Monday, March 31, 2014
Do You Trust Me?
It started on Tuesday with this verse: "Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and Egypt their boast." (Isaiah 20:5) My mind immediately shot to this verse: "Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Galatians 6:14) And the light bulb flicked on: God is asking, "Whom do you trust?"
And apparently I wasn't the only one thinking about it. That same day, Ann wrote an open letter to her daughter, asking her to trust her, trust that her momma was looking out for her Future Self even when it made her Right-Now Self upset. "Trust me," she asks and you can hear God echoing back, "Trust me."
I kept chewing on this, and Sunday rolled around and baby girl was sick, throwing up, awful. In lieu of church, I made my way back to a sermon series from John Piper about battling unbelief. I had listened to the one on anxiety and I knew I needed this series, so I started from the beginning. And I hear him say, "All sin stems from unbelief." And I hear him say, "The greatest honor you can give someone is to tell them, 'I trust you.'" That "trusting God's promises is the most fundamental way that you can consciously glorify God." There it is again: God is asking, "Whom do you trust?"
If you asked me, "Aleah, do you put your trust in God or in man?" I would say, "Duh, God." But not fifteen minutes later, my stomach will be knotted up with anxiety about my children's health or our family's future or where that money's going to come from. Not an hour later, I will be angry with one crying child or another because why can't they just be reasonable? Not two hours later I will be miffed at my husband for some entirely unintended slight and catch him trying to catch my gaze, confusion on his face. I will make an intellectual assent to trust in God, but live a practical existence of trust in myself. To keep our family healthy (as if I can fight off hoards of tiny microbes single-handedly). To muster up some kind of patience or kindness within myself (as if I can just push a button and suddenly I'm Mary Poppins). To be an honest, open, loving peacemaker (as if I hold the key to my own emotions if only I would put it in the lock). I heap up the responsibilities on my shoulders (and likewise expect others to shoulder their own) because I trust myself. I trust myself to get it all together and keep it all in line and make it all work.
I know I'm not alone. We trust ourselves (or others) to pile up the money or cultivate inner peace or feed hungry mouths or build relationships or be successful or fight for justice or keep us healthy. We either think we can carry the torch and win the race, or we think we are utterly incapable of anything good and find a way to escape the ugliness. We have, Piper would say, a love of money. "Love of money is the root of all evil." (1 Timothy 6:10) What a weird verse, right? How does a love of money make me impatient with my toddler? Piper explains. "Money" as a concept is a symbol. If you "love money", you aren't overly infatuated with dollar bills or numbers in an account; you are infatuated with what they can get you. They are your means to products or services. From whom? From man. This "love of money" is a love of what man can get you. This "love of money" is the "root of all evil" because it says to man, "I trust you," and to God, "I don't need you. I have another way." But there is no other way. And when we try to force it? We find ourselves lying or scheming or stealing or fretting. Man will let us down every last time.
God reveals Cush (their hope) and Egypt (their boast) to be the shaky, human empires they were. He breaks them down and brings dismay and shame to His people because their boast was in man... and not in Him. And sometimes the only way to show someone their need is to make them very needy. God shows them who they can't trust in order to show them Who they can trust. To show them that their only boast should be in the cross of Christ (or in their case, the promise of the cross). To show them that all their victories, big and small, come from His hand.
Over and over, God has asked me, "Aleah, do you trust me?" Do you trust this doctor or do you trust me? Do you trust time or do you trust me? Do you trust your own wisdom or do you trust me? Do you trust money or do you trust me? And over and over, He has shown me His hand. When there were tubes and toxic medications, He showed me life and healing. When there was slow weight gain and confusion, He showed me chubby rolls and answers. When there was the over and over of seeming futility, He showed me progress and growth. And so yesterday, as I held my heaving little girl, aching from head to toe for her, God asked me, "Do you trust me?" Do you trust that I am here, right now, with you and with her, as you both ache and cry and hurt? Do you trust that I've still got this? That I've still got you?
And I said yes. I didn't have a vision of an angel standing over us or a glimpse of heaven come or a miraculous healing. I had a long line of moments to look back over, times when all seemed lost but when God was found. Times when I never thought things would be right again but when I was proven so, so wrong. Ultimately, I had (have) the scene of God-made-man, stooping to greet children and heal women and weep for His friends. And I had the scene of that Perfection, broken and bleeding. And I had the scene of that Hope, alive again and seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for me. Turning to God and saying, "Please help this little girl to stop throwing up." My one little girl out of the seven billion beating hearts and Jesus said, "Her, God. Her momma is begging you to help her." And because He has shown me His hand so many times before, because He showed His hand so blindingly bright in Jesus on the cross, I knew that whether she was healed in a moment or not at all, He was with me. With us. And He was worthy, is worthy, of my trust.