In President's Messages, United News

Trust God No Matter What

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. — Proverbs 3:5

 
February 21, 2020
As the spring semester begins at United Theological Seminary, our focus for spiritual life is “A Matter of Trust.” In chapel services and prayer meetings, we are looking to Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.”

For our students, learning how to submit to God’s call and wisdom for their lives is a pivotal part of their educational experience. It can be challenging but immensely rewarding.

This reminder to place our trust in God is also timely as the United Methodist denomination prepares for its 2020 General Conference that will meet in Minneapolis, MN, May 5-15. It appears to me that fear and anxiety over the future of The United Methodist Church is at an all-time high as the denomination seeks to discern God’s direction.

Many are fearful about what might happen if the widely supported Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation proposal passes. Others are fearful about what would happen if some proposal for amicable separation does not pass. On both sides, everyone is anxious about the uncertainty of our future as a denomination.

In times like this, it seems to me we need to deepen our faith and “Trust God no matter what!”

After Jesus fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, he told his disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee, while he went on a mountain to pray. A violent storm arose on the sea, and the disciples in their little boat were consumed with fear. Then Jesus came walking to them on the water and said, “Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid.” When Peter became filled with fear as he walked on the water, Jesus reached out and saved him, saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14: 22-32).

There is no doubt the United Methodist ship of faith is being battered by the storms of disagreement in our denomination. In times like this Jesus comes to us and says: “Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid” and “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the midst of the storms we are facing, Jesus calls us to trust God no matter what.

If The UMC divides into two or more denominations, the living Christ will still be with us. If none of the proposals for amicable separation pass at General Conference and the storm continues, the Living Christ will still be with us. If something unexpected happens at General Conference, the Living Christ will still be with us.

God is still God, Christ is still our Savior and Lord, and the Holy Spirit still fills us with power and peace. We can still trust God no matter what.

Regardless of what happens at General Conference or in our lives, God is still God, Christ is still our Savior and Lord, and the Holy Spirit still fills us with power and peace. We can still trust God no matter what.

My first wife, Minnietta, passed away nine years ago after a year-long bout with pancreatic cancer. Her theme for the last year of her life was “Trust God No Matter What.” She reminded me that each time we had moved during 47 years of ministry, we trusted God to be with us in a new place. God was always faithful and present in ways we could not have anticipated. Now, she trusted that God would be with her as she moved to another new place with God in eternity. Her deep faith in God is what got me through the fear, pain and anxiety of “walking through the valley of the shadow of death.”

When folks share with me their anxieties and fears about what might happen at General Conference, I acknowledge that all those things are possible, but I choose to trust God no matter what happens in Minneapolis this coming May.

The author of Proverbs puts it this way: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight.”

Grace and peace,
 
Dr. Kent Millard
President
United Theological Seminary

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View of planet earth from space. Full Disk Earth, Apollo 17, 1972