I recently heard a teaching on the difference between faith and trust. At first I wasn’t sure if there really was a difference, but I have come to believe that there is.
Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” So faith is having confidence that something will or has happened based on God's Word, even when there is no visible physical evidence of such. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” Heb.11:3
True faith must be based upon the Word of God not just believing something that we think or hope will happen. But even then, our faith can fail when things don’t turn out the way we believed the Word promised they would. Case in point takes Peter. He knew that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, and that the scriptures said the Messiah would become King and rule from Jerusalem forever. Bringing with Him an everlasting kingdom of peace. But Jesus was about to be arrested and crucified, so what Peter knew the Word promised seemingly was about to fail and not come to pass. Peter’s faith was about to be tested at a whole new level. Jesus knowing this, says to Peter at the last supper, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Jesus understood that our faith could fail when things don’t turn out the way we believe the scriptures promise. Because of this seeming failure of God's promises, many people become disillusioned and discard their faith, thus Hebrews 10:35 warns us “cast not away your confidence.” We are tempted to lose or cast away our faith when that loved one dies that we believed God promised to heal, or we lose that career or business that we believe was God's purpose for our life. Faith is the bedrock of our Christian walk, but our faith can fail when difficult circumstances assault us and we feel as though God‘s Word has failed.
So what then is the difference between faith vs. trust, you might ask? I believe that trust us the next step up from faith. Jeremiah 17:7 says that the man that trusts in the Lord is “as a tree planted by the water” even when the drought comes and the wind blows this tree may sway but it will not be moved and will continue to yield fruit. Likewise Psalms 125:1 says, ”They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever.” Trust makes us as unmovable as a mountain in our faith. If we truly trust in our God, even when things don’t turn out the way we believed they would, we will continue to trust in our Father's heart, trust in His love, and trust in His Word. “For I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12
The book of Daniel tells of three Hebrew men who had this kind of trust in their God. The king had made a decree that when the music played everyone was to bow down and worship a golden image of the king or be thrown into a fiery furnace to be burned alive. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had faith that God would deliver them, but they had a trust in Him that went beyond that faith. Hear what they said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Dan. 3:16-17 They did not try to defend themselves or figure a way out of this predicament on their own. They had full faith that their God would take care of them and deliver them. Yet because of their consuming trust in God, and His loving heart for them, even if He didn’t deliver them physically, they still were not going to shrink back from their confidence in Him. Even at the cost of their very lives.
Isn’t it about time we move past faith into this place of uncompromising trust? A place where we are unshaken and unmoved by what we see, but are instead fully persuaded by the “Word's” good report over and for us. Being fully persuaded that He will “guard what we have entrusted to Him.”
“Preserve me O God: for in thee do I put my trust.” Psm. 16:1