Trusting God when it looks like He broke a promise

When covid first hit, we all had a choice to make; where would we put our hope for protection? Would it be in what we could do to protect ourselves? Or would God be the foundation of our hope? My husband and I made a conscious decision to put our trust in God, not in social distancing or masks or hand sanitizers or medicine or doctors or in a vaccine. While we recognized that God can and does use these things at times to protect or bring healing, God Himself was where we put our trust. I memorized a passage from Psalm 91:

“If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.” Peace settled over our home as we trusted in God.

Then in 2021 we got covid.

What. Just. Happened?!?!

What about God’s promise? Did I not trust Him enough? Did I let down my shield of faith? Did God forget His promise?

This morning I found myself in Psalm 91 again. To be honest, it sort of stung. This same passage that used to bring me comfort now left me with some questions for God. I haven’t really wanted to face this gnawing question. Yet I didn’t want it to rise up later during a crisis either.

Sometimes when I have questions for God, I journal my time with Him. This morning, I sensed the Holy Spirit urging me to process Psalm 91 with Him in my journal. I was honest with Him, confessing that I was battling fear of writing it down. Fear that writing it down would give the questioning the power to take me out. I asked God to confirm it if this was really Him leading me to journal this. Even as I did, Habakkuk 2:2 came to mind:

“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets…”

I thought that if God really wanted me to journal these questions I had for Him, that scripture would be it. There are over 2,000 pages in my Bible, and where do you think I opened my Bible to this morning? You guessed it.

As I read through Habakkuk, I could see that he had some questions for God too:

“How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”

“Why do you make me look at injustice?”

“Why do you tolerate the treacherous?”

“Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”

Habakkuk is someone I can relate to. He struggled at times to understand God. He admitted that there were times he didn’t understand why God didn’t DO SOMETHING! Why? Why? Why?

Habakkuk knew God, trusted God. Yet he had some questions for Him. Maybe you do too.

What was God’s response to Habakkuk’s questions?

First of all, God said, “Wait.” The revelation God had given Habakkuk would not prove false. There was an appointed time for it to be fulfilled.

Secondly, God reminded Habakkuk that, “The righteous will live by his faith.” God was asking Habakkuk to trust Him when his perception told him that God wasn’t coming through for him.

God also told Habakkuk that there is a day of reckoning coming. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. Be assured, though, it will come.

What was Habakkuk’s response? What was his heart set when he walked away from this brutally honest time of intimacy with God?

“I will wait patiently.” He decided to trust that one day God would give His people justice. He would deliver them from their enemies.

Habakkuk also resolved to joyfully trust God. He made the decision to trust God before deliverance and provision came. Not only would he trust while he waited, but he would do it with a joyful heart. We wasn’t going to mope around until God fulfilled His promise. He chose joy in the midst of the storm. He declared,

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

He decided to trust in the midst of a severe trial. He chose not to allow offense toward God to take him out. It’s easy to gloss over the severity of Habakkuk’s trial. His wealth? Gone. Food? Gone. A brutal enemy? Not gone. They were right there, in his neighborhood. Habakkuk found his faith being severely tested, and it was found to be genuine.

So…what about God’s promises? When we look back on a time when it looks like God didn’t keep a promise? How do we trust Him to keep other promises? For me, it’s a decision. It’s where I’ve put my stake in the ground. This is where I stand, even when I don’t understand. Even when my perceptions or feelings tell me that God’s word has failed. I choose to trust God’s word because He is not like us; He cannot lie.

I’m inspired by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (Daniel chapter 3.) When faced with the choice of bowing down to an idol or being burned alive, they said,

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us…but even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods…”

They trusted God. They also acknowledged that He is Sovereign. They resolved to serve Him even if He didn’t act the way they thought He would.

Maybe you can relate to me. Maybe there’s an area where you find it difficult to trust God with something that happened to you. If so, know that we’re in good company. Many of God’s people in the Bible had their faith tested. I pray that you will trust even when you don’t understand why God acts or doesn’t act the way you expect Him to. May you take up the shield of faith and wait patiently for Him. Those who hope in Him will not be disappointed. (Isaiah 49:23)

May your faith be found to be genuine,

Arlene

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