Trusting in the Lord Doesn't Work
by Sam Williamson
A college friend of mine watched every
episode of Marcus Welby, M. D. (the
American TV series about a small town, family
doctor), and my friend wanted nothing more than to
be a like-minded, caring, personal physician.
My friend aggressively pursued his pre-med
studies, but he also countered the competitive
culture of his program by tutoring other pre-med
students. His life verse was, “Blessed is the
man who trusts in the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:7). He
said he didn’t want to grind through med-school
simply by his own hard work. He wanted to “trust
in the Lord.”
He and I graduated in 1979 (back around the time
the flush toilet was invented). He went off to
med-school and I went off to the mission field.
I saw him next three years later. He had dropped
out of med-school after a prolonged, unknown
illness (probably Chronic Fatigue Syndrome),
and he struggled to pay his mounting bills, not
to mention finding a job with any sense of
He had also rejected Christianity. He said, “I
trusted in the Lord, and look what it got me,
illness, exhaustion, humiliation, and grunt
work. Not exactly the Promised Land.”
What Do We Trust?
It’s easy to deceive ourselves by “trusting in
the Lord.” It is a command of God, but if we
“trust in the Lord” mainly to get us through
medical school, then our real trust rests in the
letters “M. D.” after our name. We simply use
God to get what we most trust in.
We say, “If I were a doctor, I’d be happy. And
I’d serve the Lord.” God becomes a means to get
what we really think will save us from a humdrum
life: the prestige of that title.
The heart of Christianity is salvation. But
modern Christianity has skinnied-down that
“salvation” to a bread and water diet of life
after death. Of course, it does mean that, but
it means much more. It’s an abundant life today
as well. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that
they know you the only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
My med-school-friend also skinnied-down his life
verse. He only remembered the first half. The
entire verse reads:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the
Biblical trust in the Lord rests not in using God
to get what we most want. It is fulfilled when we
discover that God alone is what we most need.
Knowing him is our salvation. Not titles,
missions, success, or financial peace.
whose trust IS the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:7)
More of an Invitation
God commands and encourages us to trust in him.
But maybe it’s more of an invitation.
I’ve been reading about Habakkuk’s pain in the
face of life-ending adversity. He asks God,
“Why?” While God never answers the prophet’s
question, God finally does speak to him. And
Habakkuk closes his short book with this:
Though the fig tree should not
blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
Habakkuk doesn’t get his M. D., but he gets God,
and his heart melts. He says he will be fine if
his fruit trees are barren, his barns empty, and
if he is sick, gets laid off, or loses his
the produce of the olive fail, and the fields
yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be
no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take
joy in the God of my salvation.
While I have not arrived at this place of beauty,
I sense God inviting me into such a knowledge of
him that “the things of earth will grow strangely
dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”
P. S. For many believers, our spiritual lives also
seem unsatisfying. We ask, “Is this all there is?”
God says that true, abundant, fulfilling life can
be found: It is simply in knowing Him (John 17:3).
That overflowing, rich life is found in hearing
Him. To nurture that conversational relationship
with your Father, I suggest you read Hearing
God in Conversation.
Williamson has published numerous articles
and has written two books.
He has a blog site, www.beliefsoftheheart.com,
and can be reached at
God in Conversation: How to Recognize
His Voice Everywhere, by Samuel C.
Williamson, published by Kregel
Publications, 2016, available from Amazon
photo from www.bigstock.com