It’s a matter of trust.
Recently, I heard an alarming story about a young woman whose bank account was drained after someone got ahold of her personal information.
I was talking about that — and other unnerving scenarios — to a friend of mine, who then posed a simple question:
“Are you going to trust God or not?”
My pal wasn’t telling me to be careless when handling my finances and personal data.
Instead, my friend was telling me not to live fearfully, but to do what I could to avoid problems and then trust God for protection.
That can seem like a tall order in a world where identity theft, deception and scams are common.
Yet I started thinking about people in the Bible who trusted God even when life seemed pretty uncertain.
One of the first accounts I came across is found in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts in the Bible.
It involves a guy named Ananias.
The story actually begins with another man called Saul of Tarsus, who has been zealously persecuting Christians. At this point, Saul is headed to a city called Damascus to take Christian men and women as prisoners.
He’s stopped when a bright light from heaven shines around him.
He falls to the ground, then hears voice, saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you Lord?” Saul asks.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” Christ says. “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
When Saul opens his eyes, he can’t see. So some men traveling with Saul lead him to Damascus.
For three days, Saul is blind. He doesn’t eat or drink anything.
Here’s where Ananias comes in.
Ananias is a Godly man who lives in Damascus.
The Lord calls to him in a vision.
“Here I am Lord,” he answers.
“Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street,” the Lord says, “and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
“In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him and restore his sight.”
Ananias isn’t so sure about this assignment.
“Lord,” Ananias answers, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem.”
Oh my. Wouldn’t you think God would feel sorry for Ananias—maybe change the game plan a little bit?
But the Lord just says to go, because he’s chosen Saul as the one who’ll proclaim his name to the Gentiles and the people of Israel.
If I were Ananias, I would have thought God was sending me on a suicide mission.
I’d imagine every terrible thing that could happen.
And I’d be sure to tell God why I thought he should send someone else:
“Lord, I’m writer not a Navy Seal. How am I supposed to talk to this tough guy? What if he punches me in nose—or worse?”
The Bible doesn’t say what Ananias was thinking as he carried out God’s marching orders.
It just says he went.
Once there, Ananias places his hands on Saul and says, “Brother Saul, the Lord … has sent me so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Right away, something like scales fall from Saul’s eyes — and he can see. He gets up and is baptized.
Saul later goes by the name of Paul — the apostle who wrote most of the New Testament.
What happened to Ananias?
I don’t know, but I’m impressed with his obedience.
And his trust in God.
It had to take a lot of trust to go help such a dangerous dude.
Yet throughout Bible history, we see lots of people who had to trust God for protection.
Don’t believe me?
Just page through the Bible and imagine what it must have been like for:
- Noah and his family when the ark lifted off the ground in the flood waters.
- Joseph when he was sent to foreign prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
- Moses as he stood with the Israelites in between the Red Sea and the Egyptian Army determined to take them back as captives.
- Deborah, a prophetess who went with Barak’s forces toward an enemy army of troops and 900 iron chariots.
- Gideon, who took 300 men to face an enemy army of 135,000.
- Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they were taken as captives to Babylon. Daniel would face a den of lions, yet as the Scriptures say, “No wound was found on him because he trusted in his God.”
The other three men didn’t know if they’d survive a nasty toss into a fiery furnace, but still demonstrated fireproof faith—and came out of that blaze not even smelling like smoke.
- And then there’s the Apostle Paul, whose trust wasn’t waterlogged even while he was aboard a boat that went through a terrible storm and was shipwrecked.
Perhaps, one of the best examples of someone who trusted in God’s protection was David, a shepherd who took a slingshot and five stones to meet a mighty giant named Goliath.
Before he ever went on that battlefield, David faced opposition from his own brother and doubt from his king.
“You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy and he has been a fighting man from his youth,” King Saul told David.
But David’s trust in God was more impenetrable than any armor.
David knew he could count on God, because of their history together.
The young shepherd told how he’d taken care of his dad’s sheep — and experienced God’s protection.
“When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it … the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David knew if God helped him in the past, he’d help him now, too.
Many people know how this story ends. David only used one of those five stones to topple the wicked Goliath.
Eventually, David became king of Israel, but would have to trust God for protection throughout his life — including a very sad time when one of his own sons took control of the throne and sent the former shepherd and other family members fleeing for their lives.
Centuries after those Bible times people walked the earth, we still face challenges and hazards.
And bad things can happen to good people.
So we must be wise, but we need not live in fear.
Instead, we must heavily rely on our Lord — who can protect us from lions and bears and flames — and really bad dudes.
Because while the world is filled with evil, our God is trustworthy.