What do you mean, trust? You’ve heard it all before: trust jumps, trust falls, or “just trust me.” When my children were little, I (Ben) would tell them to jump and that I would catch them. They did it without question. As we get older, we go to team-building conferences that encourage us to trust our team members and fall into their arms. And then there is the one that we have all most likely heard: just trust me. I (Sonya) never learned to swim as a child and have not yet learned as an adult. I tried it once and discovered that it was not my instructor that I didn’t trust as much as it was a lack of trust in my own abilities.
In recent days, due to the terrible storms and wildfires that have ravaged our country, we have seen lots of people having to trust total strangers. These people have been clinging to trees, roof tops, and cars, yet in just a matter of a few moments they place their self in the trust of someone they did not know. As the fires approached their homes, people were forced to flee leaving their material possessions in the hands of firefighters. This past week, we watched as rescue workers dug through the rubble of earthquake-ravaged buildings in Mexico in their attempts to save a few survivors – all the while telling the victims of this natural disaster to “just trust me.”
In times of crisis, we often have no choice but to trust others. We are forced to wait and wonder if our trust will be rewarded with deliverance. But in our walk with Christ, we have a wonderful opportunity to trust Him not only in the difficult times of life but also in the every day circumstances we face. And there is a vast difference between the two. It is imperative that we learn to trust our Heavenly Father in the everyday moments. Read carefully Mark 9:17-24. A father came to Jesus on behalf of his demon-possessed son. He describes the situation that has plagued his son since childhood, and then he says, “…if you can do anything,….” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’? Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes.’” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Can you relate? This is a prayer that I often find myself whispering from the depths of my heart during the everyday circumstances of life. And sometimes I even hear myself crying out these very words in the dark and difficult times. Throughout the gospels, there are times when the disciples were forced to trust in Jesus. Remember the storm in Mark 4? Our loving Savior was asleep in the boat, and the storm came up quickly. The hearts of these men were terrified, so they went to their sleeping Savior. Did they trust Him? Maybe. A little. They knew enough to awaken him, but they didn’t trust His heart completely. “Do you even care that we perish?” What a question! They did not yet realize the depth of the Savior’s love for them. They did not understand that He longed for a relationship with them that went beyond the moment.
When we are suffering, it is only human nature that we want to know the “whys” and the “hows” of what is happening to us. Like Job, we spend an endless amount of time trying to figure out what we have done wrong, asking ourselves, God, and anyone who will listen why we deserve such hardships. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I am certain that I never did grow in grace one half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain.” In the midst of the pain, it’s hard to see the good. In the center of the storm, it’s easy to question God: Why did you let this happen? Where are you when I hurt? And once again, we cry out like the desperate father, “Oh! Help my unbelief!”
So, where is God when life hurts? Where is He when death is wrapping its cold fingers around the love of your life? Where is the Father when the child you have loved and sacrificed for runs wild? “Where is He?” we ask. Then, with a quiet whisper from the Holy Spirit, we find Him. Truthfully, we have known all along where God was because in His word we are reminded that he came to Earth and showed us His face. We have seen His heart touched by our grief, by the hunger that gnaws within us, and by the prodigal that is too often us. And since we serve a God that never changes, He is still moved today by all that hurts us; He suffers along with and beside us. God is where we are; He is waiting for us on the path to which pain has taken us. He is waiting and yet He is walking with us.
In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest . . . for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” When we move closer to the Father, maybe even crawl up onto His lap and lean into Him, we find the absolute promise of this verse fulfilled. Death may still come and the child may not return, but you will know without a doubt that in the midst of your hurt, the tears that flow are captured by God, and He will give you rest and peace.
Matt Redmon has a song titled Gracefully Broken. Listen to what it says:
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
My heart stands in awe of Your name
Your mighty love stands strong to the end
You will fulfill Your purpose for me
You won’t forsake me, You will be with me
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
When the hurt seems to never end, when the pain is excruciating, and when the night seems to go on forever, we are being Gracefully Broken for our good and His glory.
Ben and Sonya Hayes