“The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence.” This verse, found in 2 Samuel 22:3, is one of the most repeated themes of the Old Testament, trusting in the Lord no matter the circumstances.
This is a theme that stands out to me, as many experiences in my life have taught me the importance of always doing so. It is a principle and lifestyle that I am still learning to fully incorporate in my day-to-day life.
There are a couple of examples from the Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price that I think demonstrate how to trust in the Lord well. Hopefully, we can see that this principle of trusting in God has not changed and still is essential to our mortal existence.
Trust Requires Effort
Trusting God is not a passive mental state. It is like faith, requiring work and effort on our part. A brief but absolutely impressive example is that of Adam. In Moses 5, Adam is offering sacrifices to God and is visited by an angel.
“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.”Moses 5:6
Of course, we know that the Lord had a reason for Adam offering sacrifices – to teach Adam about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice. However, Adam did not initially know God’s reasoning, and he chose to obey God anyway. Apparent ‘blind obedience’ is trust in God, and if we trust in God, we are never truly blind.
Adam was willing to make the effort to follow God even when he didn’t understand what he was asked to do. The effort and desire Adam had were what helped him to gain understanding. Adam trusted that God would use his efforts to teach and prepare him for the future.
Trust Requires Obedience
N. Eldon Tanner said in the 1973 October General Conference:
“Obedience is the first law of heaven… these laws affect not only our happiness and well-being here upon the earth, but are essential to our eternal life.”Elder N. Eldon Tanner, “Obedience,” October 1973
Obedience is a commandment, but if we are willing to be obedient, we will find how much of a blessing it can be for us.
A fairly dramatic example of trusting in God’s will is in Judges 7. Gideon was one of the judges of Israel, and at the time, Israel was being threatened by the Midianites. Gideon knew that he and Israel couldn’t drive the Midianites away without the aid of God.
So when God told him that the army of Israel was too large and needed to be smaller, Gideon complied. He told everyone that anyone who was frightened or wanted to leave was free to do so. Israel’s army shrank from 32,000 men to 10,000.
God told Gideon that 10,000 men were still too many for the army needed to drive out the Midianites. All the men were then tested at a river. All those who scooped up the water with their hands to drink it stayed in the army and all the others were sent home as well.
After these two rounds of eliminations, all that remained of Israel’s army were 300 men.
Gideon must have been wondering how 300 men could ever take on a full army of Midianites, but ignoring his doubts, he continued to do as the Lord commanded him.
The 300 men were divided into three groups and stationed around the army of the Midianites during the night. Each man was given a trumpet and a pitcher, and told to blow the trumpets and break the pitchers when Gideon told them to do so.
At this point, all the men must have thought Gideon was crazy. How is a huge army defeated with just trumpets and pitchers? But they chose to obey as well.
20 And the three companies blew the trumpets and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
21 And they stood every man in this place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled.Judges 7:20-22, KJV
By being willing to obey the Lord, despite the strange circumstances, Gideon and the Israelites were able to first trick, then drive out the Midianites. Had they not been obedient, or trusted in God enough to turn to Him in the first place, He would not have helped them, and the Midianites would have overpowered the Israelites.
Why We Need to Trust God
It is clear that trust in God empowers us, His children, to fulfill His will and His work. Not only does this further the work of God, but it blesses our lives as well.
The examples from the Old Testament show that to trust God, we can’t just sit back and wait for Him to fix things for us. We need to be making efforts ourselves, trusting that He’ll make the most of our efforts, and we need to obey His commands, trusting that His reasons are good and that, eventually, things will be clear to us.
Living in a time full of contention and fear, some people might dismiss the power that comes from trusting God. It’s easier to stay angry and afraid or to search the internet for immediate answers.
But God’s power is greater than all.
And when we trust Him, all things can be overcome. We can overcome anger and fear. We can receive answers. We can keep going through this life and try to become the best we can be. Trusting God makes it possible to do all of this and more.
And we need that power. We need Him.
Because, frankly, God is the only One who can save us. He’s the only one who can fix what’s broken, heal what’s hurt, and lead us perfectly. No organization, club, politician, or anything can do that for us. We trust God, not man, because God can do all things.
When we trust Him.