Saturday, November 24, 2012

what is trust?

My dad used to take me fishing.  We'd drive up to Eleven-Mile Canyon near Lake George, Colorado and spend a weekend camping, hiking, and catching as many rainbow trout as we could fit on the long chain that hung into the stream to keep those dead scale-wearers cold until we could cook them over the open flame of our fire.  I recall one particular trip that was almost more than either one of us could manage.

First, on the way up, the road had been washed away by a storm, and we got the truck and camper stuck in a ditch.  I'll spare you the expletives my young ears heard that day, but somehow, he managed to prop it up with the anchors so the wheels could grip something and find the road again.  Next, another unexpected rain came and we made the fish wait another day for the florescent pink salmon eggs while we played cards in the camper.  Finally, Sunday was warm and sunny, so we set out for the river with high hopes for a huge catch.  We might have caught one before having to turn in early so he could get me back to my mom's on time and not get in trouble.  I remember the walk back to the truck with startling clarity.

Though the path was slick and branches covered every trace of the way back, I followed him, hurrying my little steps to match his long strides.  My fishing rod kept getting tangled in the trees, so he carried it for me, along with the tackle box, our meager catch, and a little lunch in his one large hand; my little fingers wrapped tightly around two fingers of his other. And I would have followed him to the moon.

This is trust.  Had he earned it? In part.  As dysfunctional as my addict-of-a-father was, my eyes only seemed to see his protection of and adoration for me. So wherever he went, I yearned to follow.  Whatever he said, I just believed.  He could have told me the sky was green and the grass was purple.  Whatever he gave, I took and treasured.  Looking back, I realize that in some portion my trust was misguided, but if nothing else, I learned this from John Douglas Mills: what it feels like to have a child-like faith.

When I miss him, I've learned to direct my love to Jehovah, and to trust in Him with that same kind of faith.  Pure. Innocent. Undeterred. Lacking all skepticism.  This is trust. 

"Turn your ear and hear the words of the wise;
    focus your mind on my knowledge.
18     It will be pleasant if you keep the words in you,
    if you have them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust will be in the Lord,
    I’m teaching you today—yes, you." -Proverb 22:17-19 (CEB)

Trust equals surrender.  Peace though it doesn't appear right or good. Open-handed living, and releasing control as we crucify all grasping and striving postures of our hearts.  It is resting in the knowing - He will have His will if I don't get in the way and if I cooperate in obedient passion to serve Christ.  This is trust.

Coming to know God's instructions and wisdom in genuine consumption of the Bread leads to trusting Him.  And trusting Him leads to a fulfilling life. 

"The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God  [Trusting Him]
    is plenty and honor and a satisfying life."

          -Proverb 22:4 (Msg)

King David in 2 Samuel knew a thing or two about trust. And then he learned one more.  Took a census when he knew better.  And took a rebuke straight across the jaw for it from his high commander.  We ask ourselves what was so wrong about counting the people when the entire book of Numbers is about just that?  How faithful the Word is to give us clues like this:

"But when it was all done, David was overwhelmed with guilt because he had counted the people, replacing trust with statistics." - 2 Samuel 24:10 (Msg.)

My guilt could be added on the same scale.  I trust numbers more than God sometimes too.  Numbers in the bank account, on my pay stub, in the pews (or missing from them), at the voting booths, and on my reading list.  Lord, forgive me too.  I want to choose trust in You alone.

"Our ancestors put their trust in you;
    they trusted you, and you saved them.
They called to you and escaped from danger;
    they trusted you and were not disappointed.

Future generations will serve him;
    they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
31 People not yet born will be told:
    'The Lord saved his people.' " -Psalm 22: 4-5, 30-31 (GNT)

The Lord God, Adonai is His name - He alone is faithful.  For all of our ancestors past, and for all generations to come.  The one who has been trusted since the beginning of humanity is the same one who will be trusted in eternity.  This, this God of all Ages - yes, this is the one I can hold onto.  Grasp His hand in my small one and never let go.  Follow with reckless abandon - yes, even to the moon.  Whatever He tells me I can take as truth, know as sure as the dawn, and even more so.  Whatever He gives me and calls good I can take to my heart and keep it as if it were a treasured gift, even when to me it seems like it might not be good at all.  

Lord, forgive me for trusting statistics instead of trusting You. For trusting numbers or the law or others' opinions over trusting You.  Only You are trustworthy, only You are faithful.  When all else is fickle, You, Oh God are Constant.  I really do love that about You.

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