In Episode 15 of the Canopy Life podcast, Christi and Absolom Odhiambo (Abbu), our Spiritual Director at Canopy Life, talk through what it looks like to trust God amidst the pandemic.
During difficult seasons, it’s easy to find ourselves thinking, “if God is in control, then shouldn’t I feel in control?” In times like these, when we don’t feel in control or at peace, it’s hard to imagine that we can still trust that God is in control.
We found so much joy in learning from Abbu’s wisdom. This discussion encouraged us and helped us understand why it may seem difficult to trust God in this season, even when we know His truth and promises. We hope this podcast encourages you, too, and helps you find practical ways to remember God’s faithfulness, even when life feels uncertain.
A lot of people are struggling right now – especially with trusting God in the midst of stressful times. What about in Kenya?
Abbu: In Kenya, there’s a lot of anxiety. People are trying to balance having a meal on the table (working outside of the home to provide that meal). At the same time, people are afraid when they leave their homes they will contract the coronavirus. People say, “I would rather die providing for my family.” At the same time, we see a lot of confidence from believers that God will take care of them while they are doing this noble thing of feeding their children. There’s a lot of anxiety, but we are trying to focus on God because there’s something that God is doing that we do not understand.
What do you say to people in hard times who are trying to trust God?
Abbu: The Bible says in Proverbs to trust in God with all your heart and to lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Trusting God is not easy. It’s hard. That’s the only string we have to hold on to. When you trust God, the responsibility of taking care of yourself, which you CAN’T, is given to God.
It’s like flying a fighter jet. There’s an instrument in that aircraft that allows you to fly safely at a very fast speed. If there’s a hill ahead of you, your eyes tell you that you’re going to hit that hill at that speed. but the instrument will tell you that your altitude is ok. So you’re juggling the question, should I obey with my own eyes or the instrument? The instrument is always accurate.
You see, when we stop trusting God, we are depending on our own eyes- our own understanding. When you trust God, it’s like trusting that instrument. As long as you obey that instrument, you are sure that your flight will be safe. So, as long as we lean on God and not on our understanding, we will be able to navigate the storm. Psalms 27 says that trusting God is our strength and shield. Those are the things that we need right now.
You can compare the story of Joseph with the story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had a good life, but they still didn’t trust God when the serpent came and said, “You’re missing out. This fruit is good…” forgetting that they were supposed to depend on God. Whereas, in the story of Joseph, Joseph had a dream given to him by God that he was going to become great. Trusting in God to actualize the dream was not an event. It was a process. You start small. You trust God for a little thing. As you grow, you begin to trust God for more difficult things. Like now, we have the coronavirus. We have to trust God for bigger things because God has kept his track record.
How do we trust God when we don’t understand what God is doing through the hard season?
Christi: It’s even harder to trust God when we don’t know what He’s trying to achieve in the process. Joseph had been given a vision and a promise. For us, it requires even more trust, because we don’t know…you have to lean on God’s older promises in the Bible that He wants to prosper us and not to harm us. He is about His glory. We don’t really know what’s being achieved in this Pandemic because it just seems like so much destruction and uncertainty.
When God takes us through that kind of process, we humans are interested in reaching the end and celebrating the goodness, but God is interested in us knowing him more and deeper. At the end of Joseph’s story, it wasn’t so much about himself as it was about what God wanted him to achieve. We know this by what he said at the end to his brothers. The hard season is about what God wants to achieve, more than what I want to achieve.Abbu, Canopy Life Podcast Episode 15
Christi: I would say that most people who are following Him right now are in some way learning to know him more and deeper because they need Him for so many more things – things like daily encouragement, the things that we invest our physical energy in, and those things that matter in our day to day life. To trust that God is going to take care of us, even as he’s creating scenarios in which we learn to trust Him more and deeper, is really hard.
So often, our fears and emotions can get the best of us. Practically, what does it look like to trust God in our day-to-day lives?
In this week’s podcast, Christi and Abbu discussed some practical things they do to remember God’s faithfulness and that He is in control. Here are a few things they are practicing to help them trust God, even in the hard times.
- Call a friend. Not just anybody…someone who you know walks with God. The words from our friends who love God are life-giving. The courage they have to love and follow God becomes an encouragement to us.
- Read God’s Word. His Word reminds us of His promises that He loves us and is in control. This understanding -that God has your life in His hands- can help you have peace.
- Surround yourselves with others who are seeking to trust God. Think about the people who you are seeing and hearing from the most. If those people are fearful or untrusting and super stressed about the things they can’t control, that’s going to become a part of your daily reality. Whereas if you are intentionally seeking out a connection with people who are trusting God and encouraging each other, then that will become a part of your daily mindset as well.
- Spend time remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness. Try going through the alphabet, and give a descriptive word for God for each letter. Read scripture, and pull out the words that describe God.
Reflecting on His goodness reminds us that He is in control and that He’s loving. While the season is a huge surprise to us, it wasn’t a surprise to Him. God can be kind even in hard times. Like a parent disciplining a child or allowing a child to struggle in order to be stronger, sometimes the hard times are God’s kindness to us, as they make us stronger and refine us to be more like Him.
As we all navigate our first global pandemic, there’s an eternal truth we can cling to – God will always be good.