I’ve talked about this before, but I have some serious trust issues. Few friends know of my deeper struggles and shortcomings in life and even fewer friends know of my doubts and fears. When it comes to making new or deeper friendships, “Trust is earned,” becomes my favorite motto. But is this mindset, this attitude, appropriate for our relationship with God?
When I think about the meaning of the phrase, “Trust is earned,” I often wonder if people thought this way in the Garden of Eden. Did Adam and Eve ever have trust issues with God? Scripture doesn’t say whether they did or not; Adam worked hard every day with no notion of a wife nor any desire for one and yet God surprised him with Eve. It seems to me that trust in God was inherent in the Garden.
Why did this evaporate? Our simple answer is, “The Fall”; when Eve ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband. But The Fall was only an act of sin; it was a break of trust. That snake persuaded both Adam and Eve – although he asked Eve directly – to distrust God; he told them He was holding out on them. When they ate that fruit, they displayed their belief that God wasn’t giving them everything. Their trust in Him was broken.
My trust issues, which I believe stemmed from never knowing my biological father, often have an influence on my walk with God. I often attempt to make moves on my own because I don’t believe God will provide. For example: finding a wife. There have been several seasons of my life where I was reckless with my approach to women. I didn’t proceed with caution to guard their hearts; I was trying – almost desperately – to win them over. I wanted a wife so badly that I took matters into my own hands. In a sense, I ate the forbidden fruit; I displayed to God that I did not trust Him.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” – Proverbs 4:23
This Proverb is often used as the reason behind the motto, “Trust is earned.” We want to guard our hearts and emotions lest we get hurt – and hurt badly. I completely agree with this idea and that’s why this Proverb is posted on the side of my blog: It’s the verse with which I go about my day-to-day and how I approach my friendships and relationships (obviously, not always; but most of the time). But when it comes to God, I think our trust in Him should be inherent.
In the prior chapter of Proverbs, verse 5 says this; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” In fact this entire chapter lists the benefits of inherently trusting God; our paths will be straight, our bodies will be healthy, our bones will be well-nourished (Hebrew connotes a sense of “fattened” or “thickened”), and the Lord will be our confidence. Why then do I find myself becoming anxious about my future – finding a wife, getting a job, etc.?
I would have to say it’s because I’ve retrojected my experience with my fellow humans back onto God and His character. But this is something Scripture emphasizes throughout the entire Bible: God is not like our human fathers. He cares for us always; not sometimes and bails. Always.
Our lives in Christ are in constant change. Why? Because the side effects of that first break of trust long, long ago are still reverberating back onto us. We’ve become inherently dysfunctional; set to repeatedly mess up in our relationships with each other and God. The process in becoming like Christ – like the true sons and daughters of God we were created to be – is a process in which our old dysfunctional ways are being removed. We’re being rewired to the tune of God. What I am finding to be the most helpful action on my part is if I simply live out my days throwing my entire trust into God – truly trusting Him with all of my heart.
Yes, I will have doubts. Yes, I will worry. And yes, this life with all of its trials will bombard my heart and soul. But unlike my emotions, God doesn’t change. He cares for us the same today as He did yesterday and as He will tomorrow. The challenge of faith is then an issue of trust: If we remain steadfast with the One who is Perfect, our lives will be filled with peace. God wants us to inherently trust Him – not only so that we may remain faithful to obeying His commandments, but also because He’s building a new kingdom in and through us.
Earlier this morning, I met with my pastor, Tony. We were reading through John 12 and verses 42 and 43 stood out to him:
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in [Jesus], but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
It reminded him of a quote from C.S. Lewis, which neither of us remembered correctly, but was something along the lines of this: We invite God into our homes and are glad He is there. But then he starts tearing down walls and removing the foundation; that’s when we want to throw Him out. What we don’t realize is that He doesn’t like the house we’ve built for ourselves; He wants to build us a palace.
No, our trust issues here in this life do not apply to God. We ought to do ourselves a favor by inherently – as if it were no problem at all – trusting in Him in all the renovations He’s doing in our hearts. He’s a big God and doesn’t want a small house; He wants a palace for His Kingdom.