“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
— Deuteronomy 31:6
I was babysitting Shelby, an adorable 3-year old girl. I picked her up and was going to flip her over backwards onto the ground, something I always enjoyed doing as a child. But halfway down she tensed up and hung in mid-air, her body stiff with fear. Knowing how much fun she would have if she just trusted me, I talked her down and she lowered one hand to the ground, then the other, then finally flipped over and landed safely on her feet.
The first words out of her mouth were, “Again! Again!”
So we did it again … and again … and again, until I thought my arms would fall off. But then it struck me what an apt lesson in trust and faith that was.
If you’re like me, there’s been a time in your life (or many times) when you’ve been scared stiff by what you’ve gotten yourself into — what God’s gotten you into. You thought at first you could handle it but after a while you start having second thoughts. What if I’m not good enough? What if they don’t like me? What if … What if …? Our natural tendency is to freeze up and to start looking rather desperately for a way of escape. Trust God? He’s the One who got us into this mess!
For me, a recent lesson in trust occurred when I made the decision to move from a comfortable life in Virginia, where I’d built relationships and friendships over the span of a decade, to Missouri. The reason for the move may have been a good one — helping to care for my mom — but it felt like I was leaving an exciting life I loved in order to become sequestered in country backwoods. Fast-forward nearly a year and I am amazed to look back and see that this has been one of the most blessed, productive, and peaceful seasons of my life.
God knows that as humans we have difficulty with trusting. Instead of flipping us over all at once into — or out of — a new experience, even an unbearingly painful one, He gently, calmly, carefully lowers us one hand at a time until we are safely on solid ground again. Step by step, we learn to trust God more. We see that He’s been faithful before and chances are pretty good that He’ll be faithful again.
And once the danger has passed, we may even find ourselves thinking, “That wasn’t so bad after all. Again! Again!”
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”