Has God placed something in your heart for you to do? It could be correcting sinful behavior in your own life. It could be serving someone else. It could be speaking up in a situation where a voice with biblical principles needs to be heard. Whatever it is involves two aspects of trusting God. You must trust him as you step forward and do your part. And, you must trust him to do his part in the areas over which you have no control. Those two aspects of trusting God are necessary to act on what God has placed in your heart to do. The book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament provides a beautiful illustration of this for us.
The seed is planted in Nehemiah’s heart
In Nehemiah 1:2-3, those who had visited Judah and Jerusalem came back with not-so-good news. The city of Jerusalem was in shambles. The people had been back in their land for almost 100 years and had rebuilt the temple. But, they had not bothered to fix up the area around it. Nehemiah was torn up inside about this. God’s name was associated with Jerusalem. He had placed his presence in the temple there. Having God’s name associated with a city that was disgraceful was not good. So, Nehemiah prayed about this for 4 months.
After that time of prayer, God placed into Nehemiah’s heart the desire to go and repair the walls and gates of Jerusalem. Just before he approached the king of Persia about this, Nehemiah prayed (Nehemiah 1:11). He asked for God to be with him as he did his part (speak to the king), and he asked for God to do God’s part in directing the heart and mind of the king. Those are the two aspects of trusting God.
Learning to live dependently on our God is not a matter of doing whatever you ethically and honorably can while trusting the rest to God. No. When God places something in your heart to do, especially when it involves someone else and situations over which you have no control, you must trust God to lead you in what you choose to do. You want to do your part his way, not your own way or the world’s way.
The time has come to act
When Nehemiah was asked by the king what he wanted to do, Nehemiah sent up a quick prayer before he answered (Nehemiah 2:4). God took care of his part by directing the king’s heart and mind to be favorable to Nehemiah’s requests. Nehemiah asked for letters to all the authorities for safe travel and materials needed to do the job. That was Nehemiah’s part to make the official requests. God worked through the authorities to grant Nehemiah’s requests and give him authority to do the work in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:7-9). The two aspects of trusting God.
Opposition tested Nehemiah’s trust
Completely trusting God and doing things God’s way didn’t stop the opposition. Three local governors in the area of Israel balked (Nehemiah 2:10, 19). They didn’t like the idea and planned to do everything they could to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem. That didn’t discourage Nehemiah from doing what God had placed in his heart to do. He prayed and led the people in prayer for God to do his part in giving them protection. But, they also did their part by posting guards day and night (Nehemiah 4:9) and carrying weapons with them while they worked (Nehemiah 4:16-18). Nehemiah knew without a doubt that God had given him the vision to rebuild and that God’s gracious hand was upon him with every step. But, God didn’t make it easy for them to do what he called them to do.
Learning to live dependently on our God does not guarantee that he will stop the opposition against you. Yes, he places that desire in your heart. He wants you to be obedient in carrying it out. But, he doesn’t necessarily make it easy. Why is that? After all, you could get the task or service done more quickly without the delays and derision. Why doesn’t God stop the opposition? Paul learned this lesson from God and wrote about it in 2 Corinthians 1:9.
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
This happened (suffering, hardship, opposition) so we will learn to rely on God more than on ourselves. Not to sit back and do nothing while waiting for God to do everything. Although, sometimes we need to pray and wait for the right moment to act as Nehemiah did. That is still trusting him while we are doing our part (waiting and praying), knowing that he is working on his part (whatever that situation requires). The two aspects of trusting God.
The two aspects of trusting God
What has God placed on your heart to do for others?
- Is it raising children to know and love him and choose to follow him as adults? Trust him while you follow godly child-rearing principles and actions while trusting him to work in the hearts of your children.
- Is it managing people or a project at work? (Nehemiah’s experience was a workplace task with the king as the CEO.) Trust God to lead you to act with honesty and integrity among your fellow employees and managers while trusting him to work in the hearts of those around you.
- Is it serving in a local ministry with teens or special needs or homeless people? Whatever it is, trust God to lead you to speak and act with compassion while trusting him to work to meet the needs of those you are serving.
Trust God while you do your part his way and trust him to do his part alongside what you are doing. Those are the two aspects of trusting God.
Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study of Old Testament Men (read online)
Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study of Old Testament Men (download pdf)
The God-Dependent Woman Bible Study (read online)
The God-Dependent Woman Bible Study (download pdf)