I think two of the most ignored words in the English language are, “Trust me.” Whether it’s because we’ve been hurt in the past or because we doubt that anyone really cares, it’s immensely difficult for us to trust. I personally have run into this issue time and time again. I wrote a little bit about it over the summer, but basically I have a hard time letting people into my life. It might be because I’m wired to doubt that anyone really, truly cares about me since my dad was never there, but whatever it is, I am very uncomfortable when it comes to revealing something about myself. When it comes to admitting that I don’t feel loved, that I don’t feel accepted, that I don’t feel like there is any girl out there woman enough to put up with me, I freeze up. I get silent.
When I talk about these things to God, however, it often looks different than talking about these things with other people. My assumption is that He always knows what’s going on inside my heart and mind, so to state it would rather be redundant. Instead, I ask questions like, “God, why can’t I just be normal?” “Why is it easy for everyone else to date and marry and yet every time I’ve tried, I’ve been turned down?” or “Why am I not allowed things like a wife or a profession? Don’t you care?”
Throughout my college career, I’ve met up with my pastor Tony for a one-on-one Bible study. We pick various books of the New Testament and walk through them, chapter by chapter, every other week. We’ve recently been going through the book of Mark and this week we’re specifically looking at chapters 4-6. And since we’re meeting up on Friday and I have yet to read the chapters, I decided to start out my night in Scripture. Chapter four contains a lot of the popular subjects; sowing the word of God, not putting a lamp under a basket, and the parable of the mustard seed. Towards the end of the chapter is another popular one and usually the popular subjects don’t stand out to me. But just as Jesus was about to calm the storm that nearly sunk their boats, there is a phrase that struck my heart; “And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care…?” (v. 38).
“God, don’t you care that I’m tired of being single? Don’t you care that I want a more professional job than the one I have now? God don’t you care about what I’m going through?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked these questions. I get so caught up with my own wants, my own needs, my own problems, and my own pain that I forget there are other people in the world. I forget that life is a little bit bigger than my small little world – my small little boat that might sink. I can’t imagine how God feels about these kinds of questions, especially in this passage. He could have replied, “Yes, I do care; I care enough to take up the punishment that you deserve,” but He didn’t. He calmed the raging sea and merely said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
The answer to both the question from the disciples and the question from Jesus is “Yes.” God does care about our lives and yet we still lack the faith to trust Him. And it would seem like a very simple solution for God to just give us this faith, to give us a little more evidence that He’s there and that He cares. But that isn’t how faith is defined. If anything, that is treating God like we treat any household object; if it works and does what we want it to, then it has our trust. God, however, is not another household object that we push and pull around to fit our lives; He’s a person that has His own desires, His own wants, His own will. We strain and struggle to fit into His lifestyle; not the other way around.
If it renders the definition of “faith” pointless by merely increasing it on demand, then this means we have to take alternative ways to building our faith, to training ourselves to trust and to letting God take control. We sometimes have to work to trust Him, to put aside our anxieties and just continue on with the belief that He is there. And it’s not an unconscious trust in Him; we can’t just ignore our worries to make them go away. Oh no; God asks us – demands us – that we are fully aware and alert to how we feel and to what’s going on. He demands that we love Him with all our minds as well as all our hearts, souls and strengths. We are not mindless puppets.
Faith in God, then, is not blind either. It beckons us to acknowledge our problems, pains, and insecurities, and yet to surrender them up to God. Just like truly trusting a person (especially a spouse), we don’t open our hearts up ignoring the risks involved; we acknowledge them and yet believe they won’t let us down. That’s what it means to trust, to put one’s faith into someone. And as Scripture teaches, if we find ourselves trusting each other – though we are evil – we definitely ought to trust God.
I will not argue that it is easier, because I’ve found trusting anyone is difficult in its own right. But if there ever were a person to place one’s faith into, to trust, it ought to be God. It means struggling to remember He will never leave us or forsake us. It means not asking, “God, don’t you care?” but rather “God, will you help me to trust?” It means forcing yourself to take the leap; to acknowledge the danger of falling and yet push through it in the act of trust. “And yet” are the key words here.
Emotionally speaking, it is not always easy. For some things it’s easy to trust that God will pull through, like saying, “God I trust you to feed me today.” But for many other things, it isn’t. For me, saying, “God, this is part of my heart that I’m not proud of. If you go any further, you won’t like what you see. But go ahead,” is all a difficult thing to do. I’m inclined to say, “No God, this part of me is open to me alone; you can’t go any further.” And yet, I find that when I make a habit of not allowing God to care, I will frequently ask the opposite question, “God, don’t you care?”
Ultimately, it’s a matter of what we choose to do. God knows our issues and wants to help, but whether we let Him or not is up to us. And no, there is no magical switch that will make everything better once we decide to trust Him; we might even start to feel more anxiety for a little bit. What matters most, though, is what happens down the road. Trusting God in the here-and-now may be exceedingly difficult. But if we practice trusting Him more and more, it gets easier. We dive deeper into Him and He into us and unlike any other relationship in the history of the world, we’ll have the God who spoke the earth into motion living and breathing within us. When we finally come to accept this is when we’ll begin to laugh at the things we’ve worried over now. It just takes a process, a journey, to get there.