The schoolyard trust test is falling backwards with your eyes shut, trusting your friend to catch you. Even with the best of friends, this is a scary way to prove your trust.
Trusting God is not that risky, but it sometimes feels like it. When we pray for the salvation of people close to us, we sometimes say, “Whatever it takes” as an expression of confidence in God who knows what is best. He will take care of whatever we give Him, yet we usually have no idea what He is going to do. Joab, an Old Testament warrior, said it like this:
“Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” (1 Chronicles 19:13)
These words say two things besides expressing trust in God. They are a call to summon all our strength to serve Him, and a description of where to exert that effort — for our people and for the places we dwell.
To apply Joab’s words to our day, we could see them as pointing to the church, which is how the devotional author uses it, not a church building but the Body of Christ made up of those who trust Him.
Here then is a combination of two things — simply put, God wants His people to trust and obey. He wants me to believe He will do what is good, and to use my energies to obey Him.
I can say I trust God, yet faith requires expression. This is true in all situations. If I believe electricity works, I plug in the toaster and put bread in it. If I believe 911 will help in an emergency, I will call them. If I believe God knows and does what is best, I will pray “whatever it takes.”
Obedience is also an expression of faith. If I believe God hears and answers prayer, then I will pray. If I believe that God loves me, then I will walk in confidence as a loved person. If I believe that “faith comes by hearing” then I will share the Gospel with others. This is obedience based on faith.
The psalmist expresses his faith in several other ways. He says:
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night . . . . For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy . . . though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O Lord, are on high forever . . . . For behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered . . . . But the righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:1–15)
In faith, my life should persevere in faithfulness to God and the work He has committed to my hands. He trusts me with the gospel and gives me opportunities to share it. I have no idea who will respond and who will harden their heart, but I do know His command:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20)
Experience says that not everyone will respond, but God is able. Joab basically said, ‘If God saves us, we shall be saved. If we perish, we shall perish. That is up to him. But we will serve him valiantly.’
Jesus, You know that I’m a goal-oriented person who takes on tasks that can be finished. Sharing the Gospel is not like that. I’m to do it, trusting You regarding what happens, even if nothing happens. If You save someone, I will rejoice, but if hearts are hardened toward You, I cannot give up and quit. I still must say, “May the Lord do what seems good to Him” and leave the results in Your hands.