Finding Strength in Quietness and Trust
I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and he will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world.
He is able to do this because he is almighty God,
He desires to do this because he is a faithful father.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 26)
This lesson from the Heidelberg Catechism is perhaps one of the most difficult to learn. Although God’s promise to supply all our needs and turn even adversity to our good is clear in his word, it is sometimes excruciatingly difficult to relinquish control of our welfare to God. For my own part, I too often succumb to the thinking that no one can take care of me better than I can. Then I put myself to work building a fortress of self-sufficiency. But our fortresses are like castles of sand. They may be ornate and have tall, thick walls, and complex fortifications, but when the rains come and the tide rises, we find that they are easily eroded and washed away.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God pleaded with the nation of Israel to put aside their self-sufficiency and put their trust in him. “In returning and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” Isa. 30:15). To our self-sufficient mentality, it seems like a contradiction in terms to say that our strength lies in quietness and trust. The last thing we are inclined to do is to relinquish our will to be in control. God knows what we too often learn the hard way: that our strength is simply not sufficient. Our only true hope is in learning to trust him so much that we don’t doubt he will provide whatever we need. The problem with being our own strength and trying to supply our own needs is that it makes us earthbound, turning our focus away from the eternal, so that we are consumed by “the worries and cares of this world” (Mark 4:19). This is what Jesus was getting at when he assured us in the Sermon on the Mount that our Father in heaven knows exactly what we need and he will provide it. When we truly believe this, we are set free from an earthbound focus so that we can truly become seekers of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 6:25-33).
As I struggle to learn this lesson, I find that entrusting myself to God is not as easy as it may seem. I am inclined to take matters into my own hands, and it is an act of the will to relinquish them into his hands. Because it requires us to live against the tide of our fallen nature, the life of faith is often the harder road; but it is without a doubt the better road. There is no challenge that is too great for almighty God and, as the words from the catechism affirm, he is not only able to help us in our time of need, he is also willing. As our loving father, his activity in our lives is always for our good. In this uncertain world, I can’t think of anything more secure in which to invest my trust—certainly not myself! So I will continue to struggle with my self-sufficiency and God’s faithfulness, striving to more fully understand in my heart what I already know in my head—that my true strength is in trusting him completely, for his strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Pastor Jon EnrightJune 1, 2023