Just three little words, but they're shaking my world. “Love always trusts.” (1 Cor 13:7)
It’s a needed reminder that my loving of other people has to include my choosing to trust them.
It’s a not-so-surprising reminder that a big part of loving God is trusting Him.
But then comes the surprise and I wonder if I’m hearing right. “I trust you.” Huh? God trusts me? I thought that only worked the other way around. But God is love and love always trusts. Love trusts the beloved and I am beloved.
So then Love trusts me to do what? This could feel like a really heavy burden. “Jesus trusts his disciples to live out the plan.” (Neil Redenbaugh) But we have to listen carefully. Jesus doesn’t trust us to be perfect. He trusts us to live out the plan, and the plan is all about loving and failing and turning around and running home to his arms and finding ourselves loved again without condemnation. The plan is about living before the world this wonder of grace which keeps loving and forgiving and welcoming.
Even the question, “trusts me to do what?” may tell only part of the story. Yes, He trusts us to be part of what He is doing. But I think of my friend’s comment about the deep foundation of trust underlying our friendship. It’s not that she trusts me to have the frozen pizza ready the moment she walks in the door, or the floor swept, or even, necessarily, always to be able to follow through on plans we made. The trust goes much deeper than that. Deep enough to be honest when I’m too sick to follow through with plans without fear that it will destroy our friendship. Deep enough for each of us to say the hard things even though they might bring tears, knowing that walking through them together will deepen the friendship. I trust her to keep loving when I’m a mess, and I trust her not to hide from me when she’s messy. Trust is the basis for rest, no matter what state we’re each in.
Trust means we give each other the benefit of the doubt; we hear the words of the other through the assumption that the other loves and is not out to destroy. Trust assumes we’re on the same side. It doesn’t mean we always agree, but we are for each other. That’s what I’m saying when I trust God: “I know you are for me.” I may not understand His words or actions; I may even feel hurt or angry. But I know that He is for me and His intent is to heal, not destroy.
And when He says He trusts me? Maybe He’s saying that our relationship is a place He can – and wants to – reveal the truth of who He is. That He chooses to be Himself in my presence. In me. For me. Through me for others. (How amazing is that!)
Maybe receiving His “I trust you” is part of growing into the awareness of “I in you and you in me.” Maybe He’s telling me that He knows He’s welcome in my life, affirming that our love is a place He can rest and enjoy and make His home. Perhaps He's inviting me, if I don’t understand or am hurt by something He says or does, to ask Him about it. Maybe “I trust you” doesn’t mean “I trust you to do it all” so much as “I trust you to be honest with me when you're out of your depth.”
My mind wanders back to my work with more junior doctors. There were those I trusted without hesitation – trusted enough to leave on their own without being watched every second. They didn’t know how to do everything perfectly; they did have a pretty good sense of their limits, and I knew they wouldn't hesitate to call for help when needed. They worked well at their level, but didn’t try to be more than they were. I would have trusted those junior residents to deliver my own baby more than I would have trusted a fully trained obstetrician who was too proud to call a colleague for help when things were getting out of control.
There are a thousand possible implications to God saying “I trust you.” I’m just beginning to explore them. Care to join me?
What might it mean for you to hear God say He trusts you?