Tuesday, September 29, 2009

T-R-U-S-T

There are two kinds of people in the world.

I love those general statements! They open you up to challenges on every side. Of course there are more than two kinds of people, but comparisons between two extremes sometimes help us see ourselves more clearly.

This summer I presented a two-part sermon series to my church on trust. The messages were based on Jeremiah 2:13, where God accuses Israel of committing two sins:

They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The imagery God uses here is powerful. He is an Artesian Spring, spurting out an abundant supply of clean, fresh water (representing life) constantly, forever. But Israel prefers to dig empty holes in the ground, with cracks in the bottom, and trust the rains will come once in a while to fill them up.

If you walked for miles in a dry desert and came across a fountain of water spurting into the air and splashing down on the parched ground beneath, what would you do?

I have friends who would immediately shed their clothes and go for a swim. They are one kind of person.

I am another.

I am a container person. When I see water spurting up all over, my first inclination is to grab as many containers as I can find and fill them. I want the security of contained water, a water supply I have some kind of control over. This sheer abandonment, this splashing all over the place, it makes me nervous. I am a broken cistern person by nature.

But sheer abandonment is what God calls us to. It’s the only thing He asks of us, in fact, because it’s the only thing we are capable of giving Him. Sheer abandonment opens us up to receive everything He wants to give us. And He’s all about giving.

I have no problem with partial trust. I know He’s the Spring of Living Water and I am more than willing to dip into it now and then, but I'd like a couple of cisterns dug nearby as well, for a back up supply.

It’s the carefree splashing I have trouble with. The total abandonment, full of delight, without any back up system, as if the water will always be there and always be all I need. What a concept.

So, there are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who splash in the fountain and there are those who scurry around looking for something to put water in. I am a scurrier by nature. I have to work hard at splashing. I have to work hard at trusting.

How to do that? Here’s a suggestion. Five steps to joyful abandonment:

Tune in to Him.
Get His perspective. Our trust has to start with Him and who He is.

Rest in His victory.
His victory is real and eternal and it began, for us, the minute we gave ourselves to Him the first time.

Understand the final end.
Heaven awaits. All else is temporal and relatively unimportant. Trust requires us to be forward-looking.

Stand firm in faith.
Though we’re to rest in His victory, that doesn’t mean we are to act like wimps. The enemy will fight against our abandonment to the Fountain. We need to equip ourselves like soldiers (I Corinthians 16:13) and take our stand in His victory.

Thank Him for who He is and for all He has provided.
Trust automatically results in praise and thanksgiving. Lack of thankfulness is unbelief. And, when we find it hard to trust, the opposite also works. Thanksgiving will create trust because it puts us back at the beginning of this process.

It’s pouring rain outside. My shoulders are wet because I just had to sprint to get the garbage out. The truck was already roaring down my street.

I think I’ll wear the clothes for a while, as a reminder that "wet all over" is not always a bad thing.

Ah-choo! Or maybe not.

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