Trust God ©

Recently, Jolynn and I were listening to The Seedbed Daily Text. It has become a part of our nightly devotional time. J. D. Walt, the writer/recorder, was sharing about how his family had a sign up in their home which simply read “Trust God.” As I listened, I thought about putting such a sign up in our home. It was what J. D. said a few sentences later that arrestingly grabbed hold of me.
 
If I recall it right, he said, “Trusting God must become insanely personal before it has a chance of becoming corporate.” This deep and profound insight has snared me. In a time and age of chaos in the church and the wider culture, I am reminded that my daily, indeed my moment-by-moment need to radically trust God. I find trust to be hard. I want to trust myself first and God only as a derivative. Faith does not work that way. Trust in God is a first order aspect of faith and faithfulness. True trust in God is insanely personal!
 
Later that week, I found myself in a meeting where the discussion turned to the future of the United Methodist Church. A number of different scenarios were mentioned which involved possible schism in the church. Some were grim (a possible splintering into 7 or 8 different expressions/branches/streams of the United Methodist Church; others carried signs of new life and possibly a vibrant faithful future (maybe three expressions/branches/streams) of United Methodism - each loosely connected to the others with mutual respect even where there was deep disagreement.
 
The next day, I traveled up to Dayton, Ohio for a meeting of the United Theological Seminary (UTS) Board . Members of the Board of Trustees of UTS gathered for our opening worship. The preacher that morning was the Rev. Dr. Rudy Rasmus (pastor of St. Johns UMC in Houston and a member of the United Board). As I slid into my seat struggling to discern the future of the United Methodist Church, Rudy preached on Proverbs 3:5-6.
 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not rely on your own insight.
  In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”  (NRSV)
 
How did he know that this was exactly what I was wrestling with?!  The answer is, at least to me, clear and straight forward. Through a variety of ways and through a number of people, the Lord was and is speaking to me, perhaps to us collectively. Trust is a key aspect of faith when translated out of the Greek (along with allegiance and obedience). Trusting is at the heart of faithfully following Jesus as Lord. Dr. Rasmus went on to remark, “we are seeing God move” (in reference to the life of the church).
 
I believe he is right. God is moving in our midst in ways that I (probably we) at best only dimly comprehend and understand. While we rightly engage in those activities which we feel/think the Lord is leading us to engage in, there is a crucial aspect to being at peace in the midst of our struggles by trusting God. “The heart of the faith is a living relationship with a living God, revealed in Christ. Faith in Jesus is, first and foremost, an existential commitment to and trust in Jesus; ‘belief in …’ and not simply ‘belief that …’” (Andrew G. Walker & Robin A. Parry, Deep Church Rising: The Third Schism and the Recovery of Christian Orthodoxy, p. 70)  Trust God. It starts with me at an intensely personal and insanely practical level.
 
A day after listening to Pastor Rudy Rasmus, I was on the plane flying back to Texas reading Alister McGrath’s The Landscape of Faith. As the book stretched to the conclusion, Professor McGrath quoted the poet Matthew Arnold.
 
“Wandering Between two worlds, one dead, 
  The other powerless to be born,
  With nowhere yet to lay my head.” (Matthew Arnold, Poems, p. 338)
 
Then this brilliant theologian went on to write, “Many Christians feel a similar tension in their lives as they journey on the Road. We seem caught between two worlds – the world that we now know and inhabit, and the unseen world that we believe we will one day enter. . . . We are sojourners and pilgrims here on earth, traveling to the new Jerusalem. We travel in faith and hope. . . .” (Alister McGrath, The Landscape of Faith, p. 228)
 
Once again, I heard the Lord speaking to me of the need to trust God and trust the future as in the hands of a loving and resurrecting Lord. Trust in the Lord must be insanely personal before it ever moves to a larger application.
 
The Lord is speaking … “trust God” …. In my best moments, I do so trust. “I know the one in whom I’ve placed my trust. I’m convinced that God is powerful enough to protect what he has placed in my trust until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)