Trust and obey,
for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus,
but to trust and obey. (“Trust and Obey” by John H. Sammis)
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:28–32 NLT)
My Life and the Story of the Gospel Hymns and of Sacred Songs and Solos by Ira David Sankey includes the origins of many beloved hymns, including “Trust and Obey” from the perspective of the composer of the music, Daniel B. Towner: “‘Some years ago,’ says Professor Towner, musical director of the Moody Bible Institute, ‘Mr. Moody was conducting a series of meetings in Brockton, Massachusetts, and I had the pleasure of singing for him there. One night a young man rose in a testimony meeting and said, “I am not quite sure—but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.” I just jotted that sentence down, and sent it with the little story to the Rev. J. H. Sammis, a Presbyterian minister. He wrote the hymn, and the tune was born.’”
Without knowing it, that young man at the meeting in Brockton was able to accurately summarize the two most basic tenets of the life of a Christ follower: trusting in God’s love, sovereignty, grace, and provision and obeying God’s commands, promptings, teachings, and guidance. At face value, it seems quite easy, but life is never so straight-forward and the enemy is crafty. Trust does not always come readily, and obedience is anathema to the rebellion that dwells deeply within our hearts. Yet, just as the Father did not desert Jesus, neither the Father nor the Son have deserted us; in fact, they sent us the Holy Spirit to guide, provoke, correct, encourage, and strengthen us in the tasks set before us. Determine if you are more prone to struggle with trusting or obeying, then dedicate the rest of the day—with the help of the Spirit—to strengthening that weaker muscle.