Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Trust Fall of Faith
Have you ever done one of those trust falls before? The kind where you stand with your body as stiff and straight as a board then fall backwards while hoping that the people behind you will catch you? I've been doing them since I was about 9 years old in my early acting classes.
We started easy with trust circles. Standing in the center of a tight circle of fellow actors, I'd fall forward or backward and get pushed gently around the circle. Once I'd gone around once, the circle would take a step backwards. This would be repeated until the falling was a little further each time. Trust was built up gradually.
But the scariest trust fall I ever did was while leading a mission team in Appalachia. We were staying at a camp that had a low ropes course for team building. One of the stations was a trust fall where you stood on a platform which had to have been at least 15 feet tall and fell backwards into the awaiting arms of your teammates. Quite a rush! (But maybe more so when I was standing at the bottom, hoping and praying that I and my team -- mostly made up of scrawny middle-schoolers -- would be able to catch some of the other members who weighed 250+ pounds.)
At any rate, this week it occurred to me that my faith in God should be like that trust fall. I should trust God so much that wherever I go, whatever I do, I have full confidence that His arms will be ready for me. Unfortunately, my trust is not always so complete. I want to sneak a peek behind me as if to say, "Are you really there God? Do you really plan to catch me?" Chalk this up to my limited ability to trust in God's promises.
On other occasions, I want to throw an arm back and catch myself. Chalk this up to my sense of self-sufficiency and my need to be in control. I'm only willing to fall a little ways, only willing to feel slightly uncomfortable, before I think I need to take over again. Essentially, I'm telling God, "I trust you only so far." When things start to get unpredictable, that's when my ability to fall back with reckless abandon seems to be disturbed. And yet, that is when I most need to do it.
For awhile now I have found myself confused and overwhelmed. Unduly stressed by a particular situation in my life and understanding that much of the stress has been self-imposed, due to my lack of trust in God and my tendency to try to micro-manage things instead of allowing them to happen. This epiphany was confirmed this week when I opened my Bible and randomly landed on Psalm 125 which begins with these words --
1 Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;
they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
2 Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.
Secure. That comes from trusting God. Trusting in myself only leaves me assailed by doubts and speculations.
Surrounded. By God. Both now and forever. That reminded me of those trust circles from my early days. No matter which way I fall, God will be there. He surrounds me on all sides. There is no-where that I can fall that He won't catch me.
The trick is not to fear. Not to doubt. Not to give in to the temptation that I need to control things. Not to try to take over. Not to consider the circumstances as greater than Him. God is in control and His loving arms will not let me fall. And there is a great peace and sense of release in that.
So, Lord, no matter what happens, give me the grace to TRUST in YOU!