Because We Need to Trust

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

I looked up at Daddy with wide-eyed, ten-year-old amazement, “I can’t believe you burned down ‘Brookside.’”

The fire had left its devastation — everything around us was black and charred. There were no tall grasses left, no bushes, no wildflowers. ‘Brookside’ was our family’s small farm just outside town, a place where we fished, hunted, played, rode horses, and spent campouts at the cabin dubbed by my parents as “The Last Resort.”

“Oh, Cindygirl, I didn’t burn down ‘Brookside’,” Daddy replied with a grin. “This is what is called ‘controlled burning’ – setting carefully guarded fires to clean out the underbrush and make way for new spring growth. Remember, I’m a forester. This is what we do every year.”

I wanted to trust Daddy, to believe that what he said was indeed the truth.

But the blackened ground didn’t look like it would ever see green again. It seemed more reasonable to trust what my eyes saw instead of what my ears heard. Tentatively I sought to grasp what he had said. “So, it only looks like you destroyed ‘Brookside,’ but what you were really doing is preparing it for growing?”

“Exactly, “Daddy explained. “Those weeds and tall grasses would have choked back the new plants and flowers coming this spring, so we clear that away, and before you know it, this whole area will once again be covered in beautiful green.”

For another moment I experienced an internal battle between what the person I trusted was saying and what I was actually seeing.

I knew that my daddy loved this farm – that he enjoyed walking through the trails and boating on the two ponds and driving the jeep from the brooks that bordered each side of the vast acreage. I also knew that he always replenished the lands that provided wood for his pulpwood business.

Most of all, I knew that he was a person I could believe with all my heart. I chose to trust him because I knew him so well.

And my trust was rewarded with visible evidence — by the very next weekend there were tiny shoots of green peeking up all over the farm!

The psalmist encourages us to “Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

When we are young children, our parents should embody the same kind of safety, refuge and trustworthiness as our heavenly Father. In my life, I was privileged to make an easy transition from trusting a trustworthy father to trusting my heavenly Father. But sadly, we know that is not always the case.

How can we live out the word ‘trust’ when others have betrayed our trust so many times that we have become wary?

 In this verse, the word trust is translated from the Hebrew word chacah, a verb which means to seek refuge or put trust in God. Its noun form, machacah, is actually interchangeable with our English word ‘refuge.’ So when we speak of trust, we are also speaking of a safe place to dwell – actually living in a refuge of trust.

As my childhood story suggests, one of the stumbling blocks in trusting is that trust involves saying no to our natural tendencies and yes to what sometimes appears impossible. That’s where faith comes in.

My father was a worthy object of my trust and so I chose to believe what he said instead of what I mistakenly deduced from my surroundings. I could wholeheartedly put my trust in him because I knew his heart.

What do you see when you look at your life today? Is there devastation? Have dreams been shattered? Are resources depleted? It’s pretty easy to trust that what you see must be the final reality.

But you might be wrong.

The burnt-out brush of your life right now might very well be a carefully ‘controlled burning’ orchestrated by your heavenly Father to provide ideal conditions for new growth. Maybe something in your life has to go so that God can replace it with something even better.

Will you trust Him to do that in His way and His time?

Originally posted at and shared with permission.

*Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., entered heaven on March 25, 2023. She was passionate about embracing life through deep soul care, courageously touching a needy world. A storyteller who engaged both heart and mind, she delighted in “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.”  A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 13 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her books include the award-winning Dwelling Places (2017 Christian Retailing BEST Award for Devotional), Ordinary Graces (2018 SELAH finalist), Live These Words,  Refresh! and Role of a Lifetime.  A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), Lucinda received Mt. Hermon’s “Writer of the Year” award and guest bloged monthly for The Write Conversation and Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog. Whether co-directing  “reNEW ~ retreat for New England Writing,”  pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she was energized by investing in people of all ages. Lucinda’s favorites included tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she wrote from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogged weekly at Lucinda will be missed. Her writings will continue to inspire. Please join me in praying for comfort for her family.

Hannah’s Secret, Chapter Two

Our job is to trust, and God’s part is to work.

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If we are to be delivered from the grip of sin, if it really is God’s plan to give us “everything good for doing his will” and to “work in us what is pleasing to him,[1] then we need to be transformed, and we certainly can’t transform ourselves.

Most of us have tried to make ourselves holy and have failed miserably. But God will do it if we put ourselves into his hands and trust him without reserve. When we trust, the Lord works, and a great deal is done, not by us, but by him. He disciplines and trains us by inward exercises and outward circumstances. He makes everything in our lives submit to his purpose of making us, day by day, into the image of Christ.

Sanctification, being made holy and set apart for God, is a matter of surrender and trust on our part, and a process of development on God’s part.[2] We must each become as a lump of clay in the hands of the Divine Potter, consciously surrendering to him and continually trusting him. Expect him to change you, making you into a vessel that honors him and is prepared for his purposes. 

His way of accomplishing what we have entrusted to him may be vastly different from the way we have in mind, but he knows best. We must trust him to use us and our circumstances. Otherwise, we will be as clay taken out of the hands of the Potter, wondering, even as we refuse his workings, why we are not complete and perfect vessels.

His pace may not be as swift as we would choose. Maturity is never reached in a moment but is the result of God’s Holy Spirit working within us. A lump of clay, from the moment it comes under the transforming hand of the potter, is just what the potter wants it to be at any particular time during each hour of the process. Even in a state of incompletion, it pleases him; but it is very far from being matured into the vessel the potter intends to make it at last. We have to be patient.

Ask the Lord to work in you in whatever way he chooses. Then, by an exercise of faith, continue to surrender to him, following immediately any direction you know is from him. When we do that, we are pleasing God simply by our trust and submission. God has given us the gift of free will. Therefore, his work in us depends upon our choosing to submit to him. Still, we must understand clearly that it is God’s working within us, not our own work from our own determination, that is the cause of all I will cover in this book.

[1] Hebrews 13:21

[2]May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and will do it.”  I Thessalonians 5:23-24

Hannah’s Happiness Coming Your Way

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Hannah Whitall Smith wrote about living with deep joy regardless of circumstances. Over the next six weeks, I will post part of her most famous book, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, but in a modernized and highly condensed version. Each chapter is based on these truths:

  • God loves us.
  • Our sins are forgiven through Jesus Christ.
  • God gives us eternal life through his Son.
  • The Bible is God’s word, every bit of it true and reliable.

And here is Chapter 1: You don’t have to sin.

A keen observer once said to me, “You can’t expect outsiders to want anything as uncomfortable as the Christian life appears to be.” Sadly, the Christian life, as it is often lived, looks rather miserable. Following Christ ought to be something that makes people happy!

Can you remember the exquisite joy you experienced when you first came to know the Lord and his mighty saving power? Has your day to day experience been something altogether different? Perhaps you have rejoiced in your knowledge of the truth without having let those truths impact your daily life. This is not what Jesus had in mind when he died for you! He did not mean for you to live a life of discouragement, forever bound up in a variety of sins. Consider these verses:

  • “It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:12).
  • “Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:4).
  • “We should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6).

Jesus came to save you, now, in this life, from the power and dominion of sin. If you doubt this, search your Bible, and study every verse concerning the purpose and object of his death on the cross. Far more mention is made of a present salvation from sin than of a future salvation in heaven beyond. His death and resurrection deliver us from our sins, from our bondage, from our defilement. Not a hint is given, anywhere, that this deliverance is to be limited or partial or delayed until after our death.

Would God arrange a plan of salvation that makes it impossible for those who are saved from the guilt of sin to find deliverance from its power? Surely not. Rather, the redemption accomplished for us by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary is a complete redemption from the power of sin as well as from its guilt.We must throw away the Bible if we say that it is impossible for God to deliver man out of sin. Prayerfully search the scriptures to see this truth for yourself.[1]


I do not believe Hannah was saying that she, or anyone else except Christ, was sinless. She was, however, challenging the thought that we must live life controlled by sin. These are controversial words. I welcome your comments!

[1] “…be pure and blameless until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:11b),

God did not call us to be impure, but to life a holy life” (I Thessalonians 4:7).

“No one who is born of God will continue to sin” (I John 3:9a),

Even If Again

Last month I had an opportunity to talk to a group of young moms about the power of moving our minds from “What If?” to “Even If!!” (If you need a refresher, you can read about that change of perspective HERE.) Just days later, I was reading through some old blog entries and came across this:

We are never in control. We can only trust and obey. No matter what.

Several years ago we were headed to a wedding. Traffic stopped ahead, but our car didn’t. I could hear our son in the back seat saying, “Careful! Careful!” as I tried to figure out why we were still moving. A water bottle had slipped from the seat and lodged underneath the brake. Eventually, the bottle shifted, the car stopped, and all was well. But it might not have been, and I was reminded once again that we are never in control.

Yes, I know. Water bottles belong in cup holders, and mine will be carefully stowed there from now on. But we still can’t really control life. Even if we take every possible precaution as to health and safety, we can’t guarantee our own security. Tucked into bed in some quiet corner of the world, we are still vulnerable. An earthquake, a tornado, an aneurism, a heart attack, and a whole host of other life-changing or life-ending events remain real possibilities despite our efforts to forestall them.

So, what do we do? We trust and obey. Can you hear that great old hymn in the background of your brain? “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” John H. Sammis put awesome theology to a delightful tune.

The Lord is our Maker, our Owner, and the One who loves us forever. (Check out Psalm 100.) Trusting him makes perfect sense. If we remain “safe” by our own definition, we trust him. If the storm comes and we suffer loss, we trust him. And to the best of our ability, we do things his way. If we were sick, we would listen to our doctors. If we were lost in the jungle, we would happily follow an expert guide, should one appear. We serve the Great Physician. We have an all-knowing Guide. Obedience to our loving Lord is simply logical. Why would we want to live outside of his plan?

Someday the car may not stop. The tornado may strike. Even if that happens, we can be sure that God is there. He loves us, he sees the big picture, and he is in control.

It’s an old blog, but filled with even older (much older!) truths. ‘Hope you’ll walk in trust today!

The Litany of Trust

In October, a sweet cousin of mine left his failing body behind and entered heaven. At his funeral, every guest was given a reprint of “Litany of Trust.”

Sr. Faustina, a Sister of Life and the author of the prayer, says, “God always gives us what we need when we need it.” I agree! And today, I want to share her prayer:  

Litany of Trust

From the belief that I have to earn Your love … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear that I am unlovable … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the false security that I have what it takes … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute … Deliver me, Jesus.

From all suspicion of Your words and promises … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You … Deliver me, Jesus.

From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will … Deliver me, Jesus.

From anxiety about the future … Deliver me, Jesus.

From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past … Deliver me, Jesus.

From restless self-seeking in the present moment … Deliver me, Jesus.

From disbelief in Your love and presence … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being asked to give more than I have … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of what love demands … Deliver me, Jesus.

From discouragement … Deliver me, Jesus.

That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me … Jesus, I trust in you.

That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me …Jesus, I trust in you.

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You are with me in my suffering … Jesus, I trust in you.

That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next …Jesus, I trust in you.

That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church…Jesus, I trust in you.

That Your plan is better than anything else … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You always hear me, and in Your goodness always respond to me …Jesus, I trust in you.

That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others …Jesus, I trust in you.

That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked …Jesus, I trust in you.

That my life is a gift … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You will teach me to trust You … Jesus, I trust in you.

That You are my Lord and my God … Jesus, I trust in you.

That I am Your beloved one … Jesus, I trust in you.


Written by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, SV ( and reprinted with permission of the Sisters of Life. (Thanks, Connie!)

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Standing Up for Yourself

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Since I often write about kindness and service and thinking of others, a blog title about standing up for yourself may surprise you. But I myself have been surprised this week.

Surprise number one: I wrote about encouraging others and received this comment:

I love this! Thank you for this reminder! I can be this for others and I can seek it out myself since it’s not available through family.

Surprise number two: I went to a MOPS meeting where, by an ingenious method, ladies were anonymously polled about their struggles. Two of the most commonly selected items were:

“I have, or have had, trouble with self-esteem or self-confidence.”

“I have compared myself to another woman in looks or motherhood.” (And been found lacking.)

While these comments reveal pain that cannot be treated by a 350 word blog post, I still want to share a couple of trite but true quotes from my early years. No, I didn’t write them. Rather, I was blessed to have them drilled into me before the world could teach me otherwise.

“I’m me. I’m wonderful, because God does not make junk.” In other words, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

“Please be patient. God is not finished with me yet.” Or, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

And, lastly, my own quip, which helps me when I’m tempted to weigh my own looks, talents, lifestyle, and accomplishments against those of others:

“Don’t compare in your underwear.” You can see every wart, wrinkle, and imperfection in your own life and body as you scrutinize yourself. You’ll never be privy to most of the struggles and frailties of those around you who are already dressed in their best before you lay eyes on them.

Seek encouragement from a friend or relative you can trust. Open your Bible. You may be surprised to see how much encouragement you can find there. And re-read those three quotes a couple of times. Use them as weapons in the fight for your own self-esteem.