During my morning meditation, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a word that I’ve used quite a bit lately; it’s the word trust.
I recall it coming up after my surgery when I began physical therapy in May. Unknown to my therapist, I discussed how uncomfortable wearing my arm sling was with my surgeon and he conceded that while at home, there was no need to wear it. He gave me this permission with the understanding that if I went out, I would wear the sling. The problem was that I got adjusted to not wearing a sling around the house, so on my first therapy appointment I rolled up without my arm in a sling.
As my therapist walked into the room she immediately began with an interrogation; the only missing prop for this scene was an intense light shining in my face. Instead of the normal hello followed by the introduction protocols, she alarmingly asked.
“Where’s your sling?”
I didn’t pick up on the seriousness of her tone and my, it’s no big deal reply answered,
“Oh my bad, you know what; I forgot to put it on before I left the house.”
“You’re supposed to be in that sling all the time!”
“I know, I know, but I forgot it this morning. I haven’t been wearing it at home and I simply left this morning without putting it on.”
“Does Dr._____________ know you don't wear the sling?”
“I wear the sling; I just forgot to put it on this morning.”
“Yes, but does he know you don’t wear it at all?”
“OK, I didn’t say, ‘I don’t ever wear it.’ What I said was, ‘I don’t wear it around the house.’ And I did discuss it with my doctor and he agreed that I didn’t have to wear it at home.”
“Well, I’ll have to talk with the doctor to see if he really did say that.”
At this point, I’m a little puzzled.
“You say that like I’m not telling you the truth.”
To which she replied,
“You’d be surprised at the lies I’ve been told by patients.”
“Look, I realize you don’t know me but I have no reason to lie to you. I mean really, what would be the point? What can you do to me? I have nothing to gain by lying to you. If that were the case, why would I even come here today if the intent wasn’t to facilitate recovery from the surgery? I’m here to get better. The fact that I’m sitting here with you implies not only that I want to get better but that I’m extending trust to you to help me. But that works both ways. You have to extend trust to me as well.”
She looked at me and replied,
“You’ll have to earn my trust.”
I looked into her bluish-grey eyes, smiled and said,
“Trust isn’t something earned. It’s a choice one makes. You give it or you don’t. You may want assurances but ultimately, you extend trust despite any reservations you may have or you simply don’t trust me.”
She stood there quietly for a moment looking at me and then responded,
“I guess that’s true but I’ll have to think about that.”
It was in that moment that I myself realized that trust is not something measured out in increments; it is given in full measure or it isn’t given at all. I could see that God through Jesus Christ extended trust to me but He went beyond extending trust by demonstrating His trustworthiness. He did this without requiring me to earn His trust.
How foolish I’d been for most of my life, parceling out itty, bitty bits of trust as a reward to those who satisfied me. I wasn’t really extending trust; I was doing what was necessary to get what I wanted.
The object of trust isn’t getting something in return; it’s giving of one’s self to another. This is what God does.
There are several Hebrew words used in scripture for trust, three which I will focus on are chacah, yachal and mibtach. Chacah (khaw-saw’) means to flee (to) for protection; [figuratively] to confide in:--have hope, make refuge, (put) trust. This word reminds me of times when I’ve sought the shelter of a doorway from a hard driving rain; trusting it to keep me from being drenched by the downpour. Scriptures which speak of chacah include:
“And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge [trust] in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’”1
“My God, my rock, in whom I [trust] take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge [trust].”2
Yachal (yaw-chal’) means to wait; by implication it means to be patient, hope :--( cause to, have, or make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, or wait. This reminds me of those times I’ve stood in a long line waiting for an audience to speak with someone, or standing in line at a counter while those before me completed their transactions. Scriptures which speak of yachal include:
“Though he slay me, I will hope [trust] in Him.”3
“And for My arm they will wait [trust] expectantly.”4
Mibtach (mib-tawkh’) means a refuge, i.e. security, or (subjectively speaking) assurance:--confidence, hope, sure or trust. This reminds me of the attitude I had when I competed in sports and the confidence within me that victory was mine. Scriptures which speak of mibtach include:
“How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust…”5
“For Thou art my hope; O Lord God, Thou art my confidence [trust] from my youth.”6
The Greek word most often used in the New Testament for trust is the word elpizo (el-pid’-zo) which means, to expect or confide:--(have, thing) hope (-d) (for), trust. Scriptures which reference elpizo include:
“indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves; but in God who raises the dead;”7
“who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope [trust]. And He will yet deliver us,”8
“For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope [trust] on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”9
So as I meditate on the biblical concept of trust, I realize that it incorporates my willingness to confide in God the things which are of concern to me, my desire to seek refuge in Him and to live my life in a way that reinforces the hope I’ve placed in Christ.
I have been let down by friends, by family members, I have encountered people who are not trustworthy, and I have betrayed the trust which others placed in me; a betrayal which causes disappointment. But I have no accusation against God for a betrayal of the trust I’ve given Him. I’ve discovered that even when I didn’t trust God, He proved Himself trustworthy.
God upholds His word so He never has a problem demonstrating He is trustworthy.
My word has failed me and others so often that I must acknowledge that I’m not trustworthy.
I can’t rely on myself to be trustworthy; I must rely on the trustworthiness of God.
If I am to allow Christ to live in me, then I must yield this part of me to Christ and allow His attribute of trust to operate in my life.
How do I allow this to happen?
As I mentioned earlier, the Hebrew word yachal means to wait, or to be patient. The apostle Paul refers to this in his letter to the church in Galatia:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…patience…”10
Patience teaches me to trust God in every area of my life.
In learning to be patient, I find that God gives me opportunities to exercise my patient muscles. I know there are no physical muscles for patience but there are spiritual muscles that I can exercise that develop patience in me.
So the next time I’m standing in line and the cashier calls for a price check, or the customer in front of me has fifteen items in the line which says, 10 items or less, rather than allow the situation to blossom into a frustrating experience, I will remind myself that God is giving me an opportunity to demonstrate patience. In doing so, I will be confiding to Him that, I trust You Lord; not me.
Thank You that You prove Yourself trustworthy to me. You are teaching me to seek refuge in You, to confide in You, to wait on You, to trust in You. You've equipped me with the fruit of the Spirit, and so I have patience resident within me. I will no longer rely and trust in me; my trust is in You Lord. You are giving me learning opportunities that patience may have it's perfect work in me. Thank You for enabling me to grow in Your grace, truth and trust. Amen.
- Judges 9:15, NASB
- 2 Samuel 22:3, NASB
- Job 13:15, NASB
- Isaiah 51:5, NASB
- Psalm 40:4, NASB
- Psalm 71:5, NASB
- 2 Corinthians 1:9, NASB
- 2 Corinthians 1:10, NASB
- 1 Timothy 4:10, NASB
- Galatians 5:22, NASB
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
- The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6