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When I was eight years old, I absolutely loved gym class. Before sweat, changing clothes, and body image issues came into play, the gym was a purely joyous time. We learned how to swing dance, throw dodgeballs, and run track! It was like Recess 3.0.
But one day, in particular, I learned I didn’t like gym class as much as I thought I did.
Being paired with a student in the class who was much larger than myself, the task seemed simple. Each person would take turns wearing a blindfold, leading the other person through a maze, and then ending their round by completing a trust fall.
What began as a fun game, however, quickly became a thirty-minute period I couldn’t wait to be over. Not only did my partner lead me straight into a wall, but they didn’t catch me on the trust fall. White-painted brick and cement floors leave marks deeper than the skin. Minds more broken than affirming words could ever reassure. And needless to say, my partner and I didn’t have a very trusting relationship by the end of it.
I thought to myself later that day, “What does it take to trust?”
Is it a reliable person?
A chair you know was built well?
A home with a solid foundation?
A partner who won’t lead you straight into a wall?
Today, I ask you the same question.
Do You Trust Him?
Over the last month, I have had the immense privilege to teach the novel Night to my sophomore English class. Analyzing Elie Wiesel’s faith, his horrific narrative recounts what it was like to experience and survive the Holocaust.
On the surface, the book is about World World II and Hitler’s mass plan to exterminate any people, unlike the Aryan race. At a deeper level, however, it thoughtfully and painfully explores deeper life questions: What does it mean to serve a good God when things are certainly not good? What does it mean to trust when I cannot see? What does it take to trust Him?
While Wiesel was a believer in the Jewish faith and mysticism, an interview with Oprah Winfrey at the end of his life noted that despite it all, the good, the evil, and the indifferent, He still believed in God. I wonder, do we?
For many of us, we got saved when we were just children. We barely remember receiving new birth apart from our entrance as babies into this world.
For others, the memory is more substantial. We were living one way, and then we were not. Jesus radically transformed the way we began to walk, talk, and interact with others, and the change was evident.
But are we living in faithfulness to Jesus Christ because we genuinely feel the desire to do so, or because it has become a routine religion? Are we saying prayers because we think we can bargain with God, or because we truly know and believe in the power of His Name? Are we reading Scripture every day because we want to know Him, or because it has become an obsessive compulsion to check it off our Bible reading plans?
Because while it is good to serve and honor the Lord by reading our Bibles, praying, and meditating daily, let us seek to do so from a place of authenticity over routine religion. Some days, we do so even when we don’t feel like it because that’s commitment and faith. But never should we allow compulsion to drive us to our knees; only God should do that. And how do we do that? By trusting that God knows our hearts.
More Than Medicine
A few years after the trust fall incident in my gym class, my mom began having me take multivitamins. Now as an adult, I easily swallow ten pills a day, vitamins included.
But as I swallowed my usual regiment the other day, I felt the Lord ask me the same question I asked myself as a little girl: “What does it take to trust?”
As I tilted back my Hydoflask and gulped a big swig, I realized He had a point.
He always does.
How could I swallow these pills so easily, trusting that they would keep me safe while holding my trust in Christ out at an arm’s distance?
How could I believe the lie of health anxiety that I could keep myself healthy when He is the one who is truly in control?
How could I refuse His peace, grace, and mercy while clinging onto self-medicated prescriptions I believed were better?
How could I trust untrustworthy things so easily while discrediting the source of trust Himself?
Let me be clear. I am not arguing that medicine, self-help, and Godly-given resources are not trustworthy, and helpful. They certainly are, and I firmly believe God has given those things to us for a reason. He does not advocate stupidity or carelessness. So take your medicine, read those books, and practice Christian mindfulness.
But trusting God is not an excuse to not study for a test and then blame God when you fail because He didn’t help you pass.
Trusting God is not an excuse to skip your prescribed medications and then question why you aren’t getting any better.
Trusting God is not an excuse to act dumb and then expect Him to rescue you.
But if we truly trust Him, we will trust Him more than a, “well, all I can do is pray,” response.
No, my friend! We get to pray! There is power in that.
And if we truly trust Him, we will trust Him more than the pills we swallow daily.
We trust the medicine.
We trust the doctors.
We trust the resources.
But God is the one who has given us them all.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, New International Version).
At the end of the day, trusting in God is not always seeing the outcome. It is having faith in Him to carry the plans through to completion even if we cannot see them.
Trusting God is not refusing to take medication the Doctor has prescribed because you’re waiting on Him to heal you (though He very well may!). Trusting God is leaning on His voice and guidance heavily all throughout the process.
It is taking your medications and praying.
Using deep breathing and reciting Scripture over your weary soul.
Trusting God begins with believing in faith that He is who He has professed to be. And if we believe in who He is, we can certainly believe in what He has done and will continue to accomplish in each of our lives.
So what does it take to trust?
It begins with faith. And faith begins with the things we cannot see or understand.
Things like trust falls where our partners don’t catch.
Things like the Holocaust that we cannot even begin to comprehend or fathom.
Things like pain, heartbreak, and sickness.
Things we weren’t created to try and figure out on our own.
Things we are forced not to carry, but to lean on Jesus as He carries us through them.
How will you trust in Him today?