There is no love without trust. Not really! We may think we are loving our teenager when we do not trust them. This is different. Sometimes we lack confidence in our teenagers ability to handle situations they may encounter. They are inexperienced. They are not street-wise. So we set rules. When my daughter was a teen she wanted to take an overnight train to Chicago with two of her girlfriends. I did not have confidence that they could handle the potential threats they might encounter. So because I loved her, I said “No!.”
But when we think about love and trust in our relationship with God, confidence in God’s abilities are not at issue. God is perfectly capable. When we grow enough in our confidence in God, we come to realize that he is trustworthy because He is always motivated by His love for us. Every now and then, I have to go back to a book I read years ago that confronted me for the first time that my trust in the full capability of God must be joined with my confidence that God handles me and the world of events and circumstances around me with a perfect expression of His love for me. That book lays on its side on the shelf behind the chair that I start my day in every day. I keep it there so that I can see it often as a reminder that my trust in God is inseparable from my confidence in His love for me. The book is Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning.
The God has spared me misfortune many times — and those times that are vivid in my memory only represent the known times of my deliverance. I remember almost being mugged in downtown Memphis. I remember walking away from a totaled Impala as a high school senior. I remember not being shot in the head when a man was robbing the motel where I worked the dead-man shift as a college student. I have enjoyed successes in ministry, a variety of experience and travels, a treasured family, and many possessions. I consider all these to be gifts beyond my natural capacity. In fact, they seem to me to be so far beyond what I could have reasonably expected, that it slaps at insanity not to attribute them to God’s provision.
But the God I trust to love me has freely allowed chronic illness, deaths in the family, disappointments in ministry, and extraordinary moments of dissatisfaction with the way things were going during seasons of my life. As I have learned to believe that these events and situations were manifestations of God’s transforming plan for me, I have treaded further along the trace toward knowing God better. What I am discovering in this metamorphic relationship with Jesus is that what God revealed in that display of passion on a horrible cross is a clear sign of what it means to Him to love me. I have confidence that that love is a certain and indisputable indicator of a well-placed trust on my part.
I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever” (Psalm 52:8).