It is only when you concentrate on its absence that you fully realise how important trust really is. People say that it is money that makes the world go round, but they are wrong for it is trusting that keeps all systems on the go.
You worked well and your employer gives you a cheque to cover your wages; you have your annual medical check-up and your doctor gives you a prescription; you board an airplane and sit in a seat waiting for the aircraft to take you to your destination; you sit in a restaurant waiting for the food you ordered to arrive; the traffic lights go green and you are in your car about to move on; you are on the ground floor waiting for an elevator to take you to the top floor of a tall building.
All mundane, everyday activity and millions others like them we perform effortlessly, and yet every single one becomes impossible without trust. Take away that trust and the world ceases to function, not merely slows down but grinds to an abrupt halt.
No more eating out for fear of being poisoned, no more haircuts for fear of a cut-throat razor wielding, demented, hairdresser; no more driving for fear of runaway vehicles, or speeding unmanned trucks or drive-by shooting or drunk drivers; no more walking, no more riding, in fact no more of anything. Even staying home behind locked doors becomes problematical; is the postman who he pretends to be? Is the gardener a disguised psychopath? Is the maid a mass killer biding her time? Is that look on my spouse's face a sign of my impending demise?
This is absolute madness, on a grand scale, and life thus lived becomes untenable, ugly and horrific until living, if such a state can be so described, is as worthless as the skin of a dead rat.
So you perforce have no choice but to trust.
You trust because you want to be normal, you want to believe that the world around you is rational, that there are sufficient elements of decency and goodness that does not make your existence a living hell.
But can you really trust anybody?
Brutus was a close and dear friend of Julius Caesar who loved and trusted him; and it was this same Brutus who delivered the fatal stab to Caesar's back. It must have been double agony when Caesar exhaled his last breath, "Et tu, Brute" he said, "You too, Brutus."
The media Mogul Rupert Murdoch regarded the former Prime Minister of England Tony Blair as a close friend and confidante. Blair repaid that friendship and trust with covert activities with Murdoch's young wife Wendi, (Murdoch is 83 years old and his ex-wife Wendi Deng is 45 years old, Tony Blair is 60 years old). When Murdoch found out he, in 2013, divorced Wendi and said, "I thought Tony Blair was my friend. I'm now finished with him."
The naked truth is that man is untrustworthy. It matters not how close to you someone is, or even where there are blood ties, all humans fail in this regard of trustworthiness.
It is not unknown for children to turn upon parents and destroy them and vice versus. Husbands and wives have betrayed and murdered each other and best friends have become fearsome enemies. There is no guarantee that the person whom you trust today can be trusted tomorrow. Loyalty and trust are as fickle and shifting as sand dunes in the Arabian desert.
And this state of affairs is not new. From earliest times humanity has failed the trustworthiness test and the sages of old have been unwavering in exposing this mighty flaw.
We are urged not to put our trust in fallible man: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." (Psalm 146:3)
We have been warned not to put unearned trust even in a brother: "Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders." (Jeremiah 9:4)
And it is sheer lunacy to trust in our own righteousness: "When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." (Ezekiel 33:13)
Does this mean then that we must live without a sure trust in anyone? The answer is no, for when fallible humanity is found wanting, the best and surest hope is found in looking heavenwards. The Patriarchs of old understood this only too well.
The world's greatest problems are instability and constant change because it is not anchored to the immutable and changeless. It is therefore always in a grip of flux, always being whipped hither and dither, always in a state of restless confusion. Even in the church these twin evils of instability and constant change are proving formidable obstacles to believers seeking certainty and stability in God. But this should not be so.
Every believer that trusts in God, and therefore is led by God's Spirit, should have a deep settled sense of assurance, good, solid standing, and be firm and unshakeable in God.
David was right and he expressed this very sentiment beautifully:
"They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." (Psalm 125:1)
And David's son, King Solomon, took up this same sentiment and burnished it:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Trusting God is not a suck-it-and-see adventure for those bored and adventurous souls caught up in a wave of experimentation. Trusting God is for serious people who have come to the conclusion that the world has nothing to offer them beyond the mundane, the insignificant and the perishable, none of which truly satisfies their deepest longings. The need for something more durable, more meaningful and more satisfying leads to something beyond what earth can offer; it leads to seeking, finding and trusting God.
You will continue to hear a lot of foolishness from learned people, the scholars and academics, souls who are adrift from God whose most meaningful refuge is in their philosophical and scientific theories, their conjectures and self-serving opinions. They may even have the influence to co-opt the media and clueless politicians into their way of thinking who then badger the public with their unfounded babblings.
Such is the way of the world and, in all likelihood, this will not change until the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. Believers should be aware that the things that are being said today, things dismissive of God and eternal values, are nothing more than a rehash of things said before, and especially during the time of the early church. And just as they had no impact then, they will surely have none now, because all Christians resolutely stand on the same God.
It is because believers trust God that:
1. The chilling winds of adversity may tear at them unceasingly but will never blow them off course.
2. They live a life of joy, peace, love and true happiness because they know that it is God that keeps them and blesses them moment by moment.
3. They take forward the flame of hope to the next generation, demonstrating by their godly living that God is not just an abstract theory but a genuine source of sound, practical living here and now and everlasting life in the world to come.
4. The sceptics and contrarians, the atheists and evolutionists, the naysayers and unenlightened are dumbfounded that ordinary people are today still believing and trusting Almighty God as strongly as ever.
5. They are continuing to walk and live godly lives, day in and day out, and will not yield to the godlessness however prevalent and appealing.
6. They are not confused, dilatory or unstable and David summed it up very well like this: "Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded." (Psalm 22:4-5)
We reap so many magnificent benefits when we trust in God that it is amazing that the whole world is not fully trusting in Him. Benefits like these should not, in a rational world, go unappreciated. If ever the world can be awakened from its destructive slumber; its short-sightedness, its soul-destroying attachment to materialism and gimmickry, it must at some point evaluate the merits of putting trust in Almighty God and only then will they see, like so many happy believers past and present have experienced, that trusting God is truly awesome.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013