I’ll start today’s post with the current weather in Portland: 31 degrees, roads covered with 1+ inches of snow and a similar quantity of ice. Over 200 schools are closed in our area as well as government offices and many businesses. Roy is home with me today. I’m sitting in my nice warm house in front of the fire with my laptop, a cup of coffee, and my sweet li’l Zeke. I’m warm, dry, and happily working.
Not so, however, for countless others who are forced to brave the terrible weather conditions and slip-slide their way to work on icy roads. While feeling a little guilty about sitting in my cozy recliner this morning, I opened my Jesus Calling devotional and read:
“I want you to learn a new habit. Try saying, ‘I trust You, Jesus,’ in response to whatever happens to you.” (January 4th)
I immediately thought of those poor guys working to clear the icy roads and hoped they had read this same devotional…and then wondered, Will I be able to say, “I trust You, Jesus,” when I have to do something I don’t like or that feels unfair?
Can Trust Be a Habit?
Making a new habit of the phrase, “I trust You, Jesus,” is a fabulous way to remind me of God’s continuous presence. However, as the devotional goes on to point out, repeating a phrase does little to help the circumstance unless we actually know and believe the God we’re trusting.
It’s not the words that are some magical mantra. It’s God’s character, His power, His sovereignty, and His love that enables us to say, “I trust You, Jesus,” with full confidence no matter what we face.
When Habits Take a Hike
I do pretty well with trusting Him when my daily habits remain is intact: wake up, breakfast, coffee, quiet time, computer work at home…Roy gets home from work, watch a little TV, bedtime.
I think of Jesus a lot during my day. I talk with Him as I write, meditate on Scriptures as I read and study them, pray as I see requests pop-up on my calendar and on Facebook.
But when my routine is interrupted for any reason—good or bad—I struggle to maintain my awareness of His presence. Whether it’s a simple snow storm like today or a difficult meeting, I sometimes forget to remain in God’s presence—though He never leaves my side.
The Down-Side of Habitual Trust
As I wrote the story of Miriam, I was face-to-face with a heroine who I imagined lived in a constant awareness of God’s presence. Scripture gives the indication that Miriam was likely God’s only mouthpiece to the Israelites after Joseph’s death—a span of nearly 300 years. She was eighty-six years old, so she’d known El Shaddai a long time, seen good times and bad. No doubt, He was her constant Companion.
When I pondered Miriam’s lifestyle—that of a Hebrew slave—I imagined she would have little freedom to make her own choices. Much of her life would have been lived out in mindless obedience to slave masters from sunrise to sunset, creating deep grooves of daily routines.
Might her relationship with God have fallen into the same unremarkable tedium? Did her familiarity with God make His power seem less impressive? After all, He’d allowed his people to suffer in bondage for four hundred years.
Perhaps your spiritual life has fallen into a similar “familiarity” rut. For those of us who have known Jesus for a long time, it’s sometimes hard to get excited about the pastor’s sermon or another Bible study. Are you too familiar with a God who seems to have done very few “big” miracles in your world lately?
This is one of the reasons I wrote Miriam: A Treasures of the Nile Novel. I believe God challenged Miriam’s faith habits in order to shake her to the core.
- When her brother Moses came back from exile in Midian, proclaiming El Shaddai’s new name—Yahweh—and promising Israel’s deliverance, how did Miriam feel?
- When Yahweh chose Aaron and Moses as His spokesmen to Pharaoh instead of Miriam, what happened to her trust in God?
- And what must she have thought when instead of the quiet ways El Shaddai had once revealed Himself to her (Num. 12:6), this Yahweh began speaking directly to Moses and revealing Himself in powerful plagues?
None of these things were the faith habits Miriam was used to! Who was this God, and why wasn’t He doing things the way He was supposed to?
Healthy Faith Habits
Faith built on a habit of personal behavior leads to false spirituality and unsteady strength. However, faith built on a habit of considering God’s Person and power sharpens awareness of His presence in our daily lives.
Google says it takes twenty-one days to form a habit by repeating a particular behavior. I’m going to try the, “I trust You, Jesus,” phrase in hopes it becomes habit-forming. I plan to ponder God’s Person and power each time I say it to become more aware of His presence during my day–whether I’m in the midst of routine or chaos.
- Do you struggle to maintain awareness of His presence when your routine is interrupted?
- Faith built on a habit of behavior leads to false spirituality and unsteady strength.
- Faith built on habitually considering God’s Person and power sharpens awareness of His presence.
- What healthy habits might you try?