Fake news, broken promises, stolen data. Is there anyone you can trust these days? Trust is at the heart of relationships, the core of leadership, the foundation of successful business and organizational practices. Stephen M.R. Covey, in New York Times Bestseller “The Speed of Trust”, says that trust is the one thing that changes everything.
Trust requires integrity, honesty, and confidence in people. Here are three things that I practise to gain trust:
People often ask how I talk to strangers and get them to open up to me. I love people and love to encourage them. I met Maggie at a SkyTrain station. She was resting on her walker asking for money. It was cold and windy and I asked her how long she had been sitting there. “Three hours I’ve been here and I only got a bit of change.” I asked what she needed the money for and she said, “I need to pay $20 a day for my rent at a hostel and my social security cheque doesn’t come till Monday.” I asked, “What’s going to happen to you?” She said, “I am trusting God to meet my needs. He always provides for me.” I said, “Very few people trust God.” Then she got all fired up! Maggie became indignant. “Why don’t they trust God? What are they afraid of?”
(This is an abbreviated version of the conversation. Throughout the conversation, I questioned her and what she said helped reassure me that she was not going to spend the money on drugs. It convinced me that she was being truthful. When I sympathized with her and also shared a bit of my struggles, she was quick to encourage me. In just fifteen minutes, we realized we had a shared faith in Jesus and prayed together. I prayed for Maggie and she prayed for me and my family. And yes, I gave her $20.)
So it's one thing to develop trust between people. But her question, “Why don’t they trust God?” is an even bigger deal. Covey says trust changes everything. Really trusting in God really changes everything. But even people who say they are Christians don’t trust God. “Believers” don’t believe. We all have a measure of unbelief, skepticism and lack of trust in God. True or not?
Here are some statements that Jesus makes. Ask yourself, "Do I trust Jesus?"
“I am the Way.”
"Really, Jesus? The only way?" For some reason, in our culture, being exclusive is offensive. We look for other ways. We go our own way. But at some point, we realize that our way is a dead end. Are you there yet?
“I am the Truth.”
The world mimics Pilate who retorts, “What is truth?” Why do we scoff at the concept of truth. Immanuel Kant, a philosopher, identified “objects of reality” and called this the “noumena”. There is a world external to us, a reality that is not dependent on our experience or even belief. He was skeptical though and thought we could not engage with reality.
I think we just find it too hard to face the truth. We have swallowed the lies that say that what we experience is more valuable than what is real. Don't be deceived. There is truth and Jesus says He is the Truth. We're concerned that people get offended with that thought so we just find it easier to acquiesce to our culture and say, “It's okay. Whatever is true for you…” Think carefully. Do we really love people when we don’t challenge them to seek truth, and to seek Jesus?
“I am the Life.”
Jesus says that when we are immersed in Him, connected to Him, joined to Him, we have life….real life, to the full, overflowing, abundant. But instead, we live how we want, trying to find happiness and peace and love on our own terms. How is that working for you?
“I am the Bread of Life, the Living Water.”
Jesus calls us to His table but we would rather fill ourselves and indulge our appetites elsewhere. (For me it’s chips and Netflix.) What else are we turning to? How do we satisfy our hunger and thirst?
In response to Jesus' call to repentance, we would say, “Naw, I’m good.” meaning, “I’m okay. I’m satisfied. I’m happy in myself.” Jeff Vanderstelt says, “Repentance is not a change of behaviour but a change of our god.” And God will never force Himself on us, but will wait patiently while our gods are emptied of any meaning and substance.
“Trust in me.”
Who or what are we trusting? Are we really trusting Jesus? Or are we making up a fake Jesus? No wonder we feel let down and disappointed. We need to research who Jesus really is. It’s right in front of us in our Bibles. Read it for yourselves. Use your brains and reason it out. Open your minds and don’t presume you already know it all. There is a supernatural work that the Holy Spirit does when you come to the Word of God with a teachable spirit and when you extend trust to God.
I have not always read my Bible with consistency or with enthusiasm. These days, I’m listening to it. (Yes, here’s another reason I’m addicted to my smartphone.) It’s amazing the difference it makes when someone is reading it out loud. When I hear something I’m not sure about, I listen to it again. I listen in various versions. I ask questions. I wonder what it means. I face my doubts. I apply logic and context and when I’m still in midair and not settled, can I continue to trust God?
Can I continue to trust God when our son goes off rock climbing for 10 days in the desert? (Not him in the pic). How about when I don’t have enough staff to manage the Missions Fest booth? Or when I have to cancel a marriage conference and lose $2000 deposit? What about when my friends with cancer don’t get physically healed and die?
I trust God because I am convinced of God’s love. God gives up His Son. Jesus gives up everything to come and be with us. He even gives up His life, suffering, bleeding and suffocating to death.
I trust God because I am convinced of God’s power when I hear of Jesus’ healings, calming storms, coming back to life from the grave and ascending to be at God's right hand.
I trust God because I am convinced of God’s openness when Jesus says to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” He is totally open to scrutiny and investigation. Billions of people have found him trustworthy, including me.
So will you really trust God? What are you afraid of?
Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus,