(Peter Pollock and Bridget Chumbley have started a regular blog carnival, inviting bloggers to post on an assigned one-word topic and then link to their sites. Two weeks ago, the word was obedience, and the various submissions were amazing in scope, diversity and strong, creative writing. This time, the word is trust.)
We hunger for it, this trust thing. We want to be able to trust, and we want to be trusted. And yet our human experience shows us exactly how fragile trust is – so hard to achieve, so quick to be damaged or destroyed.
We’ve all got examples of how our trust has been betrayed, and if we’re honest with ourselves, how we’ve betrayed others’ trust. Trust is born over a long period of time but can die in a flashed moment of violation or hurt – a comment, an implied criticism, a raised eyebrow, a confidence shared with someone else. That’s all it takes.
Why do we believe, and why do we know, that trust is so important? Why is there such a hunger for it?
I suspect it has to do with how we’re constructed. And I suspect it also has to do with related needs and desires – fellowship, belonging and security. In other words, it’s the desire for relationship that God wires into each of us, a desire that can truly be met in only one way, because everything human will always fall short, will always disappoint.
And in that sense, trust requires the long view. Look at Jesus and his disciples.
Jesus picked the 12 disciples. He knew their shortcomings and frailties. In Gethsemane, the darkest night of his soul, they couldn’t even stay awake. And what a record of achievement they had. One betrayed him into the hands of the authorities. One denied him, three times. All of them disappeared and hid after his arrest. They had walked with him and been taught by him and loved by him for three years. He had poured his love and trust into them. And they vanished at the first sign of trouble.
We’d do exactly the same thing. And Jesus knew that – he knew that about his disciples and he knows that about us. But he loved them, and he loves us, anyway. As untrustworthy and unfaithful as we are, he loves us anyway.
It’s because he takes the long view. He knew what his disciples would ultimately do, and he knew how many of them would willingly go to their deaths for him. (And think about Paul – not one of the 12, but about the last person one would trust with the critical mission of reaching the Roman world.) Jesus knew that his teaching and encouragement and love for the disciples would ultimately change the world.
When we fail someone’s trust, or when someone fails us, perhaps we, too, should take that long view.