In Hebrews 11:10, by looking at Abraham’s faith lifestyle, the author makes the bold claim that faith is anchored in the trustworthiness of God:

For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Heb. 11:10)

photo by Thomas Haines


I resonate with the analogy the author refers to because my undergraduate degree is in Landscape Architecture. The image the author paints here is of a city that is both designed by God (architect) and carefully crafted by God (master builder). This analogy immediately stands out to me as unusual because almost always, the architect and the builders are not the same people. And from a theological perspective, this is the perfect analogy for a couple of reasons. We have to remember that the context of the message in Hebrews 11 is obviously who our faith is in. So here in this metaphor he draws attention to the TRUSTWORTHINESS and CAPABILITY of God. It makes sense: when you hire an architect to build a building (like this church), you have to trust that they can design something that will stand secure. You have to trust him. And when you pay a builder you have to exercise faith in their ability to construct the building according to the plans.


So here in this brilliant analogy we see God as being the one who is fully capable, and attentive to every detail of designing our eternal dwelling place with him.  The author makes the point through this metaphor of an architect and builder, that God is fully trustworthy, and completely sovereign over every detail of salvation history. He does it all. We have every reason to trust him.


In the outdoors when I lead others on wilderness experiences, one of my goals is always to discuss the issue of trust. Whether someone does not believe in God yet, or is struggling in their faith, we all need to be reminded that faith in God is anchored in his trustworthiness. Being surrounded by the beauty and majesty of God’s creation has a way of inspiring awe. When you are looking at the fingerprints of God in the mountains, valleys, beaches, and caves that he has made, our prideful, jaded, self-absorbed souls are confronted with God’s love and power. If he made all of this, then surely he can be trusted!


We see God’s sovereign attention to detail of salvation history from as early as Genesis 3. Long before Abraham, God gives a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death on the cross and the decisive victory over Satan through his resurrection. His sovereign attention to detail is mentioned by the prophets as well who foretold of Jesus in such precision that they even predicted his bones would not be broken on the cross, and that the sun would go dark as he hung on the cross, which it did (Is. 53, Ps. 22). He pays attention to details, you can trust him!

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The Apostle Paul makes the same point to the church at Philippi, reminding them that they were called to show the same faith of Abraham: in Philippians 3:20, he teaches them that “[their] citizenship is in heaven.” He emphasizes God’s trustworthiness… God is fully responsible for the whole project of salvation history. Therefore, you can put aside your small, empty pursuits to find fulfillment on the world’s terms, and set out on adventure of faith in God. That adventure will lead you to deep pools of intimacy and discovery of what it means to truly have access to the Father:

For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)


Just like the Believers did in the time that Hebrews was written, we too need to be spurred a bit because our faith gets weakened when we get really comfortable in the world. And God in his gentle with us in dealing with our doubts. Lets Look at the example of two noteworthy women of faith, Sarah, and Mary. Sarah laughed when she overheard the Lord say that she was with child, and God responded, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). And Mary just could not understand how she could give birth to a son when she had never been with a man. Yet the Angel Gabriel responded, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37). In these two instances God understands their doubting, but he does not accept it. He reminds them that he is fully trustworthy. You can take that to the bank. He understands your doubting too, but he does not accept it. He will always push you to believe and trust him.

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The trustworthiness of God is the anchor of our faith in him. Yet even though he can be trusted, we continue to doubt or wane in our faith at times. That is why wilderness experiences are so valuable–they lift us out of our pits of doubt. When you set out into the wilderness for personal retreat, or when you lead others in the wilderness to connect with God, remember that one of the primary outcomes of wilderness experiences is to be reminded of the trustworthiness of God. Try to be intentional in the quiet times you set up, or the adventurous goals you set so that they keep coming back to the trustworthiness of God. If people can renew their trust in Him, they will find peace and rest for their souls that is unequaled.


  • The next time you take people out into the wilderness, organize your time with intentionality around the goal of helping renew people’s understanding of the trustworthiness of God. Let me know how it goes!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.


  1. It is amazing what our faith in The Lord does for the Kingdom. When we set aside our human tendencies to doubt, we are tearing down the barriers that allow God’s trustworthiness to take part in our lives. Ashley is spot on when he describes trust in God as the anchor in which our faith is held down by. Outdoor experiences can so accurately portray this concept in our lives because it is unpredictable. We so often surround ourselves with elements of comfort time after time and eventually end up having a schedule of pure predictability. Wake up. Take a nice hot shower. All the daily routine stuff… Where is the challenge? Where is the moment that you legitimately drop all hope in everything but the element that holds your life in it’s hands? A rope? An ice pick? A fire? The reality of all these examples is that we find all of their attributes in the nature of our God. He is our comfort, and our home. I firmly believe that the truth that is proclaimed in this blog post can benefit any believer that struggles with doubt. And I seriously hope I have the opportunity to direct someone to this study or better yet, bring them into an outdoor setting and dive into the hope that we find in our Lord.

  2. Trust is always complicated in my opinion, especially with God because it comes with so many mysteries. There are certain things in life that are easy to trust God, but I always find at least a few things I am reluctant to let go of in
    trust. I think the outdoors can create a perfect time to confront some of the distrust in our lives, with others and with God. As Americans, we really have to fully rely on God. It often takes getting outside our city lives to get a taste of what it means to trust God for provision, safety, and some fundamental needs.

    For me, outdoor experiences have created some of the most trust-challenging situations. You often have to rely on the skills and competency of others to ensure everyone’s wellbeing. As these situations force us to rely on each other, and equipment, it is easily paralleled to trust in God. If I can trust a rock and a couple of bolts with my life on a 100-foot rappel, surely I can be secure in the God of the universe for my life. He is an anchor that will never fail because He created and planned it all. God is the only one who knows every detail of our lives and knows exactly how we fit into His plan. It is hard to not let human failure and wounds to cause us to distrust, but even a few minutes reflecting on the God’s character and creation is enough to prove His endless

  3. Trust and faith are two things the Lord requires for growth in Him. I have been reminded of the many times I have failed to trust the Lord, but yet He still comes through! I have also been reminded through this blog that when I do trust the Lord I grow, and He challenges me to lean on Him even more. Reading this post has helped me realize how much higher the Lord is calling us as followers of Christ. I believe hearing stories like Mary and Sarah’s will encourage many people to truly trust in the Lord rather than have a lack there of. This blog shows that we should have faith and trust in the Lord, but how do we get to this place? I know for me personally that this has been a struggle to trust in the Lord when I feel like things are about to go south. I have learned that I have favor from the Lord and it does me no good to worry about the future. The Lord has always provided for me and I have become more confident in trusting Him through the years, but it wasn’t an easy road, it still isn’t as smooth but I have grown so much in this area and I know the Lord will require me to trust in Him more and more with what He has for me.

  4. Thank you for this post, it is sometimes hard for me not to try to do things on my own, but I need to remember that when I put my trust in God that He is always looking out for what is best because He already knows what the building plans look like and is using His people to help build the foundation. We do a lot of times get caught up in this world but we do not make enough time to find a place of solitude to retreat from it all (especially the outdoors). In solitude and the outdoors or even in the construction of buildings God shows us that He is very trustworthy and we need not lean on our own understanding but have faith that God is leading us in the right path because like Mr. Denton is talking about God is the master architect so we need to have trust in His design. Instead of us who can easily get lost in our own understanding. This post shows us that we need to let go of our selfish desires and thoughts so that we can have faith. A good way doing this is through the outdoors and solitude. That is a good place to get rid of any selfish desires and thoughts because than you do not feel like you are in control anymore and instead you are looking to find something to put your faith in. That is why the outdoors is a good place to hear and listen to God because you do not have the noises of this world, just you and God. Then next step to this blog would show that the wilderness and being alone is a good way of getting closer and realizing that there is a God through the lack of control we have on nature, which means we cannot rely on ourselves anymore. What I am trying to ask is to see more of is the benefits of solitude and wilderness experiences by yourself or with other people and how they can alter your worldly perception. Thanks again for sharing the important message of faith!

  5. Distrust is one of the most unsettling experiences possible. Suspicion and unreliability ruin relationships, make accomplishing anything almost impossible, and taints the joy and support that should be found in human relationship. Imagine if God couldn’t be trusted! The pain that we experience through betrayal is something that God is not capable of producing. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”. Reading this post reminded me of how God has proved this statement of Paul’s, one way being through the world he created. I
    have often thought about way God’s glory is displayed through the detail in His creation, but not about how this shows his trustworthiness. I really
    appreciated your quote; “we too need to be spurred a bit because our faith gets weakened when we get really comfortable in the world.” We think we can control our lives because we trick ourselves into thinking we have control over so many things. When we rely on human inventions and processes, it’s easy to forget our need for God—until it all falls apart and we realize we have nothing without Him. One of the best ways to remind ourselves of this is to seek adventure—to put ourselves in situations where we know we can’t rely solely on ourselves.

  6. I wrote a similar post a while back on trust and the outdoors as well. Outdoor activities and adventures have always been incredible metaphors for trust and my walk with Christ. Every trip I go on I am usually more and more pushed out of my comfort zone, which forces me to trust those I’m with or my guide. In the wilderness, you have no other option but trust, and I feel like that is how it is with life too. It’s so hard at sometimes and sometimes we’re thrown into pits with no other option but to lean on Christ, and I’m beyond thankful that I have the opportunity to put my trust in someone who has never broken it. I’ve never been great at trust, but looking back and remembering the times God has blown me away has helped me grow in it, and it is the same with outdoors. By learning specific techniques and experiencing the if they work, my brain begins to rely on them until they become second nature. So, I hope someday that that is how my trust in Christ can be – full on second nature. I think it is an extremely important fact for people to know that God is 100% trustworthy. Where it gets hard, and I would like to hear more about this, is if someone truly believes God has failed them. What is your next step then?

  7. Trustworthiness is one quality of God that I admire most, probably
    because it is so easily destroyed among humanity. I love the paragraph in this
    post about how since God created us and the world, He can surely be trusted. I
    had never really thought of the immense detail put into salvation and the
    history of humanity. There are so many events that prove His credibility over
    and over again.

    The wilderness truly does us a favor when it comes to trusting
    God. When I led groups backpacking last summer, I felt like I was constantly in
    conversation with God about what step to take next or what to tell my
    struggling climber. He always comes through and gives me perfect answers. I
    hope I am a testimony to the ultimate trustworthiness of God. The next time I
    take friends out, I’m making a point to help them see the value in trusting God
    in the back country and how that transfers to our lives back home.

  8. Honestly, trust has always been something that has been hard for me. I don’t know why, but it always seems to be a constant theme in my life that God is working on perfecting, beckoning me to trust Him more and more. This post especially reminded me of why I am called to trust. It is quite simple really. I am to put my trust in God because He is trustworthy. Sure, there are many other reasons that I come up with in my head as to why I should trust the Lord, but it all boils down to what was illustrated in this post- I can trust God because trustworthiness is in his nature and character, being trustworthy is who God is. Furthermore, I am confident that this post will aid others in taking a leap of faith in trusting the Lord with whatever they may need to trust Him with. I am confident of this because, like previously mentioned, this post portrays why we trust God instead of simply telling us that we should trust Him or that we need to trust Him more. Indeed, this post has challenged me in my faith with God and will help me to trust Him further and have peace in this decision to do so. In conclusion, I think that other blog posts could expand upon different activities that can be used in the wilderness to orient people’s minds around the theme of trust. A post that proposes different techniques, activities, or illustrations may be a valuable resource for wilderness leaders.

  9. This post reminded me just how comfortable I have become because I haven’t felt the “need” to have great trust in God. And I liked that you brought up that God understands doubt but he isn’t satisfied with our doubting and won’t stop pursuing us until our doubting ceases. The post also brings up an important point about wilderness being a great place for facilitating a trust experience. Its sad to think that those who focus their time indoors can’t see the wilderness as a teaching tool as it should be utilized. I would love to see more examples of different environments and outdoor activities that can be lined up with faith lessons based on their individual challenges.

  10. I think that the trustworthiness of God is something that we need to be reminded of often. Personally, when I go through difficult seasons of my life I often forget exactly how trustworthy God is and how much he has already taken care of me in the small things. It is amazing to think of how omnipotent God is in every area of not only my life, but the universe as well. There are many little details that he is involved in that would have huge consequences if they were not attended to, and yet I fail to always trust him with the big problems. Inconceivable. This is something that others need to be reminded of as well. When one becomes a Christian, they should be aware that they are going to go through hard times, and that God is going to put them through “trust exercises,” but also to know that he is trustworthy. I think it would be interesting to have a blog on how it is the small things in activities that make them successful or unsuccessful and not necessarily always the big things. This could show attention to detail and intricacies being important in not only outdoor activities, but relationships with others and with God as well.

  11. I relate this article to my experience rock climbing. With most forms of climbing, you have a belayer. All of your faith must be completely in the capability of that belayer. Your life is literally in their hands. That is the kind of faith that I want to have with God. Not only does the belayer have my completely trust, I also do what they say. If I hear from down below “You’ve got a foot hold by your right knee and a crimp on your upper left.” I will respond by placing my right foot on the hold and reaching with my left hand for the other. The belayer is not only their for safety, but they help guide my steps. And most importantly, I listen and respond accordingly. If I ever get frustrated and don’t listen to their direction, I will probably fall, and then I will REALLY be glad that they were there. I believe this blog is something that all outdoor adventurers should read. This idea of trust is key. With our relationship with God is it vital.

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