping they would become followers of Christ. And yet, they have chosen to pursue their own selfish desires instead. So Mother’s Day brings to the surface a host of conflicting temptations—guilt, fear, anger, and maybe even despair.
If you dread this day as a reminder of your greatest earthly sorrow, may I remind you of the gospel? For no matter how “far gone” you think your child is or how great your temptations, there is hope in Christ.
You may not have been a perfect mother (none of us have!), but if you have repented from your sin and put your trust in Christ, you have a perfect Savior, and you are clothed in His righteousness. So instead of a Mother’s Day spent ruminating on your failure, rejoice instead in the forgiveness and mercy of our Lord.
And take heart. This same mercy and forgiveness is powerful enough to reach your child—no matter how far away from Christ they are trying to run. Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart penned these encouraging words:
“You have reason for hope as parents who desire to see your children have faith. The hope is in the power of the gospel. The gospel is suited to the human condition. The gospel is attractive. God has already shown great mercy to your children. He has given them a place of rich privilege. He has placed them in a home where they have heard His truth. They have seen the transforming power of grace in their lives of His people. Your prayer and expectation is that the gospel will overcome their resistance as it has yours.”
So may your heart be lightened by hope this Mother’s Day. And may you continue to pray in faith that God’s love and mercy will overcome your wayward child’s resistance, as it has yours.
Update: I think you’ll also find this recent post by Abraham Piper—“12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child”--to be both instructive and encouraging.