Saturday, January 12, 2013

Trust fall

Let not your heart be troubled.  (You) trust God; trust also in me.  John 14:1

I started this year with the question, "What does it mean to trust God?"

I didn't mean that I wanted to learn HOW to trust God--I'm not that stupid.  I just wanted to figure out what we mean when we use that phrase.

Does it mean that we trust God for a specific outcome?  To heal our friend, for example, or to keep us safe?  To answer our prayers the way we pray them?

Do we mean that, whatever happens, we can be confident that it was God's will (general, specific, permissive, whatever) and that he intends it for our good?

Are we trying to get ourselves to a point of surrender that can accept whatever comes?  Do we trust that God will be present and grieve with us if what comes is evil and not good?  When that happens, are we trusting that God will redeem it, eventually working it for our good?

I struggle with the concept of trust, in part, because I don't understand what exactly it means.  What does it mean in the light of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Sudan and schizophrenia and, for God's sake, the Cross?

When you say, "I trust God," (if you have the audacity to say that), what do you mean?  I really want to know.


Crystal said...

Trust: its a noun. Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of God. Its a never ending process of reliance or what I call dependence of God. We are depending on God for the "big picture" and know that I do not nor will or may never fully understand the "big picture" but rely on the fact that He does. Its the same with a child. That trust of a child is also based on dependence. I depend that He has me in His hands and that is with finance, illness, burdens, the littlest annoying things in life...He has control of it all. If I don't trust....belive...have faith....all are tied into one....then what do we have? The same goes for another human being.

Todd Boring said...

T -

I HIGHLY recommend a book called "The Speed of Trust" by Stephen M.R. Covey. Covey defines trust simply as confidence. Lack of trust as suspicion.

So what does it mean to simply trust God? Well for one thing trusting God isn't simple. Trust takes time to build. Being confident that 'everything will work out all right in the end' doesn't feel like trust to me. And what does "everything will work out all right in the end" look like anyway? Who defines what "everything working out" looks like? Usually the person talking about everything working out. :)

Trust is relational. It is intimately tied with knowing and being known. I trust you because I know you. Because I have risked things with you and found you trustworthy.

I was reading the story of the prodigal son in The Message a few days ago and I was reminded that one of God's character traits I see frequently is his tenacious love for hopeless cases. He loves the underdog. He lives for the longshot. My life has proven this over and over as I fall on my face. And so I have grown to have confidence that he will be there come what may. Yeah, Jesus says he'll always be there, but actually going through difficult times and having him show up again and again is a different thing. Trust grows.

My trust in God is not blind. I do not trust God to protect my stuff for example. My experience with God is that he doesn't care nearly as much about my stuff as I do. Nor do I trust God with my reputation. I've found God doesn't give a hoot about my reputation.

He does care about me, though. And when we had a house fire and I lost a bunch of stuff he was there and he cared about how I felt. And when I do something stupid and ruin the shiny golden image I try to maintain, he's there too. Usually with a big grin on his face, saying "I like you better without all that shine."


Kara Nadine said...

trust is hard for people born into a world where trust is broken - trust does not function as it was designed and so we fear to use it. our brains long to put it in place w/ those closest to us, and then it freaks out when those bonds are broken (accident or purpose, doesnt make much difference). so, to trust God, it is our impossible task! i believe it was the first sin - distrust, as todd said, suspicion. what are we to do w/ that? how do we dare say, "ok God, i trust you." just thinking about is invites fear, or perhaps challenge it. yes, i think we do it because we have to, we are called to - we are commanded to love God w/ heart soul mind strength - that means absolute trust. when we dont, we die (inside and out), when we do he provides life w/ depth. ironically, i think it lines up w/ why people are drawn to scary movies and dangerous adventures - we need to know our hearts are beating. to say, "i trust God" puts our hearts out there, and when we follow him, we know we're alive. i'd rather be terrified because i'm following God than to find i need to scare myself awake.
it's funny, i just wrote a blog i titled, "geronimo".

Kris Beavers-who is Sew Not a Girly Girl said...

I think that exercising trust in God is a lot like experiencing the grace God gives.

It is not a "one size fits all" kind of thing. It's specific to the situation.

Overall trust in the integrity of God is different than trusting Him in a specific matter.

I think trust, like grace, is one day at a time. And if 24 hours is too much to ask, we can break it down in smaller say 10 minute stretches.