An Issue of Trust

7 01 2009

First post of 2009 – better make it a good one.

Recent events have caused me to re-evaluate the level of detail I choose to divulge in this journal; would it not be nice if one could read my posts and be able to get a real picture of who I am as a person? But for that to happen, I will have to work with a whole new level of vulnerability – every thought, word, and deed committed to my postcards will now be open to public scrutiny.

I don’t know how some people do it – you read their blogs and you feel like you know the person on a rather intimate level. It might even appeal to some of you – until you get into serious trouble for it. It’s happened to me – a case of the wrong people having access to the wrong kind of postcard – and opening myself to such an attack again does not really appeal to my sensibilities.

And yet…I do wish to allow people to get to know me.

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I’m going through the Psalms and Proverbs right now, and it occurred to me that pretty much every single Psalm contains some expression of trust in God – overtly or otherwise. Take a look yourself – you would be hard-pressed to find one where the author does not say something along the lines of, “Happy is he who trusts in the Lord” or “The Lord is  my Rock…in whom I will trust.” Even the familiar “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” is already an expression of trust.

Which leads me to believe that the linchpin of the whole of the Psalms is really that: Trust. Every song of praise, thanksgiving, supplication, and lament is built on an underlying trust in the Lord – that no matter what we might have to say, the Lord can take it – and what’s more, will make something beautiful out of it.

Which leads me to ponder the nature of trust – most timely, because nowadays it seems its either I learn to trust or, as the song Loser Like Me puts it, “I’ll fade into the night”.

I realize I don’t fully understand it; I’ve known about it for years, but never really took the time to consider the point: what does it mean to really place one’s absolute trust in God?

If it is a feeling, I don’t think I’ve ever had it. Instead, I’ve always gotten this nagging feeling that I’ve overlooked some detail that prevents God from doing His thing in and with my life. Is it a state of mind and body, where my adrenal glands are still, my heartrate is a steady 65bpm, and my mind is free of worries? Never been there. When I don’t get excited (or disappointed) by something, it’s usually because I don’t care about it…not exactly the picture of trust that the psalmists had in mind.

So what does it really mean to trust God?

I don’t think I can offer a final answer to that question, but I have been learning things along the way: 1.) Trust is revealed in our actions/decision-making. I would like to think that this is ultimately independent from how we might feel about the situation. You know when you’re so anxious about something, you can’t eat, sleep, or function like a normal human being? You might feel that way, but if you really are placing your trust in God, you won’t let that feeling dictate your actions. 2.) Trust is expressed through prayer/communication with God. Time and time again, when I’m tearing around the place trying to find a concrete way to trust God, I come up against this one-word rebuke: pray. It so simple, it seems silly. To be perfectly honest about it, I still feel like it’s too simple to be real; it can’t be that easy, right? Well, from where I stand right now, I’ll try it anyway: there’s little else that can be done.

And it turns out, praying when you feel like you should be doing something else is not easy – with thoughts and imaginings ping-ponging back and forth between the hemispheres of my brain, it takes considerable effort to put in a cohesive sentence.

I don’t know: maybe I was taught that God helps those who help themselves – a saying, when taken to the extreme, completely excludes God from the picture. Thus, when presented with a potentially unfavorable situation, my first reaction is to try and fix it – to do something. I think back during one of my college days, when I was chairperson of the Dormitories Christian Fellowship (an appointment I still don’t know how I got) – a friend of mine told me, during a difficult conversation (I’m starting to grow fond of difficult conversations with friends – the parties involved cannot be pretentious for very long before it all comes crashing down, and you can finally get to know people as they really are. Too bad most people avoid such conversations.), that my leadership style seemed to be centered around my own strength.

I was young and considerably more-foolish than I suppose myself to be now – I sort of sniffed at her comment and mentally brushed it aside (“What do you know about leadership? I don’t see you leading anyone!”) – but maybe she was right. Everything seemed to be going fine from my perspective, and maybe, just maybe, the force of my personality (or whatever it was) was enough to keep things with the ministry afloat…but not anymore. Not now.

Simply because there’s nothing I can do about the situation. 8 years ago, there was always somebody to talk to or a phonecall to make in order to remedy a situation – but not now. Now, there is only to trust.

So I am learning (crawling seems to be amore apt illustration); learning to see beyond mere emotions and look (or attempt to look), with spiritual eyes, at the bigger picture. There are days when the bigger picture doesn’t feel like it’s worth the trouble – and so I am learning to cling stubbornly to the truth that it is (it makes for hard clinging…the skin of my teeth and my fingernails feel worn out). Oh, and did I mention sometimes I cannot see the bigger picture at all? So I learn to pray…and by praying, perhaps, I learn to trust.

As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awaken in Your likeness.

PSALM 17:15

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