Trust and Obey?Posted September 19th, 2011
by Alexis Jennings
I am such a liar. I’ve been one for quite some time. It’s the only way I can sit here and look into my 2-year-old’s eyes and tell her that if we pray to God and ask Him to send His angels to protect us, He will.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 are a perfect example of my dilemma. There are many God-fearing, Christian people in this country. So why did God allow such a horrific event to take place on American soil? I’m sure there were Christians on the planes and in the World Trade Center towers, yet God didn’t protect them.
The problem is, you can’t say that to your children if you want to teach them to believe in God. So you lie, right? I mean, I tell my daughter the same things my mother told me when I was a child.
The Bible does offer some reason to think that way:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
But I have trouble believing it. I want to with all of my heart, but I just can’t sometimes. I remember asking my aunt on the phone, “How can you trust that God will protect you from something, when it has already happened once, and He didn’t?”
I remember giving her the analogy of a car wreck, but that wasn’t what I was afraid of at all. It was something far worse. Rape. I asked the question because I was afraid of one of the men guarding our compound at the orphanage in El Salvador where I had signed up to be a missionary. In one of the most dangerous countries in Central America, I found myself face-to-face with a dangerous man who had a gun. I was terrified. And I didn’t believe that God would protect me because it had happened before.
While I was doing God’s work selling Christian books in Canada, I was raped by a fellow “believer.” The aftermath was a long struggle with insecurity, self-worth, and sound judgment regarding members of the opposite sex.
Many people are afraid of a much bigger terror than I experienced. The attacks on 9/11 has left U.S. citizens on high alert—distrusting of many—for ten years now. We have changed our national security policies and given away many rights in the attempt to prevent such an attack from happening again. But we can’t control everything. What security do we have in a world where bad things happen no matter what we do? How can we trust God to keep us safe?
“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).
After the rape incident, I felt very alone. I did not have a true ally in my battle to overcome what had happened to me. After 9/11, the United States had trouble getting some allies to join its cause.
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:10).
A Better Place
It took many years before I was strong enough to shake off the chains with which sexual assault had bound me. But when I did finally overcome, I was stronger—much stronger—than I had ever been. God may not have protected me from the disaster, but He brought me through it to a better place. Yes, I suffered, but with Him as a guide I also became stronger.
The same is true with our country. At first, we seemed to be shaken by the massacre, almost running scared. But as we rallied together and prayed for one another, our patriotism seemed to surge. Many people also re-established their relationship with church after the attacks.
“I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit” (Psalm 30:1-3).
Even as I grew stronger, it was still difficult to trust that God would protect me. There were just too many potential predators out there.
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: For thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:10).
God called King David a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Even so, David had his share of faults, which led to a greater share of troubles. But even though David went through many tragedies, he still turned his heart back to the Lord, and God protected him.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:1, 2).
What does it mean to “dwell”? According to Dictionary.com it means: “To live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.” I had not been dwelling in the Lord. My relationship with God was shaky at best. In spite of this, God protected my heart. He never let me be consumed entirely. Although I went through what seemed like death, God used that situation to make me stronger.
As Americans, we have often expected God to protect us though we often do not embrace Him in our daily lives. In the last couple centuries we have slowly become a country that doesn’t include God in very many decisions at all. But as soon as a disaster strikes, we are quick either to run to God for help, or blame Him for the assault.
“And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me” (Psalm 27:6a).
I am still learning to trust God. And my faith is growing stronger with every situation God brings me through. I don’t always understand why we go through hard times but I do know that when bad things happen, God can heal us and help us to come out stronger than we started.
Terrorists may strike our country again but if we, as a nation, turn our hearts to God and put our trust in Him, no matter the circumstance, He will deliver us from those who want to hurt us.
“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalm 91:10, 11).
I want to set the example for my daughter to trust in the Lord no matter how hard things get. God made me a survivor, stronger than before. And I know He can do the same for anyone who will put their trust in Him. I can tell my daughter to trust God—and not feel like a liar.