Christian Life & Discipleship

How Much do I Trust God?

Invitation to trust

I never used to think I struggled to trust people, and I definitely never thought I struggled to trust God.

But in one day, one camp shattered that notion.

That camp was called “NIKO”. “NIKO” is a Greek word that means “to conquer, to overcome, to get the victory.” This five-day wilderness camp champions young people in their leadership, encouraging them to take initiative, learn to trust God and their team, and overcome various challenges. Several of my siblings and friends had participated in this camp, and it changed their lives in a profound way. Eager for an adventure in the outdoors, I signed up… completely unaware of what awaited me.

From the onset of the camp, the staff warned us, “We might allow some things to happen that you don’t understand at the time. But it’s not because we’re trying to tease you or make your life miserable. Everything we do, and everything we allow to happen, has a purpose. We want to challenge you to help you overcome previous limits you may have put on yourselves. And we promise we will not allow it to go too far.”

We want to challenge you… to help you grow.

They stood as they made that commitment to us. Then they asked us, “If you commit to trust God and us during this camp and to not give up, please step across this line.”

One by one, my teammates and I crossed the line, little knowing how soon our commitment would be tested.

 

Trust tested

Immediately, I found myself confronted with the unknown. As part of the challenge of the camp, our staff only gave us information on a need-to-know basis. This resulted in us living moment-by-moment, never sure what the next activity would bring.

Our staff also never gave us the answers to challenges. Rather, they told us what we needed to know, and then let us work it out for ourselves. Afterwards, we processed the results, assessing what we’d learned and whether or not our methods worked.

Immediately, my deep fear of failure came screaming to the surface. I didn’t want to wait until the end to know whether or not I made the right choice! No, I wanted the answers ahead of time, so I could make all the right decisions and never get it wrong. But whenever I tried to draw more details out of them, the staff simply said, “We’ve given you everything you need.”

Accusing thoughts entered my mind. They’re setting us up for failure!  I can’t trust them.

Several times, it seemed my fears proved true. Sometimes we did make choices that landed us in a mess. Frustration rose within me. Why had our staff let us make those choices when they could have easily told us the right answer and stopped us from going the wrong way… and they knew it! True, they stopped us if we were about to take a path that they knew led to danger. But why let us wander in the first place?  Why waste time?

 

 

Trust proven

As the camp went on, however, I began to realise that our staff did give us everything we needed for each challenge. But we didn’t always use it the right way. Those were the times we ended up in a mess. And that was not the staffs’ fault; it was ours.  

No matter what… they never left us.

Yet no matter what we did, no matter where we went, they never left us. Even when we made mistakes, even when we misused the information they’d given, they stayed with us. Up hills, down ravines, through thickets of branches that scratched us, even when we retraced our steps multiples times, they walked with us all the way. Not one word of complaint left their mouths, not even a sigh of frustration or impatience.

Suddenly, I began to see stunning parallels between our camp staff and God. How many times in my life had I asked for a challenge – like this camp – because I wanted to grow? But when He allowed certain situations to happen that didn’t make sense to me at the time, I accused Him of causing me pain. Only later did I look back and see how God was, in reality, trying to help me grow.

God was, in reality, trying to help me grow.

And how many times had He given me everything I needed in life to make the right decisions… yet I’d insisted it wasn’t enough? I wanted more proof, more guarantees. So I’d wait around for the ironclad guarantee of success – a guarantee that would never come, at least not the way I wanted it.

Or… I misused what He had given me and did what I wanted to do instead. When that happened, I always ended up in a mess. And then I’d blame God: “Why didn’t You tell me?” But He already had.  He’d given me everything I needed. But I hadn’t asked Him what to do with it.

The weight of that realisation hit me hard. How many times in my life had I blamed God for something that wasn’t His fault?

 

Trustworthy God

I began to see how, throughout my life, God had never left me. Like our NIKO staff, who stayed with us through hills and valleys, through thickets of branches and fields of grass, He’d stayed with me no matter what. Suddenly, I remembered His promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) “And surely I am with you always, even to the very end…” (Matthew 28:20) Even when I misused what He gave me, He still stayed with me, ready to help me get back on the right track if only I’d ask.

He will work every situation out for good if I’m willing to work with Him through it.

The experiences on that camp left me marvelling at how much I really could trust God. He’s not “out to get me”. Rather, everything He does has a purpose – to help me grow. And He will work every situation out for good if I’m willing to work with Him through it. So I really can trust Him, no matter what!