Where do you put your trust?
Without exaggeration, that is our life’s most important question: Whom to trust? Where do you seek the security, confidence, peace and rest you need? And this is the only right answer: “I trust in God. I wait on him. My faith is in the Lord alone.”
Everyone will agree with that. That is, probably everyone will say, “I want to trust in God.” But then they’ll probably also say, “I don’t trust in him nearly as much as I should.” Because it’s a question we answer by our actions.
Where do you put your trust? We prove that not by our words (which are easy), but by the things we do (and that is hard).
If you really trust in God, do you pray to him like you should pray, in a spirit of humility, with something like consistency?
And if you trust in God, how do you react to your troubles or any uncertainties? Do you fall into a heap of worry and anxiety, or do you trust?
In the time of Isaiah, the prophet reminded God’s people to seek him alone:
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
There was a good reason for Isaiah to preach this message (30:15). Facing political instability and war, they sought the security of alliances. In Judah’s hour of need against the threatening Assyrians, maybe Pharoah’s armies would be able to assist.
And from a human perspective, Egypt was a smart choice. Theirs was an impressive power: a decent army, all the wealth of the Nile, and the great Pharaoh. When you looked around, no other nation could give help against the Assyrians. It was Egypt, or it was no one.
This is always the way of misplaced confidence. We need something to sustain us, undergird us, and propel us forward. Not just in stressful times or seasons of hardship, but every day we face this question: What will be my refuge? What’s going to keep me standing? If not this, then what? If not this, then who?
For instance, I might feel secure about my job stability. Or I know I’m safe with my family, or a group of friends. In my intellect, or with my looks or lifesavings, I’ve got good resources for the future.
It’s like building an alliance, as Judah did: we give these earthly partners and backers our attention, invest our time in them, our money, and in turn we expect their dependability—to brighten our day, give us purpose, and reward our trust.
Despite Egypt’s promising appearance, Isaiah warns that they cannot save. And that’s always the truth about the things we trust in. Take a moment to consider honestly how whatever you most value today is far from enduring.
Your dearly loved people are going to die. Good looks will fade. Earthly positions will come to nothing, and the praise of others will fall silent. All your material treasures will decay, while talents, physical fitness, and mental acuity will all decline.
So why trust in these things? We do, because they’re visible, controllable, and they make us feel strong, especially in the eyes of others. But they’re shadows.
The alternative is simple. God’s people must abandon our idols and deconstruct our false confidence and learn to trust in God alone. That’s the age-old calling and most essential activity of our short life on this blue planet: trust God.
“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’” For years Judah had been busy with those efforts to shore up their confidence: dispatching more messengers to Egypt, sending more money to buy their favour, always plotting the next step.
When you’re trying to create your own security and solve all your problems on your own terms, you’re never done.
There’s no rest, but a never-ending pursuit of human assurance and affirmation. Instead of this rushing around, return to God. Be quiet for a change and put your confidence in him.
And when we do, there is quietness at last. It is the quietness which comes from knowing the true God and trusting him as our Father in Christ. It is the calmness of knowing that our lives are constantly in his perfect care.
We know his greatness, his power, his wisdom, and we learn that we can trust in him. Just as the Lord invites us: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10).
So we don’t need to build our own fortresses. We don’t need to grasp for any form of feeble defence. In this new year, you can trust God with everything, for it’s the only way to peace.
Isaiah once offered this praise to God, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (26:3).
When we set our minds on God, trusting him as our Saviour in Christ, God will keep us in his quietness and peace.
So will you be still and trust?