When We Want to Trust
I trust You.
I say it like I mean it, but there is this tiny halting in my voice, and I know that I don’t really know what that means. I know it more than I did last year. Last month. Last week. But I still don’t really understand it.
I think I trust You.
But something in the thinking is still weighing the pros and cons of trust in a God that I cannot control. I’m still measuring my trust against my desires. I’m still holding trust out to a Great Big God like it’s something He should earn.
I want to trust You.
That’s more honest. It feels true. So I let the words rest in the ear of a God who has felt distant for so long but who feels nearer in that moment of very honest admission.
I have heard people say (usually with a dismissive laugh) that you shouldn't pray for patience or God will give you aggravating situations to teach you patience. "Be careful what you wish for," the old adage goes. And we Christians have twisted it to "Be careful what you ask for." We laugh. But I don't find it funny at all. It sounds as if God is up in the sky holding trials like lightning bolts to be thrown down as soon as we ask to be made more like Him.
And so I wonder, should I tell Him that I want to trust Him? Or will He just lead me to a cliff and make me jump? I'm picturing Wendy walking the plank in Peter Pan. Which means I'm picturing God as Captain Hook. And I'm not feeling especially trusting.
That's how the "careful what you ask for" kind of thinking paints God.
I don't know about you. But I think that sounds cruel. And twisted. And not like a good Father at all.
I don't think it sounds much like Jesus. The One who reached for the wounded. The One who lifted up the children. The One who looked people in their weary eyes. The One who grabbed onto Peter when his head sank beneath the waves (Matthew 14).
I don't think He's waiting to ambush me the moment I tell Him that I want to trust. I think the world and its ways hold enough trials to break us wide open for the healing. I think Satan and his schemes provide ample opportunity for us to flounder.
When I was in high school, I worked at a day camp. One afternoon, a kindergartener slipped off of the monkey bars. I watched it happen in slow motion, too far away to catch her but close enough to see the awkward angle of her wrist and to hear the quiet whimper of pain before she found the breath to scream. I went to her, and I knelt there beside her, and I gathered her up as carefully as I could and held her until the camp director got there.
The next morning, I got called into the office and asked what had happened. And I realized that they thought I had somehow dropped her, that I had somehow wounded the child I’d only wanted to comfort.
How many times do we think God caused our pain simply because He is the first One on the scene?
As far as I can tell, we make enough messes all on our own. I don't think God is forced to think them up. I don't think God has to dole out the pain.
I think the Lord is waiting to rescue.
I think He's waiting to reach.
I think He's waiting to show Himself faithful.
I think He's kneeling down beside us right here in the middle of messes that He did not create.
I read a quote by Preston Yancey yesterday (he wrote a book called Tables in the Wilderness, which is really good, by the way!). This quote was on Twitter and he said:
"There's a deep valley of difference between saying something is purposed by God and [saying] God will bring something purpose."
That is what got me thinking in this direction. Yes, He will bring purpose. No, He might not have purposed it. Yes, He will use what would otherwise break us. No, I'm not sure He's the One who set that awful plan in motion.
Sometimes people make terrible decisions, and we are left reeling in the midst of them. Sometimes wemake our own terrible decisions. Sometimes we are casualties of a war God did not ordain. Can He redeem it? Can He use it to bring about His glory and our good? Yes, but the very fact that redemption is necessary suggests to me that He did not intend the breech in the first place.
There's one who comes to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10), but it isn't God. God came to defeat the destroyer, entered right into the depth of death in order to bring life.
And so I come again to trust.
I want to trust You.
It's safe to ask. He won't reign down terror just to teach us to trust. He will meet us right here in the middle of a world with plenty of terror all on its own. Right here at the crossroads. Right here where we were wounded or mocked or cast aside. Right here where we aren't sure which way to go.
Right here. Right there. Wherever we are. We can look to a God who didn't aim to wound us but has knelt down beside us and gathered us up to Himself. He has come to heal, to comfort, to listen, to restore.
And He will teach us to trust.
By showing us His faithfulness in the middle of a world trying its very hardest to disprove it.