We hear a lot about the necessity of “trusting” in God, especially when we’re faced with crippling fear or anxiety. But what does it mean in practical terms to “trust” God?
I’ll tell you.
It means going about your daily work without thinking about the problem you have left in God’s hands.
If you have a job, you should keep on working. If there are meetings to attend, attend them. If there’s a certain exercise routine you’re supposed to follow, follow it.
In other words, the way you show God that you trust Him is by not letting your problems consume all your thoughts and emotions and activities. Essentially, you show your trust in God by forcing yourself not to think about your problems, but instead, letting Him think about them!
A second point about trusting God has to do with timing.
Christ said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day” (Matt. 6:34).
What that means is that God gives you divine assistance, or “grace,” only for the present day. He doesn’t give you grace for tomorrow, or for next week or for next month. Just for this one twenty-four-hour period.
That’s why the fear of some future suffering is always greater than the suffering itself. When you think about painful events that might take place tomorrow, you are not yet being given the grace God intends to give you at the moment you’ll be experiencing those events tomorrow.
Practically speaking, this means that whenever you undergo any great anxiety, one of the most important things you must do is shorten your time frame. You need to focus exclusively on the one day that you’re presently living.
You can’t keep repeating all the various nightmare scenarios in your head. You can’t think about the financial ruin you might experience next week, or the cancer that might possibly spread next month, or the person you love dying next year.
All that worrying about future disasters is useless. More importantly, it’s an obstacle to receiving divine help from God.
Yes, an obstacle. God wants you to trust Him. And thinking about all those terrible things that aren’t even necessarily going to happen isn’t a sign of trust. Therefore, your goal is not to think about the coming days and weeks and months.
Your goal is to get through the day.
You must get through the day and make it to nighttime. And when you finally go to bed, sleep is your reward. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep. Sleep is powerful. Sleep is your friend.
The Bible says that God pours out His blessings on those He loves when they slumber (Ps. 127:2); that’s because they are trusting Him with their problems.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to buy an over-the-counter sleep aid or ask your doctor to prescribe something stronger. Listen, it’s neither silly nor cowardly to knock yourself out if you have to!
When going through great turmoil, do whatever is necessary at night to sleep soundly. Your bedroom should be a safe haven for you, not a torture chamber of horrors. Once you’re there — once you’ve made it through the day, you have to be able to put your troubles aside.
You have to be able to place whatever “cross” God has given you in the corner, against the wall; then climb into bed, give all your anxiety to God, go to sleep, and let Him work on your problems for the next eight hours — as well as let your body heal itself and build up your energy reserves so you can do all you need to do the following day.
Don’t worry about your cross — it’ll still be there when you get up.
Finally, when you’re going through tough problems, you must remember the words of Saint Paul, who said, “Dismiss all anxiety from your mind” (Phil. 4:6).
That wasn’t a suggestion of his. It was a command from God. And God would not command us to do something unless He also gave us the power to follow that command.
Think of a judge in a courtroom. When he slams the gavel down in front of him, it means no more questions, no more witnesses, no more cross-examinations, case dismissed!
That’s exactly what you have to do when you find that your mind keeps coming back and circling around the same fearful thoughts. You must bang the gavel down and say, “Enough, stop, case dismissed!
Follow these simple points, and when the day of suffering comes to you— as it does to all of us— you’ll have the power to truly abandon yourself to God’s holy will.
This article is an excerpt from Anthony DeStafano's book, "30 Days to Your New Life: A Guide to Transforming Yourself from Head to Soul."