Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How Does a Cannibal Trust?

The following is a shortened version of a talk I gave at a MOPS meeting on Tuesday, since a 20-30 minute talk doesn't really translate well into a blog post.  So I just copied and pasted a few of the paragraphs here.  

I think that one of the biggest plunges that anyone can take is trusting God.  I would bet Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most popular verses in the Bible.  It’s the first one I ever memorized, back when I was in my early 20s.  
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will direct your paths

Think about one word there that is repeated twice:  all.  Trust with ALL your heart.  In ALL your ways acknowledge Him.  We often will trust God with part of our hearts…and don’t get me wrong, I do it too.  But I’m slowly coming to understand how to trust him with all of my heart.  I’m slowly coming to understand that everything I think I understand on my own is not what I should rely on, but I need to rely on God.  Because when we truly trust God, we give up all that we are.  Now, most of the time we don’t all do it all at once—it is a process that we go through as the Holy Spirit not only speaks to our hearts, but as we open our hearts to listen to the Holy Spirit.  Because that verse is so well-known and a favorite of many, it’s easy to gloss over it.  What does it really mean to trust?  Think about how would you define it—maybe write down a couple of words you associate with trust.

First, let’s think of a situation where trust doesn’t exist.

Imagine if you were living in a tribe of cannibals.  If you could possibly be someone’s next meal, could you really trust your tribe?  I heard a speaker one time talk about a missionary who lived among a tribe of cannibals.  In their culture, they didn’t have a word for trust.  The concept just was not there.  I mean, how could it be, if you were in danger of being eaten by the people with whom you lived?  So this missionary had to come up with a way to explain trust, and what he came up with was “to lean your whole weight upon”.  And in chapter 3 of The Good and Beautiful God, the author writes about trust.  He says that “To trust someone is to believe that he or she has your best interests in mind.” (37).

It is scary to trust—it s scary to give up the control we want to have over our own lives and seek God’s dream for our lives.  It can be easy to trust God--or at least talk about trusting God--when everything is going well.  But it’s a lot more necessary to trust God when everything seems to be falling apart.  Look at the Psalms:  it’s not about trusting god when things are going well, it’s about trusting God in the face of adversity and enemies exulting and life falling apart.  

Discipleship is a risk.  No doubt about it.  People might think you are a bible thumper or a Jesus freak or even that you aren’t a real Christian or that you have shady theology for daring to say something against the status quo.  Trusting God through discipleship is a lifelong journey.  If it was a simple, one-time thing, we’d never grow or learn. 

Some people here today have been through a lot and have trusted God through those incredibly difficult times and I am sure I can learn a lot more from you than you can from me.  Others have not faced such things, yet are still committed to trusting God in other ways.  The trusting God with “all” that we talked about earlier is probably going to be different for everyone here.  One person may easily trust God regarding housing and another doesn’t.  That person who doesn’t may easily trust God regarding health, while another person doesn’t, but can trust God regarding her parenting.  

So I want to end today by asking you to think about what God might be calling you to do.   Maybe nothing at the moment.  But maybe some of you have been wondering and hearing a still small voice.  Talk it over with your discussion group, and take the plunge to follow him and trust him in all things.  

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