In the first devotional of the SHE believed series, we looked at the importance of Thinking on Truth in developing a foundation of T.R.U.S.T. Spending time in scripture is the most important principle in developing TRUST in God. I believe our trust, strength and encouragement equals the time spent in God’s word. I really do. Think about the people you trust in your life. Aren’t they the people that you know the very best? And, most likely with whom you have spent the most time? Continue digging into God’s word and building a firm foundation of TRUST by thinking on truth.
The next principle for developing a foundation of trust is two-fold: to REMEMBER all that God has done and REST in His goodness.
R – Remember
Let’s take a look at REMEMBER. As I have mentioned, we have spiritual amnesia. We easily forget all that God has done for us in the past. The ways He has answered prayers, showered us with blessings, provided abundantly, and given us grace.
Sometimes we get into a state of forgetfulness like the psalmist:
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion?
Psalm 77:7-9 (NLT)
Look what happens when the psalmist starts to remember God’s goodness:
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
You are the God of great wonders!
Psalm 77:10-14 (NLT)
Do you see his whole attitude began to change? As he remembers all of the wonderful things God has done, it changed his thoughts. It restored hope and trust where only a few verses before he had none.
My husband has been in ministry both part-time and full-time for the last 20 years. We have been through the painful experience of God closing doors in ministry several times. At the time, we were really shaken. But, looking back at each time a door has closed, we remember that God has opened up a window. That window may have been in much needed time, in a new job opportunity, or a different ministry altogether. Now, when faced with a closed door of some kind, we aren’t as anxious. Because we REMEMBER all that God has done in the past and we believe His promise to work all things together for good. That builds our trust.
One of my favorite promises is Romans 8:28:
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept his invitation to live according to His plan. “ Romans 8:28 (VOICE)
Everything. Even the hard things.
I have Romans 8:28 hanging on my wall. As we see in the Old Testament time and time again, people also had memorials, markers, as reminders of what God had done…of his promises, protection, and provision. Noah built an altar to worship after coming off the ark. That altar served as a reminder of all that God had done during the flood.
Abram, later known as Abraham, planted a tamarisk tree (a deciduous tree with pink, red or white flowers that grows up to 25 feet tall). And there, he called on the name of the Lord. That tree – that tall tree bursting in color – would have reminded him later of all that God had done.
People often named locations, like mountains or wells, in remembrance. One of my favorite stories is about Hagar. When Sarah mistreated her and she ran away, the angel of the Lord came to her. She gave the Lord the name “You are the God who sees me.” And she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV) The well in that place carried that name because…
God saw her.
Later, Moses and Miriam wrote a song as a reminder of all that God had done for the Israelites leaving Egypt.
In Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites to remember at least 16 times. Why? Because they forgot. Remember all God had done for the Israelites? All the miracles He performed and then freed them from their 430 years of captivity. Go back and read Exodus. He sent them on their way with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. That must have been an amazing sight! Even so, the Israelites were terrified when the Egyptian army approached and the Red Sea hemmed them in. They even said “It would have been better to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” Exodus 14:12 (NIV) Wait, what? Being in captivity better than freedom? They had stopped trusting God. They had stopped remembering all God had done. Just like them. We lose faith. Spiritual amnesia creeps in. We have trouble trusting. We forget to believe his promises. Yet, Genesis 18:14 (NLT) says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Well, in the case of the Israelites, even parting the Red Sea, so they could cross, was not too hard for God.
And, nothing is too hard for God to do in our lives either.
As I look back and remember, I see time after time that God has provided for our family in some big ways, but in a thousand small ways, too….for finances, for health, for jobs, for safety, and even for passing grades in high school. In fact, my youngest son has a learning disability which makes math (and testing) of the devil. After a particularly rough freshman year, he passed math with a C and was exempt from his final. I have the exemption slip framed and sitting on my desk. It is a tangible reminder, a marker of all God did that year for my son. It reminds me to trust. All that worry….that put too many gray hairs on my head…for nothing. nada. zilch.
“I REMEMBER the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.”
Psalm 143:5 (NLT)
Remembering builds trust.
(If you would like to break this devotional into two days, scroll down to Putting It Into Practice for this section).
R – Rest
Not only do we have to REMEMBER all God has done, we must learn to REST in His goodness to build a foundation of T.R.U.S.T. What does that mean? It means to rest. You may be thinking “When on earth do I have time to rest?” That’s the problem right there. If you ask anyone today, “How are you?”, most likely the answer will be “Busy!”. We are busy people. We burn the candle at both ends. We say yes when we should say no. Our calendars are filled and spilling over with activities and way too many ‘to-do’s”. We have FOMO. Fear of missing out… or making a mistake or not doing enough or not being enough or not having it all figured out.
Jesus understood the need for both physical and spiritual rest.
Once when Jesus and his apostles had been so busy that they didn’t have time to eat, he said “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31 (NLT) If Jesus stopped to physically rest, maybe we should rest, too. We have to trust that it really is going to be ok, what needs to get done will get done, and we will be better for it by resting.
Remember the story of the Israelites earlier in this devotional? They were honestly freaking out at the Red Sea. They had forgotten all God had done. I am sure they were scrambling around trying to figure out how to get out of this mess. They were thinking, “Yep, this is it. This is the thing that is going to take us out.” And, Moses told them this, “Do not be afraid…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 (NIV) To be still. To rest in God’s faithfulness, his promises, his goodness.
In our busy, hurried culture, one thing that is missing is being still. Taking a quiet pause. A rest for our soul. A spiritual rest. Scripture calls us “to be still and know” that He is God Psalm 46:10 (NLT). To be still and “wait patiently for the Lord” Psalm 27:14 (NLT). Oh how hard that is! In a culture of microwaves and Instagram, we want it fast, we want it now, we don’t have time to wait…but, we are filling our time with so much and missing the one thing that matters most…the joy of being still and resting in God’s presence.
Once again look at Jesus. He knew the importance of spiritual rest. “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:16 (NASB)
My life can get pretty busy… even in the busiest of lives, I have moments. A few minutes here or there to take a quiet pause. We can reclaim a few minutes while we are waiting at practice or in the car rider line or for a meeting. We may have a lunch break or nap time. We can turn off the texting, Facebook, twitter, email and TV. Get up a few minutes early or stay up a few minutes late. Our hurried culture says we have to fill every single minute, but Jesus showed us a different way.
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Mark 1:35 (NLT)
One of my first jobs was in a department store. A sweet, older lady worked with me. During her breaks, I would often see her reading her Bible and then she would lay her head down on the table. At the time, I thought maybe she was napping (remember she was old – at least from an 18 year old’s perspective). But, looking back, I believe she was finding her quiet pause, her quiet moment in a busy day.
The story has also been told of Susannah Wesley, mother to John and Charles Wesley (great evangelists and theologians) and 17 other children. She had the practice of throwing her apron over her head when she needed a few minutes of prayer time…when she needed a quiet pause, a spiritual rest, in the middle of a busy life in the 1600’s. Her children knew not to bother her when they saw the apron. That is how she found her quiet moments.
I am inspired by both of these women. What worked for them may not work for you or me. However, I do know when I carve out a quiet pause in my day, I begin “to calm and quiet my (hurried) soul” Psalm 131:2 (ESV). As I lay down the worries, distractions, activities, and to-do lists, I find my strength in the one who holds the stars...”my heart trusts in him and I am helped” Psalm 28:7 (NASB).
One of the greatest gifts God has given us for rest, and that often is left unopened, is the Sabbath. A day set aside for both spiritual and physical rest. Exodus 34:21 (NASB) says, “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” That, my friends, develops trust. For farmers, the plowing and harvest seasons are crucial. Yet, God challenged them to stop their work for a day and rest in His goodness for them, in His provision. Think about that for a minute. Do you stop your every day, ordinary work for a day of rest every week? Do you trust that God can handle all that you don’t on that day? Yes, it is hard to practice. Yet, the Sabbath was made for man. Not as a burden. It was God’s desire to give us time to rest our souls, minds and bodies. For goodness sake, it is even in the top 10 commandments!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Sweet friends, continue to lay a foundation of trust. Take time to remember. Take time to rest.
“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)
Putting it into Practice
Pick a few of these ideas that would make the most impact in your life right now.
- Take some time today, maybe not to build a well or write a song, but jot down some of the many things God has done for you. REMEMBER all that God has done in your life.
- List a few big things that God has done in your life.
- List several small things, too.
- Is there something tangible that you can keep as a reminder of all that God has done in your life or a reminder of an answered prayer? (like the framed exemption slip or the scripture I have on my wall).
- What is something you are facing right now that causes you to concern?
- How has God shown you in the past that He works all things together for good?
- Write Romans 8:28 or another verse from this devotional on a sticky note or in your journal.
- If you have time this week, spend some time reading Exodus. Look at all the things God did for the Israelites…and how easily they forgot.
- Choose to Remember.
- Take some time to evaluate your daily schedule and your calendar for the next month. (I love still using a paper calendar. Although that may seem old school, you can really get a good look at the literal “white space” – times not filled with something- and margins that you have or DON’T have.)
- Where are some natural breaks in your day? Look for times that you could “slip away” for spiritual rest – prayer and Bible study – early morning, before bed, at lunch, while kids are at school or napping or practice, etc.
- Start small and schedule 15 minutes for a quiet pause in your day. Put it on your calendar. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. Just start again. Spend time mediating on God’s promises.
- Consider adding a Sabbath in your schedule. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. Start small there, too. Maybe it is a morning or afternoon that you set aside every week to focus on God and rest from your work.
- If you don’t attend a worship service, consider finding one in your area. Invite a friend to go, too. Often the days I feel the least like going to church are the days I need it the most. Worship and the Word of God refreshes my soul.
- Evaluate your commitments. Have you overcomitted and are running on fumes? Is there a thing or two that you could drop for now to free up space for spiritual and physical rest…having time with Jesus and getting time to actually sleep. An analogy that I read once is to consider all you are juggling. Some are glass balls – main priorities -those things that if you drop will shatter. Others are rubber balls – things that can be dropped, that will bounce and can be picked back up later, if needed. Our physical and spiritual health have to be a priorities – glass balls.
- Consider reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst if you have trouble with overcommitment.
- Slow down and breathe in grace.
- Rest in His goodness today.