Guest Author - Dountonia S. Slack
Those who know my story are aware of the numerous times I have been in and out of court over the past four years. Attempts were made to drain me financially, emotionally, socially, and spiritually for a variety of domestic relations issues including: modification of custody, child support reduction, the abuser accusing me of domestic abuse, permanent protection orders, and my final divorce decree ending up in the appellate court. At every turn, with or without an attorney, I learned the meaning of Psalm 27:1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?”
Through it all, I have learned that trusting God means putting my faith in action. Crying out in prayer and attending worship services is not enough to declare my trust in Him. However, it is stepping out into the unknown believing that God is in every situation; has a purpose for what I am going through; and, confident that His Word is true no matter what my present situation dictates. When I was little, I remember the old folks at church saying, “to know Him is to trust Him.” And, it did not make sense to me then, but it certainly does now.
J.I. Packer writes in Knowing God, “Godliness means responding to God’s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion.” Hence, it is through the study of His Word that one comes to know and trust Him and able to translate this knowledge and trust into a vibrant faith in the midst of life’s storms. Faith is not an emotional response that is devoid of specific content. On the contrary, the life we live is the result of what we know and of our God-empowered efforts to put what we have learned into practice.
Yet, it is important to note, that God always meets us where we are because He knows where He wants us to grow in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives. Therefore, one person’s trial may not appear to be as horrific to another. The intensity, duration, and magnitude of one’s storm may differ from Believer to Believer, but the impact of the tempest is designed to conform us into the image of Christ. Hence, comparing trials is fruitless; however, the blessing of our trials is supposed to lead us to obedience, increased faith, and the ability to identify with and bless others just as Jesus did.
James 1:2-3 is a truth that resonates in my spirit more profoundly now that I have gone through what seems to be a never ending tornado: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Now, I am thankful for the lessons I have learned through trials which have brought me closer to Christ and taught me to trust Him in a more dynamic way. As a result, He has shown me the call He has placed on my life: to help others to see Christ in every situation life brings.
There will be times in our lives when it seems like there is no where to turn – the pressure mounts against us; friends and family turn away from us; resources are scarce; and, fear invades us to the point of paralysis. This is the result of focusing on the problem. But, as Gary Sudds of Calvary Evangelical Church reminds us, “Every day, I make the choice between trusting God or trusting self. Unless I deliberately decide to put my trust in God and put that decision into application, I will always fall back on trusting self. This is my nature unless I deliberately focus on God.” Can you say, “Lord, I will trust you” even when you are feeling around in the dark and are uncertain of the next step? My prayer is that the answer is always a joyful “Yes!”