In sticking with my theme of anxiety…I want to explore how trust, or lack there of trust, really affects my anxiety! So, let us begin by looking at the definition of “trust”.
Trust: (noun) reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.
In my walk of the Christian life, trust has also been something I have struggled with from time to time. In fact, when I was 20, I directed a retreat and I got to choose my own theme for the weekend. In prayer, very quickly, the theme, “No Doubt”, came to me. I choose a song for the weekend by a Christian band called Petra, also called, “No Doubt”. (It is still one of my go to songs today when I am struggling!) My theme revolved around the story of Doubting Thomas and his doubt of the resurrected Jesus. I had a beautiful banner made that had Jesus and Thomas embracing with the words: “My Lord and My God!” I have always thought Thomas got the raw end of the stick. One time he expressed that he needed to see Jesus, and he was given the nickname of Doubting Thomas for the rest of eternity. His words of “My Lord and My God!” have become a beautiful prayer that the Church still prays today. Thomas had great faith in the Lord and in that weak moment of doubt I am sure he learned a lot.
The other day I was doing religion with my nine-year-old son and we were learning about Thomas. We had a beautiful conversation about the story we find in John’s Gospel. My son said, “Mom, he watched him die, it’s not like people come back to life all the time…I think I’d say I need to see him to believe it too!” My son found no fault in Thomas. He did not call him a doubter; he did not ear mark him a man of little faith, but he stood on his side instead. I shared with my son that I sometimes struggle with trust too. That there are times when I just want Jesus to walk in and tell me He is here, and everything is going to be ok. I told him that I relate to Thomas a lot and have asked for Thomas to pray for me on many occasions. My son asked me to give him some examples…and so I thought I would share some of these stories with you all!
In our current world and family situation I have had a lot of trust issues. COVID has really affected our family in great ways. Now, I will tell you many positive and beautiful things have come from our need to slow down and quarantine, but much pain, grief, and suffering has also come. I have been tested more in my ability to trust in the last six months than I think I have ever been in my entire life. See, we have a son sitting in an orphanage in China that we should have gone to get at the beginning of March. Our adoption was complete, we received all approvals from the United States and China, and then COVID hit and travel bans began. COVID began in China in January, so from January until late June, we did not have any updates on our son. We had no idea if he was safe, if he was healthy, or if he was even alive. Trust was tested. Then, month by month has passed and we still are sitting here and have not been granted approval to travel and go get him. With each passing month, trust is tested. There are no signs of this virus slowing down in the United States and each day I hear a new conspiracy theory about the virus, so each day, trust is tested. I’ve had all out screaming matches with God, begging him to cure this virus or give us an ability to get to China and nothing has happened…yet…trust is tested. Did you see my “yet” there…I BELIEVE that we will get there! I BELIEVE we will get my son! Why do I believe these things because God has asked me to trust Him! Each time I scream at God and yell my frustrations, He consoles me and reminds me that He is in charge and in His time, I will get my son. Now, this trust is not easy, nor does it mean I don’t still struggle, but God’s consolation helps.
Other examples where my trust has faltered have had to do with health of those I love. When my mom has had her heart attacks, my diagnosis with an odd auto-immune disorder, my daughters journey with lumps on her cheek that ended us up at mayo and an 8 hour surgery to remove what was atypical tuberculosis. It is these times that my faith is pushed to its limits that I cling to God most, and it is also in these moments that I end up talking myself out of trusting so easily. Why? It is the devil at work. When I cling closer to Christ, Satan whispers in my ear, “Do you think God’s even real? Do you think God really cares?” I have gotten better at recognizing the tactics of Satan in my life, thus, am also better at telling him to go away in these moments too.
Jesus desires, even begs us to trust Him. Trust is not easy, Jesus knows that. Jesus also wants us to remember that just because our trust flutters for a moment, does not mean our faith is weak. What it does mean, is that we must rely on our faith when our trust falters and cry out, “My Lord and My God!” …and mean it, really mean it!