Trust is a Funny Thing

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Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Trust is a funny thing.

I was thinking about trust, and placing trust in either inanimate objects or in an animal, or in a person. I know I have tiers of trust, that are often complex and hard to break through.

I will sit on a chair without checking the handiwork of it for its soundness. In my experience, a chair has never let me down; so placing my confidence that one will hold me up is an easy feat.

Trusting an animal, a pet for instance, is easy also. I know my own dog will not bite me, I can play with it, take its food away, give it toys, throw a stick, or grab a ball from its mouth and I know I will not be harmed. I can trust my own dog, because I know it, and I am the hand that feeds it. I wouldn’t put my face near a dog that was not my own though. I know boundaries exist among pets and animals. It is something I assume and rely on, even though my experience has never gotten me bit by a dog. (Trusting a cat is an entirely different matter…)

How about people? Do you trust people readily? I tend not to. Perhaps it is my skeptical personality, maybe my upbringing, maybe just my own evaluation of myself causes me to doubt others. I have a very close and small circle of persons I will trust. Maybe a total of 4 people whom I trust entirely. I can think of who they are with no hesitation, and I think they would know who they are if they read this.

Have you ever sent a package in the mail? You trust the postal service will get it to its destination, in one piece. I was sending a box of books, to an unknown recipient, who purchased those from me, at a reasonable price; and I suddenly felt like I wanted to rush out of the post office and not send them, but I didn’t. I am counting on a relatively unknown to make good on their word to also have sent me the check for said books. In “good faith” I sent the package, and I can only hope that the person will also send their check, in same “good faith” that I will post the books as agreed upon. Not a simple test of faith exactly, but it was for me an act of trust. (I’ll certainly let you know if they fail to keep their end of the deal.)

I have no reasonable cause for doubt, I just doubt because it seems reasonable to do so. It did cause me to ponder though, how little faith I put in my fellow man on a regular basis.

Perhaps it is like what  C. S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed :

 “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”

When sending a package and expecting payment, that trust is slightly easier to come by. It is material goods, money, things replaceable that won’t last forever. When it is trust in character, that someone will watch your back, or keep your secret, the stakes change. Psalm 118:8-9 says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (NASB) While trusting in people can be good, it builds relationship, strengthens friendship, and generates character, it is better to trust the only one who will not fail or disappoint; who is God Himself. Countless times, when I felt doubt (which is not bad itself), I have been comforted by the fact that God has come through. When bills were due and we were unemployed, we prayed, and God provided what we needed. There were times when I felt like my own faith was weak, and in those times, I have found Him to be my strength. It is a hard concept to explain to those who are facing doubt, and distrust of God, it is not something concrete that can be felt and handled. Few had that opportunity 2000 years ago, when Jesus walked the earth. I feel so often like Thomas (one of the Apostles), who’s story is in John 20:24-29. He doubted, he was told Jesus Christ arose from the dead and was living. He responded, “Show me, let me touch and see, then I’ll believe.” And he had to wait 8 days to get his answer. 8 long days to ponder his own doubt, to hear what others had testified, to play it over in his head, to think about the death, the cross, the burial. I think if I was there, I would have doubted too. Then Jesus came, he stood there and allowed Thomas to see, smell, and feel the very living Christ. Thomas only had to reply, “My Lord, My God.” He saw and believed. Not so difficult, right? Isn’t the phrase, “seeing is believing” what happened there? Jesus then said, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are those who did not see, and yet believed.”

We don’t get to see, we don’t feel with our hands Jesus Christ. We are left to trust that what’s written is truth. While I could continue on about the manuscripts being the most reliable documents in all recorded history, the historians who have studied, the scientists who continue to prove the facts told in the Bible; I myself am not a scholar, and won’t dabble in those debates. This I know, I trust entirely, implicitly, that the Bible is true and I will bet my life on this, that Jesus Christ is who He says He is, and that the events recorded are fact. I don’t trust it because of all of the data compiled or the studies and research evidence that can be found. I trust that God is God because of the personal impact in my own life and the change that the truth of the gospel has made in my life and in the lives of people I know.

While I count myself among the skeptics, the untrusting, I will say, along with Thomas, “My Lord and My God.”

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