To Trust in God
When I was a child, this was my favorite song from Vacation Bible Study. I loved the hand gestures, the upbeat attitude, and the simpleness. All I had to do was trust in the Lord with my whole heart, and nothing would go wrong. He loved me and would take care of everything. It was simple.
Of course I was a child, and as I grew I found that it was not so simple. My life certainly wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t seem as rosy as my favorite song suggested it would be. My path became crooked. I lost my rose colored glasses, and the childish faith that I had disappeared, to be replaced by a vague awareness that there was a God and that I wanted to please Him, though I wasn’t sure how.
As time went on, my faith followed a typical “ebb and flow”, characterized by times of intense devotion followed by times of intense disinterest. Eventually I found myself a blessed member of the Roman Catholic Church, and slowly my understanding of God’s love has been evolving. All the while, I’ve wrestled with the idea of trusting God. What does it mean to trust Him? How do I trust God?
The Bible is full of people who put their trust in God. When we look at their examples, I think we can see a pattern that is applicable to our own lives, regardless of any circumstances. It is certainly not an easy pattern to follow, and I know for myself that it will take my whole life to trust God as the Saints have.
So how did they trust? Courageously. When Mary said her “Yes” to God, she was not being a silly little girl excited at the prospect of having a baby. She knew what the consequences were for having a child out of wedlock. She knew what very likely could happen to her, and yet she also knew that if God was asking something of her, that fear could not hold her back. I don’t think she wasn’t afraid. She was human after all. But she trusted, she said Yes in spite of any fear, and our Messiah was born. Saul/Paul is a great example also of courageous trust. First of all, he viewed any Christian (or “follower of the Way” Acts 9:2) as Public Enemy #1. His mission was to kill any who belonged to the Way, and he did this in a very public manner. Then he is blinded by Christ, is instructed by Him to go into a town, and wait to be told what to do. And he does it! I cannot imagine what the fallout of that was in the higher Jewish circles. And of course, Saul had to trust in Christ’s mercy, before he even knew of it. That’s courage. Neither Saul nor Mary were wishy washy people, able to be pushed along by whatever tide was the strongest. They had convictions. They had things to lose. And it was those very things they had to lose that they courageously gave to God, without ever looking back.
The saints and others in the Bible also trusted completely. At times, God’s call included a change of profession, marital habits, and social circles. Surprisingly, His call is still the same for us! When Christ called the Apostles, He asked them to leave professions they were (probably) good at, professions which supported themselves and their families, for a life of unknowns. St. Peter was married as we can infer from references to his mother-in-law, and I can’t even imagine the strain that his new life in Christ may have put on his marriage, at least at first in the learning period. As Catholics, we believe that Mary and Joseph had a chaste marriage, which is not what I think Joseph at least was expecting.
Have you noticed anything else? I’ve been using phrases like “not what [I] was expecting” or “I can’t imagine/fathom why/how” etc. I think trust in God also can take us by surprise. When I was a kid I thought trust was followed by things to be expected, like how I trusted that my parents would feed me, and by dinner there was a nice hot meal ready. But that’s not always how it works with God. When we trust our lives to Him, we can no longer have any idea what they will be like. I have my ideas about what my marriage will be like, but I trust God, so I know that the next 40+ years of my life are most likely going to be nothing like what I imagined.
The above song is still my favorite song from VBS. Not because of its simplicity, but because of its complexity. Trusting in God is such a mysterious adventure, so much better than what I thought it would be. Harder absolutely. But then, when has anything worthwhile ever been easy?
We all need reminders about the awesomeness of putting trust in God. Every day I say I trust, but then I make a back up plan. You know, just in case the Creator of the Universe forgets something. What are some quotes or examples that you keep with you, to remind you how to put your trust in God?