Monday, October 19, 2009

Trust: The Long View

(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.


Helen said...

The long view...that is an interesting perspective on the word trust. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

As untrustworthy and unfaithful as we are, he loves us anyway.

These are such amazing words... the key is truly believing them!

Thanks, Glynn.

Russell Holloway said...

I'll practice the longview more often Glynn. Our thoughts were similar on this topic.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. Jesus was willing to overlook their breaking away because He knew what they would eventually become in the future. Amazing what foresight can do.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post, Glynn. Especially how you tied in Christ's knowledge of what the disciples would eventually do. Good post!

Candy said...

Jesus certainly didn't pick 12 perfect people, did He? That is always so comforting to me. The long view to eternity, that's what we're trusting in. I loved this!

katdish said...

Okay, ouch. I'm a trusting person, but if you betray my trust? Let's just say it's a good thing I don't have any nefarious connections to the crime world. (Kidding - sort of.)

But if we're striving to be more like Jesus, then I suppose taking the long view is appropriate.

So thanks for making me feel all convicted and stuff. Now where's that bag of Hershey's kisses?

Billy Coffey said...

Loved where you took this, Glynn. I've never considered trust from this angle. Thanks for giving me a new perspective.

Anonymous said...

going to try and think about that long view, thanks.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

The long view is painfully difficult--unless one trusts God to reveal it in time.

Wonderful post. Thanks, Glynn.

Peter P said...

It's a shame we don't take the long view.

God can prove himself trustworthy daily for 50 years and the as soon as something happens that we don't quite understand, we stop trusting him.

We're pretty dumb really (don't tell my kids I used that word :-) )

Great post, Thanks, Glynn.

Rebecca said...

The long view...I hadn't considered it like that, but what a good interpretation. Thanks for a thoughtful post!

Chris Sullivan said...

This post is causing some inner conflict. Jesus took the long view, but he knew the long view. So in reality our taking the long view isn't really trusting in that person but trusting in God's plan for that person and what he is going to do in that person. Jesus didn't trust people as much as he called them to be the men and women they were designed to be.
Jesus gave Judas responsibility. Did he trust him? No. I'm not really sure where any of that leaves me thoughts on this subject other than to always do right, trust the whispers of the holy spirit, love people (which I'm not really sure means trusting them) and allowing God to sort out the rest.
Great post. I may be more confused now though.

jasonS said...

Good thoughts that need to be chewed on- thanks!