A Matter of Trust

By: Denise Pass © 5/30/14


Joshua 21:45

“Not one of the Lord’s faithful promises to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; every one was realized.”

Joshua 23:11

“Watch yourselves carefully! Love the Lord your God!”

Joshua 24:14, 16

“Now obey the Lord and worship Him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and worship the Lord.” :16 The people responded, far be it from us to abandon the Lord so we can worship other gods!

Trust. Such a small word and such a hard thing to do. If you have lived long enough to understand the language and dialect around you, you have had your trust broken; whether it was a family member or a friend, someone, somewhere has let you down. Live a little longer and maybe you will taste the bitter fruit of betrayal. Boy, I sound like a pessimist, don’t I? But pretending we have not been wounded by someone not fulfilling what they promised is not a solution, is it? Perhaps the most difficult of all is when you experience a horrific tragedy that you never fathomed would happen to you – sexual abuse, divorce, an incapacitating illness – where was God then? Is your trust in God hurt today, because of the actions of another who hurt you? Why is it that we blame God when another’s hand committed the pain? Or when living in a fallen world with diseases means we might become infected ourselves? Lastly, when our own sinful choices cause devastating consequences in our lives or the lives of others? Breathe in what the Bible says about God’s character. Not one. Not a single promise has He not kept. He is good – no evil resides within Him. How then can He be the author of evil that manifests in our lives? God is compassionate and weeps over the sins committed against us because of what it does to our soul. We mentally assent to these truths about God, but our heart betrays us. Oftentimes we convince ourselves that we trust God, but we cleave to something or someone else for peace and comfort. It’s a scary world out there, but no god or substitute can deliver us from the uncertainty living in a fallen world presents. Joshua is speaking to us now to put aside those things – idols, false gods, worldly solutions – that we seek to fill our trust vacuum. It can be so hard to do, but it is what is required to walk in a relationship of trust with God. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). If today those words pierce your soul, if it seems impossible to truly be abandoned to trusting God with all of your life, surrender. That’s right. Admit that you cannot do it and lay it at His feet. Maybe consider bowing down, since we all will bow before Him ultimately. His shoulders are big enough to carry your burdens and His love never ceases. He alone is completely trustworthy.  Trust Him, today.  He is good – all the time.

Lord, help us to trust you when we are surrounded by a multitude of burdens that can turn our heart away from the simplicity of sweet trust and surrender in you. Minister and heal hearts that read this blog today, and pour out your love on them, Lord – all for Your glory!





The Remedy for Depression

By: Denise Pass  © 5/26/14

Psalm 43:4-5

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to the God Who gives me ecstatic joy, so that I express my thanks to you, O God, my God, with a harp. Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.”


Depression is fast becoming one of the top complaints of humankind. Sometimes it is momentary, passing with circumstances, but other times it is a condition that is seemingly impossible to overcome. I’ve been there. Suffering with long-term illness, living with the horror of a stigma so painfully hard to accept the reality of, chased endlessly in court, so anxious I could not feel my hands or feet – but God. He was and is my refuge. Engulfed in fear or a sea of sad emotions, overcoming melancholic feelings can seem insurmountable. David understands. Anointed king and then oppressed by his enemy for 15 years, hiding in caves, he was acquainted with suffering and depression. But he did not stay there. He did not give in to the emotions which sought to control him. David found ecstatic joy in God because God was his joy. It was not just a fleeting emotional gratification that he was seeking – it was God Himself – to be lost in worshipping something – someOne – greater than himself or his circumstances. Repeatedly David models this running to God. He knew what he was made for – to worship His creator – and he was a man after God’s own heart. This life was never meant to be our joy, but disappointment and unmet expectations leave us hungering for relief from our misery. But what if at that place we hungered for God and worshiped Him, even if our pain was still present? What if we did not look to anything else for joy but God alone? Perhaps it would produce in us the gratitude that David embodied. Thankfulness for anything good in this wretched fallen world. Thank Him, today. Even for that ugly thing that breaks your heart. Thank Him that He knows the end and is sovereign. He will use it for good in your life. Thank Him for His promises. He keeps them all. Extreme hardship and grief can create a disillusionment that seemingly destroys our hope, but our living Savior bears our burdens and sorrows and is able to grant us perfect peace in the midst of desolation and despair.

Dear God, You are our joy, our very life! All else that we experience in this life is for your glory. Please help us to have eternal eyes to see and understand that we need to run after you and not after joy.

The Essential Stumbling Block

© 5/24/14 Denise PassImage

Matthew 18:7

“Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come.”

My heart stopped as I read those words, seemingly as if I had never seen them, but I had read this verse so many times before – yet this time something new apprehended my soul. “It is NECESSARY that stumbling blocks come”. Why? Why must we ever endure or be tempted by evil? What fruit can that bear in the life of the believer? If we continue on in this passage, a radical ideology is presented – if something causes us to stumble, we must cut it off – sever it, as it were, from our life, to prevent damnation. Likened to an analogy of a gardener, we can see the importance of removing weeds or other hindrances that impede growth; but oftentimes we cherish those very stumbling blocks or weeds that have grown in our life and do not recognize them for the vile enemy of our souls that they are. Why would our loving, gracious God allow a stumbling block to be present in our lives? James tells us that God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone; yet in this fallen world we will have opportunities to choose freedom through obedience or enslavement through permitting a stumbling block to rule over us. How would our faith be proved genuine, if it were not for overcoming an obstacle and choosing to believe God over our present circumstances? How would the character be forged, if not through the exercising of our will, triumphing over our sinful tendencies? Where would our relationship with God be, if we did not cleave to Him and cry out when tested? It is difficult to be thankful for stumbling blocks, but if we seek God and His wisdom in the midst, the very stumbling block can become a step instead. A step toward becoming more like Christ. A step toward healing by overcoming. A step out of difficult circumstances by going through it, rather than avoiding it. Ironically, Jesus was the benign stumbling block – for the religious Who did not recognize Him as God. May stumbling blocks not create resentment toward our Creator but help us instead to see our need of our Savior, Who promises to use all things together for good for those who love Him.

Dear God, may we not harbor in our hearts disdain for hardships or stumbling blocks, but instead gratitude for your Wisdom in allowing the insidious stumbling block in!

Pain, the Beautiful Tutor

Psalm 27:13-14 “Where would I be if I did not believe I would experience the Lord’s favor in the land of the living? Rely on the Lord! Be strong and  confident! Rely on the Lord!”

Favor. In the land of the living. Let those words sink in. We all want to be the favored one, to win in the circumstances that life throws our way, but oftentimes we do not want to invest the energy and faith required to do so. How do we access this favor? The action words in the verse above – believe, rely, be strong and confident are clues, but sometimes we feel weary and do not know how we can hold on for one more moment. What then? If we continue in this passage, we see the Psalmist gives further advice.

Psalm 28:1 “To You, O Lord, I cry out! My Protector, do not ignore me! If you do not respond to me I will join those who are descending to the grave.”

Crying out implies relationship. The Psalmist does not mince words. He is honest and perhaps a bit dramatic, but then, his circumstances were pretty dire. If you are like me, I want to know the end – how did it turn out for one who is suffering and looking to God for aid? I want to see God’s faithfulness – I want to see His miracles again and again. What was the end result for this Psalmist?

Psalm 31:7 “I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness, because you notice my pain, and you are aware of how distressed I am.”

Do not overlook the tense the Psalmist is using – He is still in difficult circumstances, but he has joy and he is trusting in His Savior, even while he waits. He is thankful. Even our Lord endured the cross for the joy set before Him. He knew what that pain would achieve. Pain is often a harsh tutor, and we long to be separated from it, but in that place of beautiful pain, our character can be molded to be more like Christ’s. Perhaps we will even see God’s deliverance rescue us from the physical or mental difficulties we encounter on this earth. But while we tarry, the beauty of resting in our Defender and trusting Him no matter what the results are is incomparable to any peace or comfort the world tries to offer as a substitute.

Psalm 31:22, 24 “I jumped to conclusions and said, “I am cut off from Your presence!” But You heard my plea for mercy when I cried out for help. Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the Lord!”

Wait for Him, friend. Let pain do its work. Whether it is emotional, physical or spiritual pain, God is able to meet your needs and hear your cry. Let us not only trust God in the absence of pain, but cling to Him as our life in the midst thereof.

Pain is a beautiful gift, though the outer appearance betrays its inner beauty.

(c) Denise Pass, Written 5/21/14, Published 5/27/14 on Seeing Deep Blog