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Posts Tagged ‘trusting God’

Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.   Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was overwhelmed recently by three little words.   They weren’t the three little words that usually capture our attention, but they were refreshing, inspiring and uplifting just the same.   The three little words were:  ‘I trust you’.

Trust can be difficult to find and easy to lose. From a young age we are warned not to trust strangers.  It’s confusing knowing who we can trust.  Sometimes it’s easier to trust no-one.  We are told that people must earn our trust, but how do we work out the price to win us over?  Even when we avoid those with shifty eyes, bad reputations or recent convictions, often it’s a close friend or family member who lets us down.   Perhaps the only loyal companion we will ever have is our pet dog, yet ever he has his snappy days.

It seems to me that a general lack of trust and the need to protect ourselves from hurt and betrayal is a normal way of existing in our culture.  Our workplaces and relationships are infected with a vague but persistent hint of suspicion.   We use paperwork as a buffer against deceit:  forms, policies and agreements are put in place to shield and protect us.   Hollywood movie-stars are beset with cheating partners despite their stunning looks and sparkling personalities.   If it happens to them, what hope is there for the rest of us? Mistrust can be infectious too.  As Harold MacMillan observes:    “A man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts.”

Since starting my new job I’ve been reminded of the value of trust.   Nervous and uncertain, I arrived in a community of kind and gracious people.   It’s early days yet, but I am overwhelmed by a lingering sense of trust.  Being trusted is affirming and life-giving.   Trust is like sunlight and oxygen to a crushed spirit.  It is a catalyst for growth in self-confidence, motivation and enthusiasm.

Not being trusted does the opposite. Have you ever been in a relationship where your partner doesn’t trust you?  I once had a boyfriend who flew into a jealous rage if I arrived home half an hour late from work, couldn’t cope with me going out with my girlfriends and questioned my every move.  The crazy thing was, I was trustworthy.  Yet by the end of the relationship I was so exasperated there seemed little point in remaining faithful and I began to doubt my own integrity.

What a relief it was to meet my husband who never questioned me when I was late and told me to have fun every time I went out with my friends.  There were never any questions or accusations.   I felt trusted and so I could be trustworthy.

To grow up without trust and belief from your caregivers is to grow up believing that you are not to be trusted and perhaps even that you are inexplicably flawed.   It is no surprise that children who grow up in dysfunctional families find it hard to trust.   If there is no intervention from outside the home, how are they to escape the mindset they grew up with?   Children need trust to grow up whole and functioning.  To trust your child is to weave self-confidence and joy into their life so they will grow up feeling that they are valued and have something to offer the world. 

But trusting is hard.  Trusting leaves us vulnerable.  Yet to live without trust is to miss out on so much and to suffer both personally and as a society.  As Jonathan Tame puts it:

With any loss of trust, relational capital diminishes. Society becomes poorer as more time is taken drawing up detailed contracts and regulations, more funds are spent on security, surveillance and policing, and health declines because people grow more anxious.   

The Christian faith is built on trust.  Whatever you make of it, the story of God sending Jesus to demonstrate his great love for us is a story of daring to trust.  While we didn’t want to know him, God could see our potential goodness.   We ignore him, deny his existence and ridicule him, he doesn’t give up on us.   When we finally recognise the extent of his love and graciousness, our own trust naturally follows:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge…  Psalm 62:8

When I look at the times I’ve trusted and been disappointed I no longer feel ashamed.   If we put our faith in a philanderer or confide in a friend who gossips behind our back, have we failed or have they?   If we dare to trust we have acted with bravery and integrity.   The betrayal is a reflection of the flaws of the other person and we can walk away knowing we tried our best and that next time may be different. 

So if you want to extend the ultimate compliment and offer a life-line of hope to someone, just say three little words.   “I trust you“.   You never know, those words may be the seeds that transform a life and the boomerang of grace that will one day return to you.

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I’ve been reading a wonderful old book – HINDS FEET ON HIGH PLACES by Hannah Hurnard.

It’s a parable about the journey a girl called ‘Much Afraid’ takes with The Shepherd from the Valley of Humiliation to the High Places.

A crippled, ugly and fearful girl is gradually transformed as she follows the Shepherd and learns to listen to his voice.  At the end of the story her name is changed from ‘Much Afraid’ to ‘Grace and Glory’.

Now some old books are a bit old-fashioned & irrelevant to our lives today – but not this one!  I believe ‘Much Afraid’s’ journey is very similar to the journey each of us must take when we come to know God.

Hannah was inspired to write the story in 1949 on a 3 week visit to Switzerland after her father died.  She was heading back to Israel to continue her missionary work but took some time out to allow God to speak to her in the beauty of the Alps.

She was blessed with a breathtaking view out of her bedroom window of mountain ranges, snow peaks, a lush green valley and fields of colourful flowers.

On 31st May Hannah celebrated her 44th birthday.  However, she awoke to a disappointing thick curtain of mist outside her window.  The mountains, valley and colourful flowers had disappeared.   If someone had never been there before they would never guess what lay beyond the mist.  Hannah felt that all she had loved and rejoiced over was gone.

As she gazed out at the mist she heard God speak to her and recorded his words in her journal:

‘But it is all there’, says the loving Lord, ‘though you cannot see any of it, for it has been completely blotted out and apparently vanished into nothingness.  But, remember, nothing is missing.  It is invisible now but it is waiting to become visible again…. Believe steadfastly in the invisible things.  For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.’

There are times in our lives when we all must walk through the mist.

One time in my life which comes to mind was when my two boys were under two.  I had begun restoring a shaky relationship with God and was making baby steps in attending church after years of absence.  I was feeling really happy.  Then one afternoon while I was preparing dinner I had a call from my doctor to tell me I had cancer and I needed emergency surgery.

It was one of those times when I felt like God had vanished – that he had forgotten me – or perhaps that he wasn’t there at all.   The mist rolled in and everything I thought was certain became uncertain.

Perhaps you have been there too, or perhaps you are in the mist right now?

These are the times when we need to hold on tight to the truth.  Hannah couldn’t see the magnificent mountains outside her window, but they were still there.  In the same way, no matter what you are going through or will go through, God is still there.  He is working behind the scenes to transform you and give you the strength and courage you need.

As Max Lucado puts it:  “God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way”

Jesus knew what it was to walk in the mist.

If we look at the last supper in a purely physical way, what do we see?

A kind, loving, inspirational young man in his prime – a light in a dark world – about to be betrayed by one of his close friends – to be tortured and killed like a criminal when he had done nothing wrong.

Had God forsaken him?   Had God made a mistake?  Was He powerless to stop this tragedy?  Or worse still, had Jesus put his trust in a mythical God?

If we had been there it would be easy to think so.

Yet behind that mist of sorrow, pain and suffering was an amazing plan – far bigger than our human minds could comprehend.

If we dare to look beyond the physical, we see that it wasn’t a mistake at all but God’s powerful hand reaching out to reconcile mankind to himself.

God had the victory that day over sin and death – and he continues to have the victory in each of our lives if we let him.

We just need to keep trusting him, looking beyond what we can see with our eyes, and focusing on Him.

Perhaps you’ve lost hope.  Perhaps you feel God has let you down, or even that’s he doesn’t exist.

I pray that God will clear away the mist and give you a new perspective and a renewed confidence in his love for you.

No matter how dark today may look, the light will return.   Remember the words Hannah heard in the mist that day:  ‘Believe steadfastly in the invisible things.’    Do this and the victory is already yours.

The Lord God is my strength and he will make my feet like Hinds Feet, and he will make me walk on the High Places.    Habakkuk 3:19

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