• Emily Hess

Trust + Obey

If you grew up in the church, or if you are the parent of little people who currently go to Sunday School, you’ve likely heard the old hymn, “Trust and Obey” written by John Henry Simmis in 1887. I often think of this as a children’s song. Trent and I have recently made what will be a life changing decision. We have both been praying about it for months. Way back in May, as I was praying, the chorus from Trust and Obey came into my head. So I sang it (horribly) over and over and over. I knew there were more verses than what I could remember so I looked it up. Here are the lyrics John H. Simmis wrote 131 years ago.


1. When we walk with the Lord In the light of his Word, What a glory He sheds on our way; While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.


Trust and obey, For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.


2. Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, Not a sigh or a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey.


3.Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross, But is blest if we trust and obey.


4. But we never can prove The delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, And the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.

5. Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet, Or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do; Where He sends, we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.


I hope you took two minutes to read those lyrics closely. The verse that really stood out to me in our current situation is verse four. I’ll reiterate it here because I believe it’s that important.


But we never can prove, the delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows, and the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey.

I’m not a Bible scholar, but I have read the Bible cover to cover multiple times. While I am far from knowing all there is to know about, well, anything, I do know this: over and over the Bible talks about trusting and obeying. I’ll share just a couple of verses that are meaningful to me.


Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”


1 Samuel 15:22 NIV “But Samuel replied, “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”


And this final verse (and others like it) are what convince me that God’s hand is at work. That trusting the Lord to provide and obeying the call to cross the ocean once again is His will for our family.

James 4:17 NIV “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”


We’ve been to China once before in 2017 to adopt our youngest daughter, Ruth. While I knew there were children living in orphanages, seeing it first hand was heart wrenching. And I believe this was a “good” orphanage. The reality is that there is no such thing as a good orphanage. As Christians, we should be traumatized that orphanages exist.


Orphanage in Gunagxi

Once your eyes have been opened, you have been called to act.

Jesus himself in John 9:41 NIV says, “If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see your guilt remains.”


Fellow believers, if you claim to know Jesus yet don’t do the work he has for us on earth, you’re guilty of sin. Do I think that every single Christian should adopt a child? If I’m really honest with you all I would say, “No.” However, I do believe that every single Christian should be involved somehow in adoption. Whether that means fervently praying, providing financially for an adopting family, providing a meal, giving clothes, babysitting, or a myriad of other ways that show love and support.


Our family has an amazing, supportive, Christian community and family who has shown up and provided for our family in all of those ways and more. We are truly blessed.



A dozen abondoned babies.... it is my fervent prayer that they all have families coming for them

It breaks my heart to know there are children all over the world without a mama to rock them to sleep. It hurts to see American Christians who are more concerned with their Pinterest perfect rooms than with opening that God-given home to the fatherless. God has led my heart to China, but you may be led to care for children in foster care just down the street, to temporary care-giving, or some other action.


The only wrong thing one can do in this situation is nothing.

So I urge you, I plead with you, stand up and do something for the least of these.


The last three lines of Trust and Obey say this: What He says we will do; Where He sends, we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.


That is the call of all Christians. Never fear, my friends, only trust and obey.

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