The Heart of Faith
by Kendra Perry
"God is love" (1 John 4:16), and that's why I trust him.
The heart of faith is relationship. The heart of relationship is trust. When trust is broken, our relationships don't work.
From the time we enter the world, we learn about trust. Babies who are fed, changed, held, and soothed when they cry learn that they can depend on those around them to meet their needs. Babies whose needs are not met learn that the world is a scary, random place where anything could happen. If they experience severe abuse or neglect, they may grow up to become mistrustful, hypervigilant children who try to control everything they can about their lives — including rejecting relationships with others before they can be rejected.
This is the core of sin. Lucifer became Satan when he failed to trust that God knew best how to be in charge. He wanted to take control. Eve fell when Satan tempted her to mis-trust God's instructions. "Did he really tell you not to eat from this tree? Maybe he's trying to hide something from you."
When real trust (that has been earned and is followed through on) is present, our relationships work the way God meant them to, even if we're not perfect all the time.
When we mistrust others (either because they are not trustworthy or because of damaged trust in our past), we focus on faults. When we mistrust God, we look for flaws in the Bible, in other Christians' lives, and use those to explain why we can't trust God and walk forward in relationship with him.
When we trust others, we are generous with their faults. While we do hold them accountable, we also realize that not everyone is perfect. When people mess up, we say, "That's okay, it happens." or "I forgive you. Please don't do it again." When we trust God, we accept that we may not understand everything about the Bible or God's instructions to us, but we believe he intends it for good. When we see flaws in other Christian's lives, we remember the flaws in our own lives and believe that God is working in their lives just as he is in ours.
This is the core of faith.
Do you question if God exists? Are you living in an attachment-disordered relationship with him? Are you hypervigilant about his faults, trying to maintain control over your own life at all costs?
It's pretty hard to trust someone who isn't there. First, try asking him to show you his presence. Find out if he is trustworthy enough to enter a relationship. Like a baby, cry out to God about everything you need. Relax in his arms and let him show you, step by step, the wonderful world he has created for you. Try building trust with him one moment at a time and discover the freedom that comes from resting in him and letting him care for you.
Are you a growing Christian, exploring the boundaries of your faith the way children explore the boundaries of their world and their parents’ words? When you ask "why," see what happens if you assume that God DOES know what he's talking about and is trying to help you. See what he shows you. Try obeying something he says, even if you don't fully understand it yet, and find out what happens. If he tells you, “No,” try imagining what danger he might be protecting you from.
Perhaps you’re a rebellious “teenaged” Christian, rejecting what you’ve always been told and looking for your own way of understanding and doing things. Perhaps you have been scarred by broken trust and relationships that give you good reason to question God. The good news is that his heart is big enough for all your anger, all your questions, all your doubts. Bring them to him. Go ahead, yell in his face. Like Job, you may be surprised by a powerfully personal encounter with the Almighty, even if it doesn’t come packaged with a neat set of answers to every question.
If you are a mature Christian who has been walking with God for some time, rejoice in the evidences of his trustworthiness in your past. Thank him for the ways he has provided and led. And ask him what he wants to entrust to you. How can you better reflect his faithfulness into the world around you?
And let us all look forward to the day when we can say together, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us! This is the Lord, in whom we trusted. Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!” (Isaiah 25:9, NLT).