Last week, I was sitting at the little tables in the courtyard eating dinner. We like eating outside where it’s cooler and less crowded than in the teacher’s cafeteria room, and we’re in the middle of the action: ping-pong tables on one side, basketball on the other, and students walking to and fro all throughout the meal. And while this is definitely the best location for lunch, it comes with one source of imminent danger: off-course basketballs.
This particular evening, I was sitting with my back to the courts. Ian, sitting perpendicularly with a view of the playground, told me not to worry. He’d make sure to stop any stray balls should they come my way. So I was eating in peace, enjoying my green beans and rice, when WHOP – a ball slammed into my shoulder. I probably screamed a tad; it didn’t hurt, but it sure startled me! Ian profusely apologized, he’d probably just been looking away at the moment. I gave him a hard time, and then we went back to eating as normal. Or so I thought…
Suddenly, I realized that every rattle of the backboards, every shout from the players, every nearby bounce of a basketball caused me to duck or respond in defense. “Don’t worry,” Ian said, “I definitely won’t let it happen again!” But somehow, even though I wanted to trust him, it still didn’t change the fact that my response was to automatically run for cover. Even though I knew he’d catch the ball most of the time, as he had done in the past, that one slip-up nearly destroyed my safety-from-the-basketball level of trust.
It got me to thinking of a very simple little parallel that I’m sure you’ve picked up already. I started thinking about what it means to trust God, really trust. In order to truly, wholeheartedly trust Him, we must realize that He has never once broken that trust. We all know from relationships with other people that trust is almost always broken, whether from an out-of-control basketball or something far more serious. But God never has, never will.
There are times when we feel like God has let us down, times when things are hard and unlike heaven. I guess that’s where it takes faith to wait and see what He’s doing, because if I’ve learned anything from the hardships in life, it’s that He’s always doing something. In His Word, He says He will never leave us or forsake us, among so many other promises of faithfulness. And throughout all of time, we can look back and see that He is a God who keeps His promises.
Our trust in God is not based on a mental will to just trust. That’s what I was trying to do with Ian, but couldn’t because of my sore shoulder. No, our trust in God is rooted in the fact that He has never once failed us, never once left us, never once even looked away from us. And as believers, He lives in us and our life is hidden in Him. His faithfulness endures through all generations. God describes Himself with these words, “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” That is someone I can trust.