This is the thirteenth post for the March series To Love is to Live in Christ, a series reflecting on how we can receive Love (God), so that we might live and move and have our being in it. This post is based on 1 Corinthians 13 : 7 “it…always trusts”. It is linked up to Carolina’s #OpenMicMonday:
If you have children, then you’ll know that they seem to be born with an innate sense of trust in you. When they take their first steps toward you, they do so trusting you’ll catch them if they fall. When they hurt themself or someone hurts them, they come to tell you, expecting to find a safe, comforting and soothing haven in your arms. When they experience rejection or disappointment, they display their tears openly before you, expecting you will accept, comfort and affirm them. Sadly, because we as parents can never be perfect, there will be times that we break their trust and we will have to earn it again over a period of time. Trust is thus both a gift and something (re)built over time.
Because every human has experienced their trust being broken, our hearts are scarred by our own and others’ transgressions. Thus, we enter a relationship with God not fully trusting Him, even if we know in our mind that God can be fully trusted. It takes time for the gift of faith God has given to grow into true trust within our heart. But then how does it grow exactly?
If God is Love and Love always trusts, then if we receive God, we also receive the gift of His ever present trust through His Spirit in us. But to begin to take hold of that gift, we – like our children do with us – have to learn to turn to our Heavenly Father – with our yearning, our stories, our tears, our anger, our fears, our sins – as ourselves.
Psalm 62: 8
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
And, like our children, we have to take baby steps forward, believing that even if our knees are shaking and our hearts are beating much too quickly, our Heavenly Father is standing there ready to catch us if we fall. Just like this Scripture says, my heart has exulted in the LORD to sing His praises, as I’ve witnessed Him lead me forward to choose His path, despite the fear I’ve felt in saying yes to Him:
Psalm 28: 7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
And like our children are guided by us to take their first steps forward, we too must allow ourselves to be guided by God – by His Word:
Psalm 119: 5 (NIV)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
and His Spirit:
John 16: 13 (NIV)
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
– for each step we take, letting Him into every aspect of our lives:
Proverbs 16: 3 (NIV)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
And if we do this, our trust for our Heavenly Father will grow deeper and deeper, causing us to lean into Him more heavily to take even greater leaps of faith.
And in and through this leaning, this submitting to His will for us, we allow Him (trusting Love) to take root in our hearts, as His joy becomes our strength, enabling us to embrace, rather than just numb, the suffering we face, just as Jesus did:
Hebrews 12: 2
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
And as we become rooted in Him, gifts of His Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) – the fruits of our faith and trust – will become more and more present in us and more and more visible to this broken, yearning world.
Jeremiah 17 : 7 – 8
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
Wonderfully, our perfect Heavenly Father, unlike us, is incapable of ever breaking our trust:
Isaiah 43: 10 (NIV)
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Sadly, we can at times feel as if this is the case. This can happen if we stop worshipping Him and start worshipping idols (other humans or our own understanding of who God should be). I did this for more than twenty years, being terrified of God’s wrath because humans had broken my trust. This is where it is vital that we spend time in His Presence:
- in His Word (Hebrews 4: 12 NIV ‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.‘),
- in prayer (1 John 5: 14 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.“),
- in confession (Proverbs 28: 13 ESV ‘Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.),
- in thanksgiving and praise (Psalm 100: 4 NIV ‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.’)
- in stillness (Psalm 46: 10 NIV: ‘He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’),
- in fellowship (Hebrews 10: 24 – 25 NIV ‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’), and
- in servanthood through feeding, clothing and visiting others (Matthew 25 : 40 ‘“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’’).
For then, our desperately deceitful human hearts will be led by His Spirit of Truth to lean on Him, rather than be crippled by our own sinful understanding and the bondage of idol-worship.
Father God, thank you that your Love always trusts. Thank you that You have gifted us with the ever present ability to trust You and others in our lives. Thank You for giving us the tools of Your Word and Spirit, to grow this trust within us. Help us, LORD, not to lean on our own understanding or that of other humans, but to become “bold, confident, secure, sure” and “put [our] confidence” in You, as You “make [us] … hope” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Thank You, LORD, that even when we become distrustful in our thoughts and emotions, You do not depart from us. Thank You, LORD, that even then, You teach us to trust You again, by turning our desperately deceitful hearts toward You, filling us with hope, when we feel hopeless, filling us with joy, when we mourn, filling us with praise, when our hearts feel heavy, clothing us in Your righteousness, as You turn us to confess our sins. Thank you, LORD, for growing Your Love that always trusts within us. Help us to keep seeking Your Presence, to keep turning toward You to confess all that is within us, to pour out our hearts to you, and to step forward boldly in faith as You call us, so that Your Love might shine more brightly in this yearning and broken world to the Glory of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.