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There are many things to be anxious about dear God. An uncertain future is before me. I have no choice but to enter it, but how will I walk into it. You tell me to not be anxious about anything, to present my fears to you in prayer, yet I struggle to verbalize my fears. The words seem to evade me. I simply ask for your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Help me to present my fears to you, to release them to you, and replace them with your peace. May I rest in you and not let my fears rest in me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

I am worn out. My body is weak. I can barely breathe. It is difficult to find the words to speak to you dear Lord. In the midst of my fatigue, you strengthen me Lord. You reassure me in spite of my fear. Fill me with your courage dear Lord to face the unknown. May I find peace in knowing everything is in your hands.

“How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe. Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. ‘Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,’ he said. ‘Peace! Be strong now; be strong.’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.’” – Daniel 10:17-19 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

In you dear God I find my hope. In Jesus Christ I find my salvation. Without you in my life dear Lord, I would be lost. I do not understand why you would spare a sinner like me, yet you constantly shower me with your grace. You patiently nurture me, deepening my faith. It causes me to praise you even more for what you have done in my life. Thank you God for sending your son Jesus. I praise you for your Word. I praise you dear Lord. All praise to you our Heavenly Father.

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” – Jude 1:24-25 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

He wants to put a new song in my heart, but I do not know the words yet. He wants to make me anew, but I do not know who I am or who I should be. I am being transformed into something I have yet to see. All I can do for now is praise you dear God, that you have set me on solid ground; that you have given me a solid foundation to stand on; a firm place to rest; a place to be still and know you are God. Without you I would remain in the depths of the mud and mire, stuck in the slimy pit. My trust is in you God. You are my hope.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

Why did I have to be with the last ones? I knew it was my own fault for hesitating to leave when my division packed up and headed out laden with silver, gold and clothing as well as their unleavened bread. It all happened so fast. I couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw the Egyptians urge us to hurry and leave. I think they were actually scared to have us around after all those plagues, especially that last one. I have to admit I was scared as the first born son, but we did as the Lord instructed through Moses and I was not harmed.

Only the mighty hand of God could’ve ended our slavery and brought us out of Egypt. But now fear and doubt returned as I stood between two walls of water. It was the same fear I felt when we were camped near Pi and I thought the Egyptian army was going to overtake us. I thought we were going to die right there in the desert. Moses’ words still echoed in my mind: Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I saw it all with my own eyes. A pillar of cloud kept the Egyptian army from reaching us all night with darkness on one side and light on the other. I thought we were trapped by the sea until I saw Moses stretch out his hand and a strong east wind blew all night so that the waters of the Res Sea parted creating a dry path to the other side. It was an amazing sight to behold. But now here I stood watching the Egyptian army advancing, pursuing us on the same path through the Red Sea, but with fast moving chariots. I quickly trudged up the dry shore to the other side of the Red Sea with the last few people to cross, knowing I would be the among the first struck down by the army.

I wanted to run as fast as I could after reaching shore, but the word of the Lord that Moses gave us caused me to stop and turn around. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The Lord has brought us this far, yet fear began to fill me again as I watched the army coming closer. “Can I just be still and trust the Lord will fight for us, for me?”

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of a person who is part of the exodus out of Egypt through the Red Sea based on Exodus 12:31-14:31.

© 2019 CGThelen

What does it mean to be still dear God? Can I rest? Can I be motionless? Can I really just stop at this moment as the world passes by in a blur? The Psalmist recorded, He says, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10, NIV).”

I know he is God. I know that in my heart. Yet to be still and know that he is God is quite a different thing. Being in the moment. Clearing my mind of the blur of activity. Resting my tired body. Pressing the stop button of my life instead of pause. To know God is to be still in him. To empty myself and let his presence flow freely into my life, instead of just letting him seep into the remaining cracks and crevices of my full life.

To be truly still is to be motionless, stopped, empty. To let exhaustion take over and immobilize me in the presence of you dear God. To stop pressing onward and release myself to your hand, your lead. Take your hand in my hand dear God, like the small child I am who still has so much more to learn about you. May I look up to you with confidence that you will lead me, lead me on the right path.

© 2019 CGThelen

She was just a poor old widow barely getting by on what little she had. Yet I’d never seen someone with such devotion to God. Despite the trials, despite losing her husband, she did not lose her faith in God. All she had was two small copper coins to her name, but she wanted to show her gratitude to God.

I pleaded with her not to go, to keep the two small coins. I reminded her that the teachers of the law should be taking care of her. It was their duty after she lost her husband. “Why support the temple when it doesn’t support you?” I questioned. She just smiled back at me. She wouldn’t listen to me and proceeded to the temple to give her last two copper coins.

I followed behind her. She was too stubborn to want my help, but I would follow her just in case she needed someone to assist her. Inside the temple court, as she made her way to treasury, I spotted those teachers of the law putting on a show as they deposited large amounts into the treasury. The coins made a large noise. When this widow made her deposit, the two coins were barely audible. I stood a ways back, slipping behind a pillar so she wouldn’t see me as she exited the courtyard. That’s when I saw him standing within earshot of me.

I had heard about this teacher who called himself Jesus. I noticed him watching the woman leaving the courtyard. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

His words amazed me. Such wisdom. I knew she gave all she had in belief that God would provide, but how did he know? It was as if he knew her heart, as if he had listened in on our conversation, as if he knew my thoughts. This widow’s faith, her actions, and now the words of this Jesus pierced me to the core. My heart stirred like never before in my life.

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone who witnessed the poor widow contributing to the temple treasury based on Luke 21:1-4 (NIV).

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” – 2 Corinthians 8:12

© 2019 CGThelen

Suffering is a part of life in this world. It is difficult to understand the reason we experience pain and grief. Like Job, we wrestle with why we experience anguish — trauma that causes us to cry out as Job did: “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the sea… (Job 6:2-3, NIV).”

Pain in our life, deep misery, can cause us to cry out for help. As Job wrestled with God’s purpose for his agony, it caused him to open up to God and others about his pain. He expressed his true feelings: “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul (Job 7:11).” This is the essence of true community with God and other Christians; open and honest conversation about our struggles and emotions that builds a deep connection with God and each other.

When we share our suffering, we open the door to sharing a journey that can deepen our faith in God. We move beyond surface conversations like Job’s friends who claim they have answers for his suffering: “Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty (Job 15:5).”

To walk with a friend through the anguish is to experience it with them; to cry with them; to grieve with them. Sharing our deepest feelings, our deepest pain, welcomes others to deepen their faith with us as we replace trying to understand the purpose for pain with a deeper faith, a deeper trust in God. We can exclaim as Job did, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2).”

© 2019 CGThelen

I dig deep in my soul. I think your ways are my ways; your desires my desires. And yet I can feel distant from you God, not understanding why some things need to be the way they are — why the pain and suffering. It seems so unnecessary. I only desire for them to be free from being enslaved to the lies, to the deceit; free from the sin that only brings misery. I only want them to bask in the joy of your light dear Jesus. Isn’t this also your desire dear God? So much pain, at times it seems unbearable. My heart aches, my soul weeps. I cry out to you God in prayer for change. Help me to grab hold of your wisdom and truth, even in the midst of my doubt. Help me to trust in you.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. – Psalm 46:1-3

© 2019 CGThelen

This weekend Lord I saw with my own eyes your restorative power. I saw a man, who I visited only two years ago in a prison, now living free — not just physically free from prison, but living free in Christ Jesus. I watched him interact with his wife and child in a loving way and all I could do was praise you dear God. I pray Lord that you forgive my doubt that you can change seemingly impossible things. May I not lose faith that you can transform lives. Help me Lord to trust your perfect timing; help me to grow in my faith in you dear God; to expand my belief that you are who you say you are. Your promises are true.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

© 2019 CGThelen

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