|hat chapel service started like almost every other I had been to at Andrews University—a cheery welcome, prayer, and a series of praise songs complete with a team on stage to guide the audience. Then came the opening hymn: “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”
As a lifelong Adventist raised in a series of small-town churches, I have grown up singing hymns, and this one was an old favorite. As I opened the hymnal and began humming the familiar tune, however, I actually heard the lyrics for the first time.
Like the congregation, I sang “’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus / Just to take Him at His word,” but my conscience pricked me. Did I really mean what I sang? Did I trust Jesus with all my heart? Had I proven His love?
I could follow the congregation and sing all the verses. My heart ached within me, because I knew the answer. No, I didn’t always mean what I sang. Shamefully, I couldn’t even practice what I believed in as a Christian. I had been found out as a hypocrite in one of the pews—by my own conscience.
This moment of despondency has, unfortunately, repeated itself over the years. I struggle with trusting God. I stubbornly cling to my will instead of submitting to His. How is it that I take a politician at his or her word, accept ideals at face value, but not trust that the Lord of heaven and earth will find me enough money to pay for a month’s electric bill?
It’s shocking to realize that I sometimes place so little faith in the one Person I have known my entire life. At least once, every individual I know has let me down—parents, pastors, friends, teachers, mentors, and heroes. We’re all human, and we all show our flaws in very telling—and sometimes unsightly—ways. And yet I’m willing to pick up the fragments of my shattered faith and piece them together to rebuild a trusting relationship. Why, then, can’t I trust the God who has never let me down?
Turning to the Psalms proves that I am not—and have never been—alone in this shortcoming. Of all biblical writers the psalmist ran the gamut of emotions in his relationship with God. In one song he praised God for His goodness and, in the next, cried out in despair. In Psalm 10:1 he moans: “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?”*
Yet he counters his own doubts when he proclaims his
confidence in God’s mercy: “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me” (Ps. 55:16). Though the psalmist’s feelings of distrust clouded his perspective, his faith in God never wavered.
Like the psalmist, I falter and stumble. Even so, I know in whom I believe. The God I know will never forsake me, He will never put me through any test I can’t endure, and He has taken care of all my needs. What more can I ask?
That morning in September I realized that while I may not always live what I believe, it is important to remember that I cannot trust God by myself. As a human I am too weak to do anything all by myself.
In my own strength I can’t trust God. I can’t prove His worthiness, but He has already proven it to me. When I am weakest, His strength takes over. When
I ask God to let go for me because I am unable, He blots out my sins and covers my deficiencies with His grace.
With tears in my eyes I asked forgiveness for the many times I failed to trust His goodness. Then I prayed—and I still do—for my faith to be made strong through Him.
And as we sang the final chorus, the last line lingered: “O for grace to trust Him more!” I thrilled to the words, as they exactly echoed my sentiments. We may trust God—or say we do—but it is through grace alone that we can. And that is why it is so sweet to trust in Him!
*All texts are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Bonnie McLean studies at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She is a summer intern at Adventist Review.