Do you want to trust in someone but fear being put to shame? Do you avoid putting yourself out there for all to see because you’re worried you’ll be embarrassed? Do you dread others finding out your secret hopes and dreams since you’re afraid of what they’ll think if none of them come to pass? If so, you’re not alone. Probably everyone in this world has undergone these same feelings; these same emotions. When we feel like we need to step out and take a risk, worry and anxiety are right there beside us trying to stop us from moving forward. They are right there to tell us all kinds of lies that would stop us and cause us to doubt what we really should be doing … if we listen. Problem is, those voices in our head tend to be a lot louder than the whispers of assurance we would hear if only we would choose to listen to them instead. Consider this “whisper” found in Psalm 22:4-5 (NIV) : “In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame.” The truth is, God is faithful. God is loving and kind. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When we look at how God interacted with the people in the Bible, with the people we know today, and even with our own personal relationship history with Him we can see proof for ourselves that God’s character has always been consistently trustworthy. No, we (and others) may not have always gotten what we wanted the way (and timing) we wanted it but that’s because God always knows, wants, and does what is ultimately best for us (and others). His ways are always higher and greater than anything we could ever come up with on our own. When we don’t get what we want when we want it (right that minute) it’s usually because God wants something even better for us … something that we would receive if only we would choose to be patient and would choose to trust in Him and His ways (and in His timing) believing that we will not be put to shame as His Word declares. So, today, the timeless truth to remember is that we need to intently listen to the “whispers” of God’s Word and God’s Spirit that speaks to our soul (and choose to ignore all the loudly spoken lies). We need to trust and believe His voice that would never lead us astray. We need to trust His voice that would only lead us into the good plans and purposes that He has for us. As we follow His leading we can be assured that when we are faithful to obey, He is faithful to bless (not shame us).
When you were a kid, did you ever play the game tug of war? Perhaps you were on the end that pulled that rope across to the winning side and you enjoyed the excitement of having won a victory! Or perhaps you were on the other side … the side that suffered the agony of defeat … only to be taunted by your peers and having to deal with it until the time finally came when you could be the one to overcome and win the war. In any case, you can probably relate to how it feels to be tugged in two different directions. First one side gets pulled one way, then the other until finally one side prevails. In the spiritual realm we (perhaps unknowingly) go through the same thing in the battle that we go through in our minds. We may know God wants us to “move out” in one direction, but our flesh is resistant and wants to go in the other direction. That tug of war that goes on in our minds can be just as brutal as any real-life tug of war on the playing field. The question is, who will win? Isaiah 43:16 (NIV) tells us, “This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Here, scripture is talking about something the Lord did for his people in the past … a time they could look back on and see how faithful he had been to bring them through their trials and challenges … however, it encourages them not to (just) dwell on that but, instead, to look forward – to look ahead to what God was getting ready for them to experience next. God’s people (including us today) need to continually move forward into the plans and purposes he has for our lives. God doesn’t want us to live in yesterday’s victories, he wants us to experience new victories today as he leads and guides us in the choices and decisions we make today. Yes, it is good to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past and how he brought us through all the trials and challenges from the past … but the past is just that … the past. So, the timeless truth for today is to allow Jesus to “pull you” to his side in that tug of war in your mind. Allow him to win, and, in so doing you will be on the winning side … you will gain the victory … for it is only as we come into agreement with God’s plans and purposes for our lives do we truly win … it is only as we continually move forward that we win the battle that brings all honor and glory to the Lord. Remember, as others see how faithful God really is to bring us through (not only in the past, but in the present as well) will others be inspired to trust in him themselves … and that will be where the real victory is won!