The experts in analyzing human behavior tell us that people have two basic needs: To feel safe/secure and to feel in control. The physiological sensations I experience when I recollect times when I’ve experienced danger or felt out-of-control make me think there is some truth to this human assessment. Not long ago, as I was driving down a rural country road, I glanced down at the dash to check the level of gas in the tank. This took all of two seconds and yet when I looked up at the road again, the back end of a deer was rubbing the front fender of the car. Instantly, I felt frightened at the realization that I wasn’t in as much control as I thought.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Lean not on your own understanding
Acknowledge Him in all your ways
He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)
When I read this, I realize that I need to trust in the Lord, even when it feels unsafe or I feel out-of-control. (It usually will.)
And yet, trusting is entirely different than believing. For instance, I know a highly educated RN who will not fly on an airplane. She believes they fly every time she watches them in the sky, but she won’t trust them with her own person.
In our Christian walk, we choose daily, hourly, sometimes even minute-by-minute whether or not we will trust our father. Not just believe him but trust him..
God calls on us to trust him in numerous ways. One of the greatest examples is the way in which he asks us to trust him with our money, even when it feels counterintuitive (insecure and out-of-control). Tithing makes no intellectual sense. How can 90 percent go farther than 100 percent? Yet we’ll sometimes sense God telling us to give “x” for “y.” The first few times it happens, we push back, but over time we learn that it’s fun to be out of control in our giving. A financial counselor will talk about your retirement and strongly suggest you give less away. That would be the safe, in-control thing to do. But you trust God. Each time I fill out a tithe check (or punch in the text to give numbers), I express my trust in God and that is an act of worship. On any occasion, it may be the most worshipful thing I do during a church service.
Here’s a second example. God calls us to enter a relationship with him that, according to him, leads to praying in a language we’ve never learned. That is crazy. That is crazier than tithing. That just might be the most crazy thing about my spiritual life. It feels absolutely out-of-control and unsafe. I don’t know for sure, but maybe that’s part of the point. God could have made the evidence of being filled with his Spirit anything (i.e. the ability to fly or leap tall buildings or see around corners or hear ultrasonic sounds). Anything. In his genius, he chose tongues. And each time I pray in the language he gave me, I trust him and that is worship. Do you know what to pray for? I don’t. I think I do, but I don’t because often my known-language prayers are for security, safety, and the desire to have control. That is not trust and consequently does not offer the worship he deserves for being the genius, all-knowing Creator.
Can you recall images of a person in therapy who has trust issues? The therapist has them stand facing away. “Fall back. Trust Me. I’ll catch you,” says the trained professional. Oh, the torment the patient goes through deciding if he will trust. When I stay in a place of safety and clutch tightly to personal control (or at least perceived control), that takes no trust at all.
Today, each of us are faced with circumstances and relationships in which the Lord is calling us to trust. Yet we can hear him. “Trust Me. I’ll catch you.”
“Trust in the Lord.” Four powerful words that, when heeded, change everything.
Joanna Kalyvas is an executive assistant at the Minnesota District Council. She is blessed to be one of the few on the planet who love going to work each day. In addition to her job, she loves exercise, cleaning, crocheting, crosswords, and cooking.