“O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.” -Psalm 59.17
There are many unknown factors in our lives – so much that can bring anxiety, frustration, weakness, sorrow, or depression. When we look at the circumstances of life – the continual disappointments, the foiled plans, the stupid mistakes, or personal and seemingly ever-present shortcomings – what is left for us to cry out but that which was spoken by another many hundreds of years ago: “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1.14).
“When life is tranquil, relationships intact, finances secure, and physical health flourishing…—then a sense of complacency, self-sufficiency, and personal command of one’s destiny deludes and lulls us.”¹
We crave and pursue the notion of security. You might see this in things like insurance: medical, auto, life, home, etc. These are not necessarily wrong or improper to posses. There is actually much wisdom in taking steps to secure and protect that which has been entrusted to you. However, our possession of these things may lead to, or more likely reveal, an undue trust in ourselves and our own ability to secure our safety. A teacher said often to his students, “Act as though it all depends on you, but believe that it all depends on God.” At first this saying seems to be a nice Christian anecdote. At second glance it may seem nonsensical; if I’m the one doing everything, then doesn’t it ultimately depend on me? However, it sets forth an essential way for the Christian to approach life. This mindset places the responsibility for our actions rightly on us while acknowledging the reality that ultimate results or arrangement of circumstances outside our control are God’s responsibility.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” – Psalm 56.3
When stopping to consider the unpredictable nature of life, we tend to gravitate toward two extremes. We may live with a heightened sense of dread and paranoia – always afraid of what other terrible thing may happen. If not this, then we devote ourselves to building layers of safety against these unknown events that may overtake us otherwise. In light of this, we must remember:
- These things offer safety and security that is partial and incomplete – it is not fully guaranteed.
- God has made certain promises to his people of which we can be completely certain
- Those who call on the name of Christ “walk by faith and not by sight”
¹Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God by Brennan Manning