Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trust, Confidence, Hope

Blessed is the person who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Dear Friends,

The word trust is a word I'm running into alot lately. It's seems to be everywhere. It's in the books that I read, the e-mails I receive and the articles I happen to glance at in the magazines that I pick up. And now I'm discovering that I'm running into this curious five letter word in the verses I'm reading in my Bible, not randomly but like over and over and over!  Between you and me, I kinda think God is up to something. This is so typical of Him. It's His mode of operation with me and this is how He drives a message home. I'm thinking He's trying to communicate something to me, yet again. Yes, sometimes God needs to reiterate ... ALOT because I don't always get it the first time and sometimes I don't always listen well. Probably, because I have the propensity to become distracted and or I get caught up with life and all it's busyness and lately I'm sure it's because I have menopause brain. In fact, I'm sure of it! The word "trust" stands out super loud and clear to me these days when someone brings it up in conversation, especially when its not even a conversation I'm engaged in. I find that I get all nosy about it and find myself eavesdropping when I hear someone mention the word "trust." The little voice in my head says: "Really, so what are your thoughts on trust??? ... Please do tell, I want to know." But of course, I'm not involved in the conversation, so I don't really ask the question and continue to eavesdrop and try really hard not to make it obvious. Allow me to tell you what all of this is causing me to do lately. It's causing me to sit up straight and to pay attention because I can tell that Father God, yes Big Daddy upstairs is talking to me alright.

This morning after I read verses 7 and 8 in the 17th chapter of Jeremiah, I became curious and decided to look up how the dictionary would describe the word trust. And here's what I discovered: I learned that the dictionary describes "trust" as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of a person or thing; confidence. Another description I found is confident expectation of something; hope. Did you notice what I noticed? I noticed that trust requires confidence and hope.

So here's my conclusion: I believe that trust, confidence and hope are all born of faith.

I believe faith is an important aspect when it comes to trust. The Bible says that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).

It was during my quiet time with God this morning that I came upon the verses in Jeremiah that I referenced above. I thought this was going to be a quick 5 minute quiet time with God because I had plans and had alot I wanted to accomplish today. I had quite the To-Do-List waiting for me and fortunately for me, being the planner that I am, I scheduled the day off to extend my holiday weekend to get these things done. Well, needless to say, practically nothing got stratched off my list, instead I spent alot of time thinking, praying and writing. My phone rang quite a bit but I was disciplined and didn't take any calls. I stayed focused on writing. As a side note, can you believe the word trust was in the very first verse I read??? LOL! Only God!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 became one of my favorite verses last year during the spring. When I saw these verses this morning, I smiled and thanked God quietly for getting me through a very difficult season (spring 2010) in my life. That spring I found myself feeling sick and fatigued the result of medication I had taken for 3 months to help fight the recurrence of breast cancer. These side effects came after my radiation treatments ended. I had Radiation Therapy in November and December 2010 to eradicate cancer cells in my body. The radiation also caused fatigue and left me fatigued during the treatment season which lasted for five weeks and for three months after my treatments ended. My body was exhausted and experienced significant trauma surviving three surgeries at that point, 20 radiation treatments in total and medication I was taking daily. I didn't understand what was happening in my body or to my body and after awhile it began to trouble me. It seemed like my health problems began to scatter through out my body like marbles thrown on the ground. This was now month seven after learning I had breast cancer. I felt concerned that medication which I thought was suppose to help me began to harm me. At times I felt frustrated because some days I felt utterly and completely helpless. Feeling helpless is an awful feeling. I can't even stand how I feel when I reach that point. I limit who I speak to because I refuse to bring anyone down with my negative energy. We all experience low points, feelings of helplessness during our darkest hours but I refuse to park myself in self-pity. Pity-parties are just that: a sad little party for one, not a way of life. So one day last year (4-14-10) during the spring, in my quest to find some encouragement and a fresh word from God, I opened my Bible and fell upon verses 7 and 8 in chapter 17 in the book of Jeremiah. Oh how I loved the imagery my mind formed after reading these verses. I read those verses slowly, over and over and over. Reading those verses did something to me that day. It restored my hope. Suddenly I felt encouraged. And while my circumstance (my health issues) didn't change overnight, my attitude toward my circumstance changed and that made a world of difference. It took five additional months and one more surgery in July 2010 before I felt well again. But here's what was different about those five months: It was five hope-filled months filled with days and nights trusting and believing in a God who is able, more than able. These verses became a real source of encouragement to me and served as a wonderful reminder that I believe and serve a great God whom I can put my trust in, believing that He loves me and will take care of me. He's a real promise keeper I learned. I remind myself often that I can trust in His promises for my life. God's word does not promise us a life without difficulty or pain. What He promises is to be with us, to walk with us through our difficulty. And my friend, that's exactly what God did for me. And He can and will do that for you too. Did you know that when we exercise faith muscles, trusting God and believing God, that that's when His power is released in our life? It's true. Our faith and His power work hand-in-hand.

So what are you holding on to that needs to be released to God? Are you struggling with something in your life right now? Do you need to begin trusting in something BIGGER than yourself, that is reliable, able, sure, and strong? My friend, I have the answer. The answer is God. You can count on Him. And He is the One you can put your trust and hope in. He's a loving, forgiving and patient God. He waits patiently for you to invite Him into your life, your circumstances, and your struggles.

Remember, your faith is what releases His power in your life. The result: peace and confidence. Peace and confidence among many other wonderful things is what He desires for you and offers you, not the way the world offers it but as a result of trusting Him, your Maker who loves you no matter what and who will always be in your corner.

Today's Prayer:

Dear God,

Forgive me when I begin to lose sight of where true hope is found. Infuse my heart and mind with hope that can only be found in You. Please quench my thirst for understanding during my difficulty with reassurance of Your faithfulness. I ask that You guard my heart from the temptation to focus on the problem, instead of the One who holds everything in His hands. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

The above short prayer is one that carried me through some very difficult days as I battled breast cancer. I can't even remember where I found it or where I first read it. What I know for sure is that I loved this prayer so-o much and needed it so-o much during that season in my life that I hung on to these words like a child hangs on to a security blanket. I hung these words on a wall in my home because this prayer was the prayer that helped me. It helped me feel peace every time I uttered these words. I hung these words on a wall in my home shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis (Sept. 2009) and today you will find these words on that very wall. Thanks to God Almighty, who's my comforter and my healer, my health has been fully restored. I'm healed and healthy and thankful. So thankful! I have prayed this prayer a hundred times since my cancer diagnosis because I believe it’s such a great prayer any time I begin to feel the least bit discouraged. I pray and I hope that if you need encouragement, it will bless you too.

Yes, indeed. Blessed is the person who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him.

Blessings to you. Wishing you peace and wholeness as you trust God for all things, today and always ...

~ ♥ Ruthie