Trusting God Against all Odds
You may have heard many sermons or lessons about faith, trusting God. The Bible is full of stories about faith; there are so many characters or individuals with whom we could identify when it comes to trusting in God. We all may profess to trust God but our actions may not reflect it. Why is trusting God so hard at times? It doesn’t come naturally; it requires us to not be in control at times and most of us don’t like that. Trusting God goes against our reasoning; it goes against our comfort. Therefore it’s hard. Would you trust God even when it doesn’t make sense to you?
This is how I would define faith. Faith is trusting God even when it doesn’t make sense.
If you did a Bible study on faith, you will find that God told people to do some crazy things that defiled logic and human reason; things that went against their feelings.
Abraham, God called him to abandon with family, his country, to leave everything behind to a land that God will show him. That just didn’t make sense, to leave your family behind to go to a place that you have not even seen yet. Abraham trusted God even when it didn’t make sense to him. (Gn.12)
A widow in Zarephath (I kings 17:7-16) during the time of drought. When Elijah met her, she was collecting sticks to start a fire and cook the last meal for her and her son. Elijah asked her for water and something to eat. She said I don’t have anything baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug and now I am collecting sticks to fix our last meal so we may die. And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a small cake of bread of what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. (v.13) For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel says: The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land. (14) This just didn’t make sense, to fix something for you first, not even my son, after I just told you my situation. She trusted the word of the Lord and she had abundance of flour and oil throughout the drought.
Has God ever told you to do something that did not make sense to you?
Jesus just got done feeding more than thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The disciples witnessed this incredible miracle. Jesus tells the disciples to get in the boat and go across while he would dismiss the crowd. Jesus stays behind dismissing the crowd, the he goes by himself to pray. Read Matt. 14:22-33
In the fourth watch of the night (between 3-6 am) Jesus came to his disciples walking on the lake. When the disciples saw someone walking on water, they thought they had seen a ghost (spirit). They were terrified “it’s a ghost”!
Jesus said to them. Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.
If you trust me, you won’t be afraid.
Peter said, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water”
Jesus said, come!
Jesus just told Peter to forget about the laws of reason or logic. We know for a fact that people don’t walk on water; we were not given that capacity. Jesus is saying don’t trust your instincts, your feelings, your heart, but trust me. Come! Don’t think too much, just trust me now, even when what I am asking you to do doesn’t make sense.
Peter trusted Jesus even when it went against his own reasoning and he stepped out of the boat, on the water because Jesus told him to come. Peter was able to walk on water as long as he continued to focus on Jesus.
Verse 30 Then Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to look at the circumstances, the wind, and the waves around him. How often we do the same? We look at our situation, our problems or issues and they seem so big; they make us slip into self-centered vision and attitude. Peter was afraid. Why? Because he wasn’t looking at Jesus any longer. He looked at the waves, felt the strong wind. He wasn’t looking at the one who called him. He doubted. He began to sink in the sea of despair and so will you when you look at your situation or circumstance and don’t fix your eyes on Jesus. He stopped trusting Jesus at that time. What is it that is making you afraid? Is your situation drowning you? What are you focusing on? When you are afraid of something, you are not trusting God with that very thing. The Jews were afraid of Goliath and only David believed victory was possible because his confidence was in the LORD. He knew Yahweh was greater than their military conflict with the Philistines. Any time you experience fear, you stop trusting in God.
Peter was sinking (v.30) “Lord, save me.”
Jesus reached out his hand and took hold of him.
“You of little faith, why did you doubt? (v.31)
Sometimes we are tough on Peter for doubting, but he was the only one brave enough to step out of the boat. His faith was big enough to step out of the boat and walk on water, but it was not strong enough to continue walking toward Jesus. In what areas of your life is Jesus saying to you “You of little faith.”?
When Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died down and those in the boat worshiped Jesus. ‘truly you are the Son of God.” (v.33).
That experience gave them a different outlook on Jesus. He is the Son of God. He is the Messiah. He controls nature. When you experience his power and the things he does on your behalf, you too will worship him as God. When he rescues you from the waves of desperation and the sea of fear, you will worship him for who he is.
Jeremiah says that blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
When Jesus invites you to do something crazy, like stepping out of the boat and walk toward him, are you going to trust him?
Many times, people forfeit God’s blessings because of their lack of faith.
The people of Nazareth forfeited great miracles among them when Jesus visited his hometown. They did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. They just thought he was the son of a carpenter. Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matt.13:58// Mark 6:5
Your lack of faith won’t get you the Lord’s blessing. Peter was able to walk on water when he trusted Jesus, but he began to sink when he doubted.
At times your faith is big enough to get out the boat; it’s big enough to start the journey toward Jesus. Along the way, you may be distracted, and you begin to sink in an ocean of doubts and insecurities. You start to gasp for air all due to the situation you are in. This is what happens when we stop looking at Jesus. Our circumstances will drown us, fear will paralyze us when we misplace our trust. When we trust something or someone else, not on Jesus. You have taken your eyes off Jesus; you are looking at the situation, the problem, the conflict, etc. Then you doubt that God could help you with your situation.
You have to trust Jesus even when it doesn’t make sense at all. You must fix your eyes on Jesus at all time.
Man says show me and I’ll trust you. God says trust me and I’ll show you.
Abraham got the land because he trusted God, the widow had plenty of food through the drought because she trusted the word of the Lord. David brought victory to Israel against all odds; Peter walked on water because he trusted the one who told him to get out of the boat. Imagine what kind of blessings you could receive; the things God would have you do, if you just trusted him even when what he says seems crazy to you. Would you still trust him against all odds? I pray you would.