Hi everyone. Rob here.
After a busier than usual week last week I knew that I needed some time out yesterday. I headed over to Mt Maunganui to soak in the beach, the beauty and one of their famous Copenhagen Cone ice creams. Most of all it was an opportunity to hear from God and sit with him without any agendas.
One of the things on my heart is that life isn’t getting any easier for people I know and love, including my church family. I also believe that the world is in a very precarious place right now and it wouldn’t take much to send it over the edge into serious conflict. In the middle of this combination of personal suffering and global insecurity stands Jesus inviting us to trust his Father and trust him. I pictured Jesus inviting the broken, the proud, the rebellious, the confused and the hurting people in life to receive the Father’s embrace. The question they were being given was would they allow the Father to wrap his arms around them and would they wrap theirs around him?
Losing trust is probably our biggest temptation. It’s what happened in Eden as the serpent spun lies around Eve which Adam bought into also. From the loss of trust came a fear of God and the desire to hide from him. The reality is that there’s no intimacy in any relationship without trust. Relationships without trust are self-protective. They require armour to shield yourself from pain but that armour also keeps out the joy and the love. Trust requires us to drop the armour and to become vulnerable. It’s the hardest and most necessary thing in the world. This is especially so when it comes to God. The world doesn’t need a church that believes all the right things. It needs a church that trusts and walks with God in the midst of suffering and upheaval.
One of the things that happens when trust is lost is that we can ask the other to prove that they are worthy of our trust. We need to know that they hear us, understand us, will act and advocate for us and will even sacrifice themselves for us out of their love. As you can see this is exactly what God has done for us through Jesus our rescuer. He came in the flesh and made himself vulnerable for us. No one has suffered more than Jesus did because no one else has borne the sins of the world on their shoulders. This is why the journey of rebuilding trust has to go through the cross. Jesus’ journey is our journey. This is why he tells us to take up our cross and follow him. Like him we are asked to embrace the reality of the pain and trust in the power, the love and the redemption of our God.
Just as Jesus experienced, this journey is enormously difficult. Like Jesus we will pray that this cup be taken from us. Like Jesus we will find that friends let us down at times. Like Jesus we will ask God where he is and why are we forsaken. But Jesus showed through his resurrection where the real power lies. Death and suffering do not, can not, will not, have the last say. Life does. Love does. God does.
In the end all but one of Jesus disciples chose trust. They all had their moments of betrayal, of fear, of doubt, but in the end they knew that Jesus had changed them. They stuck around long enough to witness the world changing. As Peter said in John 6:68-69,
Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.
Grace and peace everyone and may you experience a revolution of trust in your life as you give yourself over to the Father’s embrace.