Thursday, September 22, 2016

Learning to Trust: A Devotional

“Trust the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” —Prov 3:5

The Bible has a lot to say about trusting God. Isaiah 26:4 reads, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Jesus framed it this way, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). The vast story of the Bible seems to highlight story after story that contrasts those who trusted God with those who did not.

Trust can be imagined with the word picture of the putting our weight upon something. As we see in the passage from Proverbs quote above, trusting the Lord, is set in contrast to “leaning” on our own understanding. When we lean against a wall, we trust that wall. When we sit in a chair, we are putting our weight upon the chair. When we take a step, we lean into the leg that steps out and onto the ground that holds up that leg, thereby trusting our leg and that piece of ground.

When it comes to the question of trusting God, we can lean on God or lean on what we comprehend. If we were to sit two chairs next to own another, one labeled “God” and the other labeled “Myself.” We cannot sit on two chairs at the same time. We have to choose. If we step forward on a path, we can only put our foot on one path at a time.

This kind of trust calls for a simple naïveté, a putting our weight on God when it does not make sense in a world that does not operate in this way. Like like Noah building a huge boat when no one had ever seen rain before, we are called to trust God to be our all in the midst of a world where few have seen God come through like that before. Like the boy Samuel who heard God's voice calling him, we are called to trust that God speaks, even though most people might think that such things are just imagined. Like Jesus who picked up his cross and gave up his life for others, we are called to be a servant in the midst of a me-first world.

Trust means that we take a step with God when we don't know where the path will lead. It may often mean that the path will be covered with a fog where we cannot see anything more than the fact that God is walking beside us. And it definitely means that we cannot predict the outcome. Trust involves more questions than answers.
Today, we can lean into God, or we can lean into our own thinking, on the things that we can prove and justify. If trusting God coincided with that which we can know and do on our own, then why would we need God? We could just trust our own thoughts and our own abilities to make it happen. Why would the Bible make such wild claims about the promises of God and how God has and does fulfill those promises if in fact trusting God did not require our stepping out into an unknown place, where we don't know if God will be there to hold us up? 

Trusting is about putting all our weight on God. This is the only way that we can walk with God. If we try to trust own understanding and trust God at the same time, we are like a person trying to put his or her foot on two places at the same time. It just doesn't work. The trusting step God is calling you to take will not be fully explained by God up front. It wouldn't require trust if that were the case. Trust is trust because we are stepping out on a path that is covered by clouds, mist, and fog. We trust that God is with us on the path, not the path itself.

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