“I trust you!”, he yelled over his shoulder.
I had only known our new youth pastor for about two months, but that wasn’t stopping him from literally putting his physical safety in the interlocked hands of eight nervous teenagers.
“I trust you!”, he yelled again.
And I remember standing there on that gravel parking lot sweating under the Oklahoma June sun thinking to myself… “I’m not sure we’ve earned”. Our youth pastor then crossed his arms over his chest and fell, backward, off of the 7-foot wooden railing of the canteen. And that not-yet-earned, but still freely-given trust? Turns out it was a tad misplaced. We dropped him. We barely broke his fall. Well, except for his feet. Those we caught… I thought we had killed him. But instead he caught his breath, got to his feet and said, “It’s ok. I trust you.” and he climbed back up onto the railing for round two, then round three, then four…
Trust is powerful. It moves relationships beyond acquaintance and into something much deeper and more meaningful. It creates bonds, forges alliances and strengthens love. But trust is powerful because it is, at times, so difficult. It means being vulnerable and putting yourself in situations that seem out of your control. And if we’re honest, we would say that, like us, our trust can be a little fickle at times.
That was certainly true of Abraham. Here was a guy who, at age 99, was told by God that his 90-year-old wife was going to bear him a son (Gen 12; 17), and through that son he would be the father of nations and whole world would be blessed. And you thought trust-falling onto a bunch of sweaty high schoolers seemed crazy. And yet, Abraham trusted God’s promise to him. Following God’s instruction, He picks up and leaves his home and his people trusting in God’s ability to deliver on His promise. It’s a powerful example of trust.
And yet just a short time later, as Abraham and his beautiful wife, Sarah, entered Egypt (Gen 12; 20), he becomes afraid that the Egyptians will kill him for his wife. So instead of trusting God, he lies claiming that she is only his sister and allowing Pharaoh to have her. Why would he do this? God has just told him his future plans for him and his family, and Abraham believed him. So why now does Abraham try to take things into his own hands?
The reality is that we all do this. We hear God’s macro promises: That he loves us, that he’ll never leave or forsake us. And we say we trust him. But then when things get into the micro; things like relationships, generosity, career, we suddenly we find ourselves wanting to take control. Not trusting that God can deliver on his promises.
Trust is funny. Relationships are built on it. Depend on it. As trust goes, so does the relationship. All of us have had, at one point or another, our trust broken by someone. As for our youth pastor, we never caught him that day. We dropped him over and over. We couldn’t deliver. But God has never failed to deliver on a promise. He is good, His promises stand, and placing our trust in Him is the greatest decision we could ever make. And you can be assured he’ll deliver on it. Every. Single. Time.