Trusting God always implies a certain loss of control. It recognizes that our own ability, wisdom, and skill isn’t enough. This is especially true when we sense God leading us to be brave… to take a step of faith, to do something that matters, to make the world a better place. It’s meeting needs, solving problems, and adding beauty to the world when it would be easier to rest in the security of our comfortable routines.
In previous posts, I’ve defined what it means to trust God, and how to trust God in the unexpected, but what about trusting God when He asks you to be brave? What about trusting God when he prompts you to start a new business, love the unloveable, serve a needy part of our world, go back to school, or launch a new church? These beautiful acts improve the world, but they also take courage.
Sometimes God asks you to be brave and trust Him when it just doesn’t make much sense. I’ve discovered that’s how God often works. He leads us on an adventure that brings us to the end of ourselves. He calls us to be brave and trust him, even when…
1. It Sounds Irrational
In the book of Acts, God tells a man named Ananias to go to “Straight Street, to the house of Judas” to pray for Saul (Acts 9:10-12). Ananias protests the idea, reminding God that Saul has been been persecuting Christians (Acts 9:13-14).
Isn’t that how we typically respond? When God’s plan sounds irrational, we remind Him of what’s rational. Behind our rationalism is nothing more than an attempt to control God.
Here’s how God responds to Ananias.
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16, NLT)
God didn’t say, “Good point Ananias. I hadn’t thought about that.” He essentially gave Ananias a one word response: “Go!” When it sounds irrational to trust God and be brave, God calls us to let go. It’s in those moments of irrational faith that God says, “Let me be God. Let me do my job. Stop trying to control the outcome.” What you gain just might be greater than what you’ll lose? You won’t know unless you trust.
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2. It Feels Inconvenient
In the Old Testament book of Daniel, King Darius issued a law requiring everyone to pray to him for 30 days, or face the consequence of the lion’s den. Imagine what Daniel thought? “It’s only 30 days. I’ll just pray under my breath for the next month, and then I’ll return to my normal routine of praying three times a day.”We don’t know what Daniel thought, be we do know what he did.
“But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” (Daniel 6:10, NLT)
Daniel chose to be brave and trust God with the outcome. The lesson is clear: Convenience should never dictate obedience.
Bravery is rarely convenient. The price tag is usually higher than we’re comfortable paying. But does trust in God really exist in any other environment? It’s in the seasons that require irrational faith, and the moments that demand inconvenient obedience, that we discover how much we really do or don’t trust God.
Author and pastor Mark Batterson observed,
“Most of our emotional problems are symptoms of one deep-rooted spiritual problem: lack of trust in the sovereign God. It’s our lack of trust in Him that results in high levels of past-tense guilt, present-tense stress, and future-tense anxiety.” (Soulprint, p. 37)
Daniel’s obedience led him to the lion’s den, but God didn’t abandon him. When the king discovered Daniel was unharmed, verse 23 paints a beautiful picture:
The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.” (Daniel 6:23, NLT)
Daniel’s situation demanded bravery. Bravery demanded trust. And trust led to his deliverance.
3. It Looks Unfamiliar
When God leads you into the unfamiliar, it requires faith. It’s like the African Impala. Even though it can jump ten feet high and thirty feet long, a three-foot high wall can contain the Impala. Why? Because the Impala won’t jump if it’s unable to see where it will land.
Sounds a lot like us, doesn’t it? We only like to jump when we know we’ll land safely. Our risk-averse near sightedness keeps us from trusting God with a future He sees in 20/20.
In Genesis 11, Terah took his son Abram (who we know as Abraham), and Abraham’s wife Sarai (who we know as Sarah), and settled in Heran. After he died, God told Abram:
“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3, NLT)
God was leading Abram into the unknown. He called Abram to exchange the familiar for the unfamiliar. That takes courage. Courage always requires trust when you can’t see your next step.
An Irrational, Inconvenient, and Unfamiliar Tuesday
On January 17, 2012, I wrote a letter to my wife Karen. It was a rather lengthy letter, but it changed the trajectory of our lives.
For years we had talked about starting a church, but on that Tuesday, I documented the journey God had taken us on. I described:
- The day in 2011 when God birthed a very clear vision in my heart for a new church.
- The conversations with friends that were transformative and even prophetic.
- The passages of Scripture that God used to confirm his calling.
- The conversation that Karen and I had just three days earlier, while having lunch at a pizza restaurant in Fort Worth, where we solidified our decision.
- My conversation with my pastor when I shared what God was leading us to do.
We were confidently uncertain that God was leading us to take this step. Confident in the decision, but uncertain about what lie ahead. We didn’t know what was on the other side of our “yes.” We only knew two things: We wanted to start a church; we wanted the church to be near downtown Fort Worth.
Here’s what we didn’t know:
- We didn’t know where the church would meet?
- We didn’t know if anybody beyond our family and a couple of friends would go with us?
- We didn’t know what it was going to cost us financially?
- We didn’t know if the church would succeed or if it would shut down after a couple of years.
That’s just the tip of the unknown icebergs. We can still remember somebody telling us, “Why would you leave a big church to go start a new church.” In their mind, it didn’t make sense that we would step out of a comfortable role into something so risky. Like Abraham, we felt like God was saying, “Go to a land that I will show you.”
It sounded irrational.
It felt inconvenient.
It looked unfamiliar.
But we KNEW God had called us. We had no option but to trust Him. Since that day, God has done more than we could have ever imagined. On the other side of bravery and trust, we discovered what we couldn’t see when we were surrounded by uncertainty. Thank God we jumped. Thank God we let go.
Bravery is emotionally expensive. It’s downright hard. The trust it requires goes against everything that feels natural. Even well meaning friends and family will discourage you, insisting you be more reasonable. But here’s the truth I want you to hang onto when God asks you to be brave:
Bravery requires trust, and trust is saying yes to God without knowing the end of the story.
You may not know the end of the story, but God’s wisdom supersedes yours. He knows what He’s asking you to do. He can be trusted. Always!