April 1, 2008
There is an old story of a father who took his young son out and stood him on the railing of the back porch. He then went down, stood on the lawn, and encouraged his son to jump into his arms. “I’ll catch you,” the father said confidently. After a lot of coaxing, the little boy finally made the leap. When he did, the father stepped back and let the child fall to the ground. He then picked his son up, dusted him off, and dried his tears. “Let that be a lesson,” he said sternly. “Don’t ever trust anyone.”
As children we’re born with a great capacity to trust. And yet, it usually doesn’t take long for us to come to the realization that trust can be hurtful. The world we live in can be very cruel.
How fragile is trust. How crucial?
Many of us have been taught to see ourselves as less than what God has created us to be. We have been repeatedly told that we will never amount to much - never be seen as successful. We simply do not have what it takes. Untrustworthy, we are one step away from complete and disastrous failure.
Without trust, our relations with others are governed by our own need for self-preservation. Without trust, marriage becomes a partnership of guarded commitment. Without trust, our relationship with God is restricted by our own understanding of life.
James Brown writes in “Discoveries”: “Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation. Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him.
He very calmly said to me, “There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again.” At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, “Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.” That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years.”
God invites us to trust Him through love - commitment to us demonstrated by crucifixion at the hands of those who refuse to trust Him (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). God continually demonstrates His trustworthiness through His fulfilled promises and provision for our lives. He is always trustworthy.
As we choose to trust God (even if initially these are small beginning steps of trust), we learn that He is trustworthy. Finding Him trustworthy we learn to trust Him in even more challenging circumstances. While trust can be incrementally taken from us, it can be incrementally added to our lives.
Learning to trust God - learning to have confidence and security in Him - can open the door for us to move beyond our own insecurities and to learn to trust others. In other words, if we trust that God will take care of us no matter what happens, then perhaps we can take a small step of trusting someone else.
David, who had many reasons to live without trust, writes these words of encouragement, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped” (Psalm 28:7a).
May we learn to do the same and so to know God’s help in our lives.