Originally published on February 3, 2012.
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me “I have trust issues,” I would be rich right now. And besides, don’t we all, in one way or another? Especially after this last year of world-wide upheaval and craziness. When I look around at all the ways our broken hearts hurt each other…and the sting of rejection each of us has felt for not being Enough …and the sheer insistence on self-promotion and self-interest and self-wellbeing in every area of life, the real question is how any of our scarred, let-down, betrayed hearts could be healed enough to trust. And it is a vital question, because our very lives depend on it. I keep thinking of how Jesus pulled a little child close and told the disciples: “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). If it takes the innocence and inexperience of a small child, we are all of us coming much too late to the table.
But what if trust is not a matter of how much we know of life’s ugliness, but how well we know we are deeply loved? What if it is not about keeping a heart whole, but about giving up trying, and accepting the brokenness and the weakness as the reason to run to Someone Bigger? It is the humility and transparency of a child that brings us to the Kingdom; the utter unselfconsciousness of knowing our need and knowing that we belong to Someone who will take care of us. In the kingdom, trust equals surrender to the King, and it makes me think that often our trust issues are more a matter of how well we know HIm and what we believe about Him.
I often think of Amy Carmichael, a pastor’s kid in the mid-1800s, who grew up involved in ministry to the poor of Northern Ireland– a girl who knew the presence of God from childhood. When she was 20 she heard the missionary pioneer Hudson Taylor (founder of China Inland Mission) speaking in England, and followed God’s call into missions work herself. Not to China, but to India, where her heart was torn open at the discovery of young girls sold into prostitution in the Hindu temples. The Dohnavur Fellowship that she began there, soon became orphanage and school and home to eventually over a thousand children that she rescued, all of whom called her Amah (“mother”). It is an inspiring story, but what stands out about her most is the intimacy of her relationship with God and how it shaped and defined her life.
Amy was sickly and weak all her adult life, never married, a prolific writer from her bed where she was often confined, loving and self-giving, and brave as a lion when it came to rescuing a child who needed help. She once said that missions work was “a chance to die”….to self, to comfort, to all but the love and life of the Savior. And in that hot, dusty, hard place in southern India, she found the love of God a never-ending fountain of Living Water, enough to quench her own thirst and enough to heal the hurting children she loved.
Despite the poverty and disease and children bearing unthinkable things, Amy could say “…cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world. There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.” She devoted her life to pursuing her Savior and loving others as He had loved her. She saw the reckless love of God that leaves Heaven to find the lost sheep; she knew His heart, and could not say no when He said Go to far-away India to rescue the little ones sold into slavery. That same endless love runs to the ends of the earth for me, to redeem my life from the darkness. And I hear the Beloved Disciple John’s words: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9) How could we not trust a love like that?
Amy Carmichael spelled out faith like this: “…we trust all that the love of God does; all He gives, and all He does not give; all He says, and all He does not say. To it all we say, by His loving enabling, I trust. Let us be content with our Lord’s will, and tell Him so….The more we understand His love, the more we trust.” (Edges of His Ways, p.175) Giving up control to someone else is easy when that Someone loves you more than His own life, when you know Him well enough to put all your doubts to rest.
I choose to trust You today, Lord; help me to trust You more. Not only what You bring to my doorstep, but also the things You say No to. I trust that You are good and that You love me deeply, and that the things You give me are what I should have this day, no matter whether they seem happy or sad. Even when things don’t make sense, I choose to say I trust You just because I know Your love.
**For more about Amy Carmichael, read A Chance to Die, by Elisabeth Elliot.
I wait for You nowComing Through, Kim Walker-Smith
Like the desert waits for the rain;
Like a child at the end of the day—
I know You’ll come through.
I trust what You say,
As a treasure no one can take;
Every word so steady and safe—
You always come through.
And all You’ve ever shown
Is love that’s willing to go
To the ends of the earth for me.
And all I’ll ever need
Is who You are to me—
This love that’s willing to reach
To the ends of the earth for me.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:14, 16-19