Pastor's Corner: Trust and obey

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Outside of Scripture, hymns are probably the richest source of theological truth. Somehow words set to music are retained in memory more easily that words read or words heard.

Trust and Obey (1887, Lyrics - John H. Sammis, Tune - Daniel B. Towner) is one excellent example. The first line and refrain follow.

"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, / What a glory He sheds on our way!

While we do His good will, He abides with us still, / And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way / To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Few of us can honestly deny having trust issues. All of us have been lied-to, betrayed or conned. We are continually promised that thing will be better, but see around us stagnation and a worsening of society.

Scripture is filled with commands to "trust and obey." In every case the trust and obedience are to God, and in every case there is a cause and effect relationship. In direct contrast, the world encourages us to trust in ourselves, trust government, trust authority, trust companies providing products or services, etc. As the cynical come-back says, "how's that workin out for ya?'

God's promises are unique in that God cannot break a promise, and God will not break a promise. The only catch is that (as the hymnwriter points out) we must "walk with the Lord in the light of His word" and "do His good will." Time and time again we hear of people who did their own thing and were allowed to experience failure. Those who obeyed even when doing so seemed crazy were ultimately awarded with outcomes far better than anything they could have imagined or hoped for. The hardships of obeying paled in comparison to the calamities they would have experienced by putting their trust in someone or something else.

We foolish humans have yet to come to terms with the fact that God calls us to obedience because of His unfathomable love for us. God does not intend to make life harder, or to make existence miserable, but make it more abundant. The "thou shalt nots" are not followed by "enjoy life" but by "harm yourselves." Pastor James McDonald puts it this way. "Choose to sin...choose to suffer."

This month we celebrated Resurrection Sunday -- the ultimate evidence of God's love for humankind. The pivotal passage of Scripture reminds us that "God so loved the world that he gave His only Son", and that "whoever believes in him (Jesus) will have everlasting life."

I pray that we all strive to trust and obey so that we may experience God's love at its best.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~Romans 15:13