But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17: 8-9
My dad would have been 68 years young today. So many memories swirling in my mind of how he loved me. Mixing cement in a wheelbarrow to put up a basketball hoop in the driveway and playing countless hours of H-O-R-S-E. Getting up for the first tee time on vacation and playing 36 holes. Building an industrial shelf in the garage with a nail gun, the sound scared me every time.
He was loving and kind. Spiritual and strict. Always willing to engage in games and pranks. I can remember sitting on his lap even when I was a teenager. Just for some TLC. And then he got cancer and the road we travelled together was too difficult.
If there was a God, and I was praying and believing for his healing until his final day, He didn’t hear me. My prayers were left unanswered and my heart was left with a hole that I learned to cover up with a smile. Life was easier if you just shut off your emotions.
And that is exactly what I did. I distanced myself from the pain of life. It was too much to bear. To be honest, it worked. Until it didn’t.
That is the way it goes. We do what we know to do until what we know to do stops working. Then there is a crisis of belief. Do we learn to trust God again or do we keep suffering? And it is suffering. Living a life without feeling is not a life at all.
How, though, can we take this step when we have been hurt? How can we learn to trust again the One who didn’t answer? The one who left us in the midst of our pain?
I believe that it comes as we gently open our heart, like a hurt child whose father is waiting with open arms, and feel the love that has always been there. A child doesn’t analyze. A child doesn’t ruminate. A child doesn’t question and doubt and fear. A child trusts.
I want to be that child who trusts. Not one who is not trusting but holding back, who is all in but kind of out, who is lightly hugging and also looking over their shoulder.
Love without trust isn’t love at all. So how can I say I love God if I’m not willing to trust that there are seasons for everything? I may not understand everything and I certainly don’t see the whole picture, but trust says, “I will take a step forward. I will seek you in the morning. I will do my best to hear your voice. I want nothing more than to have the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out.”
And trust knows that LOVE will not ask more than we can handle. Trusting knows that we are not alone. Trusting knows that our footing is sure and LOVE is holding our hand when life gets rocky.
As trust builds, our feelings will emerge. Feelings that have long been dormant will break through and if you’re anything like me, it will feel scary. Why am I crying? You’ll wonder. And yet there they are the tears that have been stopped up for years. Why am I upset or angry or fearful? It’s like a new operating system has been installed April 1.0 and there are a lot of bugs. It should come with a warning “Beta Mode”.
So now here I am with a new version of ‘feelings April’ and at times I want to go back to not feeling. Life was easier that way. But one of the largest themes in the Bible is you can never go back. So I am pressing ahead to see where God is taking me. I am writing and praying. I am open to listening. I am trusting.
This is the way it is for me today. I want to take a moment to honor my dad and all the many gifts he gave me during my childhood. I have been blessed in so many ways and only wish I could have had more time with him.
Today I choose trust…