A Guest Blog by Niki Hardy
If you knew me, you’d probably think that by now that I’d be a dab hand at trusting God.
But believe me—I’m not.
I still find it as difficult as squeezing into my tumble-dried skinny jeans.
The last fifteen years have taken me through deep pain and loss.
And yet whenever I’ve stepped out and trusted God, I’ve seen Him show up in the most extraordinary ways, both big and small.
So in theory, I should be a professional God-Truster by now.
Yet, I’m not.
For some reason, every time I need to trust God, it’s as if it’s the very first time and it’s an almighty struggle yet, again.
Wouldn’t it be nice if trusting in the Lord with all our heart and not leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) was straight forward, no matter what life threw at us?
The Struggle to Trust
When my mum was told her cancer had spread to her brain and there’d be no Christmas dinner for her that year (yes, those were the words her oncologist used mid-way through October!)—I discovered that when I trusted God in the pain of loss, He brought the comfort I longed for.
When my sister died of the same disease at just 43 and I shouted my anger and frustration into the wind as I ran the rugged cliff paths near her house on England’s south coast—I discovered that when I trusted God, I felt heard and understood, even if He didn’t magic her cancer or my grief away.
He had proved His trustworthiness.
So why did I struggle to trust Him when I was diagnosed just six weeks after my sister’s funeral?
I wanted to trust. I needed to.I knew trusting Him would help me find the peace, comfort and strength I was desperate for, but at the same time, it was just so ridiculously hard.
I knew it would help me find the peace, comfort and strength I was desperate for—but at the same time, it was just so ridiculously hard.
On the one hand I knew I could trust Him with it all; my treatment, my family, and whether I’d have Christmas dinner that year or not.
Yet on the other hand, to trust Him meant to let go, and I wasn’t sure I could do that. Letting go seemed terrifying.
I trusted. But I didn’t.
Maybe you’ve hit that place too.
Perhaps things have come to a head in your marriage, your job, your finances or with your teenager’s behavior.
You know you need to trust God and you do, (kind of!), but it’s just plain hard.
Or maybe you’ve been struggling for a while with an aging parent, the breakup of a relationship you thought might be “the one,” or you’ve been trying to conceive but you still haven’t felt the warmth of a baby in your arms.
Every fiber of your being wants to trust God, but you find yourself clinging to what you can see and touch rather than a God you can’t.
I get it.
To Trust or Not to Trust
With the news that my tumor was either cancer or lymphoma it felt like the heat seeking missile of death had locked in on my rear end (yes, my cancer was rectal cancer) and I therefore had a choice. To trust or not to trust.
To trust or not to trust, isn’t that always the question?
I was willing but I didn’t know where to start.
I wanted to trust but couldn’t muster enough strength to get much further than the starting line—let alone burst through the finishing tape.
Unfortunately trusting God doesn’t just happen the day we meet Jesus; it’s a choice we make daily as we meet the world head on.Trusting God does not just happen the day we meet Jesus, rather it is a choice we make daily as we meet the world head on.
Over time, I discovered that I simply needed to be willing to make that choice.
Willingness is hope, trust and faith all bundled into a tentative yes—and it’s where I began.
It’s where you can start too.
Thankfully, when we trust God it’s not about us and what we can do, but about Him and what He can do.
It’s about refusing to hold on and bravely choosing to let go.
In those moments when life goes into a downward facing spiral, we need to intentionally choose to trust even when we don’t feel like it.
These five steps have helped me trust God even when all I had was a small smidge of willingness.
I pray they help you.
5 Steps to Trusting God (When You Don’t Feel Like It)
#1. CHECK God’s Credentials
Before we trust anyone, whether it be a doctor or a car mechanic, we check out their references and find out what our friends say about them, right?
We can do the same with God.
What does the Bible say about Him? Does He seem trustworthy in the stories we read?
What do our friends who trust Him have to say? Why do they trust Him?
“Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.” Psalm 119:90 (ESV)
Action Step: Check out God’s credentials by reading the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 – 47, asking yourself how God proved himself trustworthy to Joseph.We can trust God, even when we do not feel like it. He wants to help us trust Him!
#2. ASK for His Help
God wants to help us trust Him.
He’s delighted to help us strengthen and build our trust muscles when we ask for His help.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17 (ESV)
Action Step: Take a moment to pray a short prayer asking God to help you trust. A simple “I trust, help my lack of trust” is all you need.
#3. CHOOSE to Hold On
Trust is a verb, an action only we can choose to take. No one can do it for us and it’s a choice we have to make even when we don’t feel like it.
We don’t need our emotions’ permission to hold on and trust God.
We just have to do it.
Which of these promises do you need to hear today to help you choose to hold on to God?
His presence forever. (Deut. 31:8)
His peace (Phil. 4:7)
His comfort (Isa. 49:13)
His provision (2 Cor. 9:8, Phil. 4:19)
His strength (Isa. 41:10)
His forgiveness (1John 1:9)
He will fight for you (Exod. 14:14)
Action Step: We don’t need the permission of our emotions to hold on and trust God. We just need to do it.We do not need the permission of our emotions to hold on and trust God. We just need to do it.
#4. LET GO
Whether we know it or not, we all trust in something every minute of every day.
What are you trusting? Maybe you’re trusting yourself, the doctors, or your treatment.
And yet to fully trust God we must let go of these other things and grasp hold of God with both hands.
We can’t hedge our bets and put our trust in both.
Trust that’s not fully given isn’t real trust—it’s simply wishful thinking in disguise.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” –Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Action Step: What do you need to let go of in order to fully grab hold of God? Fear, worry, control, unforgiveness or grief? Something else? Imagine laying it down and picking up the promises of God instead.
#5. KEEP a Record
Keep a record of how you see God’s faithfulness in your life.
When we begin to trust God, it builds our confidence in Him for the future, raises our expectations of what He can and will do, and sets us up to trust Him more next time.
It’s like paying into a trust bank.
As we trust God in the midst of whatever life’s thrown at us we discover that with God, life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” – Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)
Action Step: Take five minutes and write a list of some of the ways you’ve seen God show up in your hardest times and your sweetest moments.
Are you willing to be willing? Willing to let go of all you’ve been clinging to and hold onto the One who will never let you go?
– Niki Hardy
It’s true, no one gets to skip the tough stuff in life and all too often we’re left surviving a life we never planned or imagined. Whether that’s you personally or someone dear to you, Niki Hardy’s book, Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart offers empathy, hope and encouragement that life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full, then gives you the practical tools to go live it. If you’ve ever needed a friend to walk you through a hard season or a gift for someone who’s struggling through life, Breathe Again is the book for you.
“If you are struggling with what your life looks like right now, this book offers real help and tangible hope. Niki writes with empathy, humor, and gut-level honesty. You’ll find a friend within these pages.” – Sheila Walsh, co-host of Life Today and author of It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Niki is a Brit in the USA, a cancer survivor, pastor’s wife, tea drinker and teller of really bad jokes.
As a speaker and the author of Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart (Revell Aug, 2019) she’s all about meeting us when life’s not fair and embracing the reality that with God, life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full.
You can find more of Niki and her resources on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and on her website NikiHardy.com.