Escondido, CA

‘Setting the record straight’



I’m typing this week’s issue on Monday September 26, the big day of the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump. Since this is among the most highly anticipated debates in American history, I thought it worthy of comment.

“The spectacle of it alone is alluring: one of the world’s most famous women onstage for 90 commercial-free minutes alongside one of the country’s most recognizable men, in the ultimate convergence of celebrity and politics,” as New York Times writer Jonathan Martin so succinctly scribed.

The event provides an opportunity to remind those of the faith not to put their trust in man (or woman). As the Psalmist wrote, “It’s better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes (Psalm 118:9).” Politicians especially! So the question I’d like to pose is this: “In these turbulent times we live in, how can we learn to trust in God?”

We live in turbulent times indeed. The emotionally-charged election season has, no doubt, contributed in some degree to the unrest. It seems there is not a day that goes by without a city being hit with some sort of tragedy. Charlotte, Tulsa, Chicago, Burlington… and just this morning in Houston a gunman opened fire on passing vehicles in a neighborhood wounding nine people. Are we not on the precipice of another national disaster? I think it’s time that, as a nation, we start trusting in God again. But how? It starts with you and me.

We can’t trust in someone we don’t know, right? And once we begin to know someone and find out that he or she is a liar, then would such a one be worthy of our trust? Of course not. (I hope you had that in mind when you were watching the debate last Monday!)

Unlike man, God never lies and never fails to fulfill His promises. “God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill (Numbers 23:19)?” It only makes sense that you would need to get to know God better through His Word (the Bible) to determine whether He lies or doesn’t. If He doesn’t, then that would be a good reason to trust in Him.

He has proven Himself to be trustworthy in my life. How do I know this? I’ve become acquainted with the unconditional and conditional promises contained in His Word, and time has verified His trustworthiness in fulfilling those promises. He promised me that if I sincerely called out to Him in my despair that He would rescue me. He did. He promised me that He would comfort me with a “peace that passes all understanding, not as the world gives.” (Philippians 4:7, John 14:27) He did.

If I were to list all of His fulfilled promises in my life, I would need to take a year or two to write a book.

Is there a sensible alternative to trusting God? The politicians and their policies and programs can’t be trusted. Has the passing of time not verified this?

I can’t be trusted either. I know because in the past I trusted in myself and have been found to be lacking in wisdom. My decisions tend to be swayed by emotion. I have ungodly motives that I can’t trust will be kept under scrutinization. Sometimes I can be unpredictable and unreliable. (Sigh.) I’d rather trust in the One who is always faithful to humble me and reveal such personal matters!

God has proven to be an all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, gracious, merciful, and loving God who has good intentions for me because I love Him (Romans 8:28)!

Why would one not trust in God? As already stated, you can’t be expected to trust in someone you don’t really know. The thing about God is that he has made Himself easy to get to know for He has graciously made available to you the Bible which contains His very words of life. They are words of healing to broken humanity; they rescue one in a state of peril.

To know God is to trust Him and to know Him more is to trust Him more.

—Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 23 years and have three children age 13 years and under. Jacob (13), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 12 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.

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