Have you ever played the Trust Game? You know, the one where you fall back into the arms of the person standing behind you, trusting they won’t let you fall. You learn pretty quickly whether or not your friends trust you to catch them, but you also discover somethings about yourself. You catch a glimpse of your own fears and insecurities when you’re the one falling. Do you fall in faith or step out mid fall in an attempt to save yourself?
I remember playing this game on a youth retreat once. I stood in awe as the youth pastor climbed on the railing of the second storey balcony, turned his back to the dozen or so high school students standing below with outstretched arms and fell. He didn’t waiver or falter. He didn’t second guess himself in the air. He fell with his body straight as a board into the waiting arms of his students. That’s trust. A trust I didn’t have.
As a kid, I was a scaredy-cat. Fear consumed me. I allowed my imagination to get the better of me. I was afraid of the dark. Afraid of the uncovered window at the top of our stairs that might allow someone to peep in unnoticed (or worse, be noticed by me). Afraid to run down to the basement come nightfall to get whatever my mom asked me to retrieve from the deep freeze. And, for some reason, afraid of being abducted. I would lie in bed at night conjuring up elaborately detailed kidnapping attempts that left me terrified to be outside in the dark and paralyzed by the slightest sound outside my bedroom window.
But all these fears paled in comparison to my biggest fear. One I would never speak aloud for fear it might come true and brought me to my knees daily begging that it wouldn’t. This feeling lasted well through my teenage years until the moment it came true. My dad had cancer and it didn’t look good.
How could this be? I had prayed every night. It couldn’t be true. Why?
I had envisioned how this day might play out. Time would stop. Joy would cease to exist. In fact, life itself would cease to exist. I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. I wouldn’t be able to function. I wouldn’t be able to live. I had no confidence in my ability to continue living without my dad by my side.
This is God’s promise to His people. When things get tough we don’t have to be afraid. He is with us and He will sustain us.
The Psalms offer us beautiful examples of confidence in the midst of fear. Confidence in the only One who can truly save.
Even though David was a man after God’s own heart and chosen by God to lead His people, David’s life was not easy. He was hunted by a man who desired to kill him and was forced to live many years on the run. After Saul’s death, David’s life continued to be marred by adultery, murder, the death of his sons, additional plots against his life and battles for his throne. Although his life was hard and messy, David’s confidence in God and His plan for his life never wavered.
David asked the tough questions, ‘How long O Lord?’ He cried out to God to answer him when God felt distant. And he begged God to hear his prayers when no answers seemed forthcoming.
But, no matter how dark things looked to David, he had complete faith that God would hear him and that God would act. “In the morning O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:4.
You see, David’s confidence was not in himself, or his position as the king of Israel. David’s confidence was in who God is. David knew the promises of Scripture. He knew who God revealed Himself to be. And he knew God’s faithfulness and that was where David chose to place his trust.
Do you live with this same level of confidence in our God? Do you believe He loves you? Do you have faith that He hears you? Do you wait expectantly for Him to act? Do you trust in the power of His mighty hand? And do you believe He is working all things for your good?
When we can respond with a confident “YES” to all these questions our response to this world will start to change. Fear will no longer consume us because we believe that God is sovereign and His plan will prevail. We faithfully place ourselves in His hands with the expectation that even when we can’t see Him working, He is and it is always for our good and His glory. When all seems dark we look for His light. When all seems lost, still we hope. And when all is silent we wait knowing God has heard us and He will act. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:17-18.
My dad lived less than four months after his diagnosis and though God never answered my prayers for miraculous healing, He restored me in ways I never could have imagined. He faithfully showed me that He is my God. He is my Provider. He is my Father. He is my Strength. He is my Comfort. And He is my Joy. His ways are good and because of His faithfulness in the weeks and months after my dad’s death, I, like David, have come to place my trust confidently in His character.
I no longer fear the future. I know that whatever my tomorrow brings, it is in God’s hands and He will carry me through.
I never did get answers to my whys and I probably never will but that’s okay because I’ve come to find peace in the Who.
Whatever questions you’re wrestling with, the answer is found in the One who can do far more than we could ask or imagine.