Trust is a tender thing. So tender that relationships find themselves irreparable when it is broken… and everyone understands. How can you go back on a thing like that? How can you put back the broken pieces so the cracks don’t show?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
Proverbs makes it sound so simple. Like, “Trust God!” Oh, um, okay. But for some time, I felt like God broke our trust. I was hurt and hurt in a way I wasn’t sure could really be fixed. And while I never turned from the faith, while I never really even spoke that out loud, I held this small place in my heart captive. I didn’t want to walk away in pain; I knew I didn’t see clearly in the fog, in the confusion, and so I wasn’t sure I wanted to abandon ship. But I also didn’t want to let God have all of me because… well, I didn’t feel He’d earned it. I didn’t feel He kept up His end of all this. I trusted you, I felt myself thinking. I trusted you and you didn’t come through.
I’ve visited this before, but it bears repeating. Job has all the awfulness of life rain down on him unmercifully and when he cries out to God, he doesn’t get rationalizations. He doesn’t get explanations. He doesn’t get to see the “reason” for his suffering or the “good” that it will bring about in him or anything like that. He lashes out at God, finally unable to keep it all straight, and God says, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements -- surely you know!”
Do you see this? This is the non-answer of all non-answers. What God gives Job is not an answer to His question. What God gives Job is a new question. The right question. Instead of, “What could I have done to deserve this? Where did I go wrong? Why would you let this happen?... my question, Job’s question, should be, “Who are you, Lord?” Who are you and what are you about?
Unlike with this world, unlike with people and situations here, our trust with God cannot be broken. It isn’t possible. God Himself keeps the covenant with us. It doesn’t depend on us even a little bit. And when we feel like it has been broken? Our answer is in the Garden. Instead of hiding away, instead of locking pieces of ourselves aside, we cue from God and go looking for Him. God knew what His children had done and yet He sought them out. And while we may not understand what God is up to, while we may not see the full picture, while we may be squinting out there trying to make shapes out of blobs, when we run to God, when we search for Him and seek Him out, we will never fail to find Him. And when we find God? We have all we could ever look for.
We can hold back pieces of ourselves from each other so we are sure not to get hurt. We can hold back pieces of ourselves from God so we play it safe. We can hold back from taking bold steps because we want to be sure of ourselves or because we have stepped out before and fallen on our faces. But in all that protecting and hiding, we’re missing it. We’re missing it in those moments because when we stop protecting, stop hiding ourselves away, stop trying to save ourselves, and instead, step out trusting God, we find that the story is not what we thought it was. We find out that it is not OUR story. We find that all along, we’ve been asking the wrong questions and searching for the wrong things.
The trick, y’all, is that we are hard-wired for wrong. We come out looking the wrong way and we have to learn, be taught, how to turn and trust. There are as many wrong questions to ask and as many wrong things to chase as there are humans who have ever walked the earth. And your hangup will not be my hangup or her hangup or his. We all get our own. (Isn’t that nice?? ;) ) But for all of us, there is one right question and there is one right answer and it is all of everything forever and ever, amen.
“Who are you, Lord?” “I AM.”
[Ed. note: I'm back... or something. I don't exactly know yet. I do know that I have missed writing and I have missed this space in particular, so I'm dipping my toe back in the water and we'll see where this goes! :) Thanks for being here.]