When Trusting God Feels Hard – Encouragement for Today – January 5, 2024

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Dr. Joel MuddamalleJanuary 5, 2024

When Trusting God Feels Hard

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"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB)

Three little voices yelled in unison, "But, Dad, you promised!" Six brown eyes were staring at me, shocked and hurt that I had broken my promise.

The day before, I had promised to take my kids out on a "dad date" for pizza and ice cream. But that promised trip was no longer possible the next day. As I looked at my kids' faces, I saw something that hurt my heart - I had broken their trust.

Broken trust has a way of impacting relationships. It leaves us intimately aware of our vulnerability because we took the risk of relying on someone else. It often makes us question what we believed and if we should have ever trusted that person in the first place. And if we're the ones who broke trust, we may face the guilt of hurting someone’s feelings.

All of this has a direct impact on our relationship with God too. Often, our human-to-human relationships frame and inform our relationship with God. We think, Well, my trust has been broken before with people, so why wouldn't it be the same with God?

But, friend, it's not the same with God. God never breaks His promises because if He did, He would cease to be God.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). There are two Hebrew words here that we should pay close attention to.

The first word, translated as "trust," is batah. This Hebrew word has to do with a type of confidence that comes from reliance rooted in a feeling of security.

A second important word, translated as "heart," is leb, and for the ancient Israelites, this was the wellspring of volition. Today when we hear "heart," we may think of emotions and affection. But for the Israelites, the heart was where both affection and intellect resided.

So Proverbs 3:5-6 is about experiencing confidence that comes from reliance on or trust in God through our wholehearted (intellectual and emotional) commitment to Him. That confidence is rooted in the faithfulness of God.

God keeps His promises. He delivers on what He says He will do.

If you've ever wondered if God follows through on His promises, a quick point of reference is that there are close to 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. When we trace these prophecies to the New Testament, we find that all of them were fulfilled. God is a Promise-Keeper.

God works and acts based on His will, not ours. The next phrase of Proverbs 3:5 warns us not to lean on our own understanding, which is limited and finite, imperfect and flawed. But God's wisdom is unlimited and infinite, perfect and flawless.

Friends, this is good news! It means we can truly experience safety and security through a reliant trust in God.

God, You are trustworthy and true in all Your ways. When things feel shaky and uncertain, I will choose to rely on You. When I'm tempted to rely on my own limited understanding, I will instead trust in Your infinite and perfect wisdom. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


As we start a new year, we want to give you resources to help you stay in God's Word. That's why we're so excited to invite you to join our first study of 2024 ... Keep Holding On: 30 Promises From God You Can Cling to Right Now. Join us for six weeks as we look at God’s faithfulness across hundreds of years, in different places and with different people, so we can deepen our understanding of His character. Click here to get your study guide, and join us on January 8 in the free First 5 mobile app!


Stay connected with Joel Muddamalle through Instagram and Facebook! You can also sign up for "bite-sized theology" on Joel's website, where you'll receive a monthly newsletter you can read within five minutes.


Psalm 19:7, "The instruction of the LORD is perfect, renewing one's life; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise" (CSB).

What are things in your life that lead you to question the trustworthy nature of God?

How does an awareness of God's faithfulness and character help you maintain your trust in Him? Share with us in the comments!

© 2024 by Dr. Joel Muddamalle. All rights reserved.

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