(An excerpt from my book: With All Your Heart)
"I don't trust you anymore."
I cannot count how many times I have heard this while counseling a couple. Some say this after only a few months of marriage and others, after years of pain. Trust is difficult. I remember in one session how a wife looked at me after realizing her husband had been carrying on an affair and said, "How can I ever trust him again?" This made sense. There was not much for me to say. Who could blame her? Could I just simply say, "Well, you know the Bible says that love always trusts?" No, there was nothing that could be said in that moment. Trust had been broken and trust is difficult to repair and renew. How can you continually give yourself over to someone who has proven that your best interests are not anywhere near the top of their priority list? As I attempted to gather some great and lofty spiritual principles to help this woman overcome the broken trust in her husband, she said something that has never left my mind. She said, "How can I trust anyone ever again?" The broken trust in one that she loved and believed loved her so much was now transferred into her whole life.
What do you do when you have given everything to someone and they toss you into the trash like a piece of crumpled paper? What do you do when the person you love the most and who claims to love you the most betrays you? Wounds this deep are not isolated. They affect your entire being. Not only is your trust for that person broken, but your ability to put yourself out there and trust anyone is severely damaged if not destroyed.
When we first enter into a relationship, there is optimism. However, beneath our optimism, hidden where we might not see, is the reality that we will never really know who might break our trust one day. Never! Sometimes, the people that we have trusted all of our lives will suddenly break that trust. Sometimes, and I really don't like this part because it applies to me, people who don’t even want to break that trust, they only want the best for us, will still do something betraying, hurtful, neglectful.
Trust is so difficult, and our trust is being challenged in every relationship of our life. How often do our friends hurt us? People, even those close to us, do not always carry our heart with care. Though they know we are delicate and they truly value us, they will still drop us. And occasionally when this happens, we break, life shatters.
These deeply painful moments also affect our relationship with God. He knows how badly we have been hurt. In fact, He knew we were going to be hurt. He knew the danger lurking. He saw the lying snake who was your boyfriend. He was not fooled by the boss who pretended to be your friend while stealing your ideas. He knew the other woman in the office was bad-mouthing you to your co-workers. He knew your teenager would lie to you. Long before you were born, He knew that you would be raped, beaten, forgotten, abandoned...and all of this from those you trusted. He knows every gut-wrenching, overwhelming pain you will ever experience before it happens. Yet, He lets it happen. How do we trust a God like that?
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
All of our days have been ordained. They have purpose. It is not that everything that happens to us is God’s will because the atrocities we see and hear about on the news and social media are never His will for anyone’s life. But He does take everything within each day, using it to form us and conform our life into His purposes. This is a plan and purpose that is always good and wonderful. However, because our tendency to be self-reliant, we need the hard times to bring us to our knees in prayer that we don’t fall prey to the lie that we can produce our own blessings. In addition to this, the Lord may allow evil to continue in order to reach those who would never dawn the doors of a church. Only a woman who has been raped and retained her faith can help another rape victim get through the horror. I could preach about it all day long, but I have no idea, nor can I pretend to have any idea of what that must be like to be raped. The Lord may allow temptations face a person even though He knows they will not be able to resist. And they may land themselves into prison, but there, they will find a purpose worth the pain as they minister to the forgotten of our society. They failed, but kept their faith, but their failure took them to a place where most Christians would never go. No. No. No! I am not saying that it is God's plan for these horrible things to happen to us. That is not what I am saying. But God's unconditional love for people causes Him to give all humanity the freedom to choose. If He forced us all to love Him, then He would not be loving us. This freedom to choose allows the vilest things on Earth to happen to the most innocent. God understands this and works in the most violated hearts to bring healing within and uses them to bring healing to others. The ways of God are beautiful. But as beautiful as it is to think that the Lord never forgets anyone and works to bring everyone help and support in their time of pain, the consequence of this love is that pain, betrayal, molestation, abduction, divorce, murder, war, and so many other atrocities are allowed to continue.
We don't always understand. We can't always see what God is doing. It makes no sense to us who believe that the same God who always protects allows us to be vulnerable. It makes no sense for us who believe God provides all of our needs to allow times of famine. It makes no sense to those of us who believe God never leaves us nor forsakes us to be left alone. As believers, we work hard to fight through these feelings. We try to trust God. We know that we should trust Him. We want to trust Him, but sometimes, what a steep mountain it is to climb.
Even though it is very difficult, we do have the capacity to trust. Just consider driving down the highway. Cars are passing you at high speeds with only a couple of feet away. People are texting, sleeping, putting on make-up, talking on the phone, yelling at the kids, crying, laughing, drinking alcohol, smoking dope and everything else in the world while they are driving. And we know this. We do some of these things behind the wheel of our car. At any moment, any of these distractions can cause someone to swerve over into our lane and hit us head on, but each day, we get into the car and start her up and head for work, putting our life at risk all the while trusting people we have never met.
I remember playing golf in Florida. Many times, we would come up to a green and see an alligator or two or three just sitting there as still as a statue. My friends who had grown up in Florida would say, "They're just sunning. It's okay." They would walk out to the green. They would not get real close to the alligator, but anywhere within 10,000 feet of an alligator without a shotgun in my hand is too close. They knew that these alligators ate dogs. Each year, there were a number of children who were killed by alligators in the city parks. Yet, those crazy people in Florida would still feed the alligators, take little ones home as pets, and play golf with these wild killing machines. Not me. Momma didn't raise no fool! They had learned how to move past the fears that were too much for me. I don't know if they were just plain crazy or if they trusted the alligators or trusted God, but somehow, they found some sense of trust. I stayed in the cart, foot on the gas :)
It is so difficult to trust, but we do have the capacity to trust even in the roughest situations. It's hard to trust God, but we do have the capacity. There are times when we are able to face our fears and trust God wholeheartedly. Other times, we shrink back because of a lack of trust. Trust is not constant. And trust is not controlled by an on/off switch where I either trust or I don't. Trust is a wrestling match with my fears and faith, trying to hold on to God, but still losing my grip on Him. And just because I am able to trust God completely one day, there is no guarantee that I will trust Him the next. In some situations of life, I trust a little. Some I trust a lot. Some I trust wholeheartedly. Some, I can't even find an ounce of trust within my spirit. Trust must be worked at. It is something to be developed and refined. It is an art where mastery is so far beyond the norm, we must practice it all the days of our life. But the more I can trust God, the more I can trust period. My trust in God affects my ability to trust in all other situations.
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