I write to tell her how deeply blessed I was by our conversation. She responds with gratefulness, admitting she’d been feeling like a lost cause. I’m amazed how often we can feel like failures when God is gently and powerfully loving others through us.
Our struggle can keep us dependent. It can keep opening new places to receive God’s love in our own brokenness. It can also bind us in knots of unhelpful insecurity and anxiety.
I return again to words I’ve been contemplating for a long time: “God trusts you.” How? Why? What does that even mean?
I pray to see then go looking.
First I sort through what it doesn’t mean.
- It doesn’t mean that God expects us never to mess up. He knows we’re human—limited and likely to make mistakes—and still, as long as we’re on this earth, in a battle with sin. (Rom 7:14-25)
- It doesn’t mean He expects us to be able to do things on our own. He tells us up front we can’t. (John 15:5)
Then I begin to see how God does trust us.
- God trusts us to carry His message into the world.“Go! I am sending you. . .” (Luke 10:3; c.f Matt 28:18-20)
- He trusts us to share His work. “. . . I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing.” (Jn 14:12 MSG)
- He trusts us with the stewardship of the world (Gen 126; Psalm 8:5-8) and, ultimately, with the possession of His kingdom (Daniel 7:18, 22, 27), even judging the world and angels (1 Cor 6:2-3). And, living in us, he gives us the wisdom and competence to begin making sound decisions now (1 Cor 2:15-16; 6:2-3).
- He even trusts us with the deep places of His heart. (Jn 15:15; 16:12-15)
God trusts us. But why?
Here's what I love most: God trusts us to bear His life into the world not because of who we are on our own but because He lives in us.
The fact that it doesn’t depend on me doesn’t make it any less true that God trusts me. It just means I don’t have to carry the weight of impossible expectations.
God trusts us to carry His life into the world, and He puts Himself in us to ensure the outcome.
He seals His trust (of us) with a trust (the Holy Spirit, placed in us).
He trusts us. . . and He carries the weight of that trust Himself.
Trust always has context
I used to love the nights as an obstetrical resident when I was on call with Dr. G. I trusted him and I knew he trusted me, and that set me free to do my best work and enjoy doing it. There were many reasons for our mutual trust: one was that we each understood and respected our unique roles and positions.
- He knew I understood my limits and would ask when I needed help. I knew that when I called he’d come quickly.
- He knew I’d work hard. I knew I could always count on him to pitch in when the workload was too heavy for me to safely handle.
- He knew I’d learned well the basics of surgery, so he’d let me try something more difficult, standing by to help as needed. I was eager to try, knowing he always had my back.
His trust in me wasn’t lessened by knowing that I sometimes needed help. It was strengthened by knowing that I wouldn’t hesitate to ask.
Trust happens within a context which understands and respects our unique roles and limitations. I trusted Dr. G., but I wouldn’t ask him to fix my toilet. I trust my plumber, but I wouldn’t let him cut my hair. We trust people to be who they’ve agreed to be in the context of our relationship.
We trust God to be God—all-powerful, full of grace, and eternally faithful.
He trusts us to be His people—limited and dependent, alive and growing, loving Him and wanting to love Him more.
God trusts us! The declaration is not a heavy expectation of super-human performance or sinless perfection, but an invitation to live more securely in our place as limited (and loved!) people in relationship with the unlimited God who, through His power at work within us, is able to do immeasurably more than anything we can ask or imagine.