Louisa Stead felt called to be a missionary to China but health problems got in the way of her dream. Instead she settled in the U.S., got married and had a baby girl. In 1876, when her daughter was 4-years-old, the Steed family was visiting the beach. Louisa’s husband heard the cries of a boy who was drowning in the ocean. He rushed into the surf to rescue the boy, but ended up losing his life. Louisa lost the husband she loved and also her means of support.
About a year after the tragedy Louisa and her daughter had no food in the house and no money to buy any. But that same day money and food were left on their doorstep by an anonymous giver. It led Louisa to write the words that became a hymn: “‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word. Just to trust upon His promise, just to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’”
After her husband’s death Louisa still wanted to be a missionary. She and her daughter eventually served as missionaries to South Africa. Her trials and testing convinced her that Jesus could be trusted in all things. “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him; how I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.”
The challenges of life can prove that our own abilities can’t be trusted, but Jesus can be. The apostle Paul testified: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. … this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (II Corinthians 1:8-9).
It’s hard when it gets proven that we can’t handle the problems on our own and we can’t fix things and figure things out. It’s difficult to admit we can’t depend upon our own wisdom, strength and goodness. But it’s a necessary step to helping us find out what we can depend upon.
It is sweet to trust in Jesus. It is refreshing and relaxing to know the responsibility isn’t all on my shoulders. I don’t have to handle every challenge that comes along. I can trust that Jesus will be able to handle whatever comes.
There have been times before a service or an event when I’ve had some responsibility and someone has asked: “Are you ready? Everything under control?” It may surprise them a little bit and lessen their confidence when I tell them, “No.” But then I try to assure them the Lord is ready. He has everything under control.
It is good to prepare, but ultimately our confidence is not in our preparation. It is good to work hard and train and sharpen our skills and grow in wisdom. But our trust is not in our skills or wisdom. Your hope for being an effective parent, a loving friend, a faithful follower of Jesus doesn’t totally depend on you. It is sweet to be able to trust in the One who has all wisdom and power. He graciously invites us to rely on Him.
“Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust Him more.”