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. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:1,6)
Do you remember or have you experienced a “trust walk” or “trust fall?” These were common group building activities during my leadership days of youth groups and adult retreats. These activities were often met with skepticism and fear as people wondered if they could really trust to be led blindfolded without incident or fall backwards without crashing to the ground. Unlike many video clips on Snapchat, Tiktok and other venues that celebrate failures of trust, the goal of these activities was to build a sense of confidence in others. Trust in an individual is essential to deepening relationship with that person. Likewise trust in a community is important if the community is to flourish.
We learn to trust and distrust from the earliest times in our lives. My mother had a miscarriage prior to my birth, and she was desperately anxious and fearful as she carried me; fear of losing another baby. Later she confided her deep worry that her anxiety and fear was somehow instinctively transferred to me in the womb which would in turn make trust come more difficult to me. As infants and young children, we learn to explore life without fear when there is a safety net of security around us provided by parents and other significant adults. When an environment of security and trust is not present, children and young people find other ways to fill that void, often in harmful ways. Of course, we have all experienced times when trust has been broken by promises not kept.
The Christian faith has a lot to do with trust. Our faith is not a blind leap into an abyss, rather the object of our faith is God incarnate whom we know through Jesus Christ. Christian hymnody is replete with the encouragement to trust the one who has given his life for us. “Only Trust Him” was written by a Methodist pastor John Stockton using some identical verbiage from Charles Wesley hymns like “come every soul by sin oppressed there’s mercy with the Lord.”
Of course, we acknowledge the passage from Hebrews that faith is assurance of what we do not currently see, yet we press on. As we begin another Monday, it can be easy to become discouraged when things that we hope for have not materialized. Sometimes our faith seems weak. Today, when overwhelmed with the complexities and the challenges of life, do not give up, keep on trusting. I am encouraged by the cloud of witnesses from parents, grandparents and spiritual leaders in whom I have seen deep faith demonstrated. May we trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, even when the way does not seem clear.
Gracious God, sometimes it is not easy to trust. When doubts come our way, help us to rest on your promises, confident that you will guide us and knowing that you are always with us. Amen.