Trust Part 1
Bible Study #12
Hot Topics #3
What is trust? Let’s first look at a couple of definitions for this word from a dictionary:
1 belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.
Example: ▪ Our relationship is founded on mutual love and trust.
2: take something on trust: to believe that something you have been told is true or correct even though you do not have proof of it.
Example: ▪ I don't know anything about cars so I had to take the mechanic's recommendations on trust.
Trust is the beginning of any relationship, whether personal, business or otherwise, even down to a U.S. $1 that says, ‘In God we trust’. In the world of cash, or nowadays the various kinds of e-money, you have to trust that when you give someone your dollar (or whatever currency you have) they will take your paper bill, coin or e-money and give you $1 worth of material goods in exchange for it! A measure of trust is the foundation on which society builds, without it, societies either cannot move forward to prosper or they eventually collapse entirely when many people's trust is broken, especially trust in the government.
In our daily lives we have to have a measure of trust in many different things in order to function, as the following examples show:
✱Do you trust your mobile phone to connect to the internet, so that you can send and receive communications?
✱Do you trust that later today you will have food to eat?
✱Do you trust that tonight you’ll have a place to sleep?
✱Do you trust that the money you have will still have value tomorrow?
Those are just a few examples of things we need or use on a daily basis that require us to trust them to some extent. Those are more physical devices or situations. But, how about the following possibilities?
✱If you won a lottery or a big cash prize, who/what would you trust with your winnings?
✱Who do you trust with your secrets?
✱Would you trust your closest friend with the news that you did something that could ruin your or their career or personal life?
Two Views on Trust
One way to look at trust, is to say that there is a day-to-day trust, that the devices we use will run smoothly and reliably and function as they should. We generally know that from our experience using them, that they do work and their claims are generally true. That’s why we trust them. But, when those systems fail, how does that make us feel? Let down, disappointed or frustrated, sometimes even angry or bitter, especially if it caused a major problem?
Another side of trust are the relationships of trust that everybody has. These go much deeper than the use of various devices and services in exchange for some type of money. These deeper relationships all rely on another person doing what they say they will do and not something else.
There is the problem, because, as human beings we cannot guarantee what will happen in the future, if we or they will maintain that ‘trust’. Either because people simply change their minds or they cannot fulfill what others hoped for. At those times, trust can be broken, and the disappointment or heartbreak it brings goes much deeper than our disappointment in systems or devices that fail.
In that regard, here are two sayings about trust in relationships: ‘It takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair’. Also, ‘Trust, if broken, turns to rust!’
Deep disappointment in people can make us bitter or cynical towards not only them, but to people or life in general. That is something I think most people have had to or will have to deal with in their life.
When that happens, how can we restore our foundation of trust?
When devices or systems break down, we generally take it in stride as part of life, they are repairable or replaceable. But, if someone has broken our trust, we need something stronger than human promises to repair or replace that trust. This is where we need to gain trust in something/ someone beyond human experience, something or someone that is not subject to the same failures that all human beings are. Here is where the experience of the Bible characters can really help us.
Just as in the second definition of trust at the beginning of this study, we have to take it ‘on trust’ that what the Bible characters experienced and wrote about in the Bible is true. They connected with the God of creation and learned they could trust him. And through that trust in God, they could overcome all the brokenness of life that they experienced.
If we commit to doing the same, to trust God for our lives, although it may be, ‘on trust’ in the beginning, as we continue, we will experience first-hand that trust in God is true and reliable. That is what will build in us a strong foundation of trust that will not be moved, changed or broken by the storms of life. As Jesus himself said, “If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. (John 8:31-32)
What did one Bible Character David, say about trust?
King David was one of the first Bible writers to openly express his ‘trust’ in God, until then Bible writers expressed their thoughts about God as someone to be ‘feared’, more than ‘trusted’. David had a personal, one-on-one, relationship with God and learned he could trust God for everything. In the book of Psalms, (that were mostly written by him), he used the word ‘trust’ 50 times. It was a constant theme throughout his songs (psalm means song).
Here are some examples:
Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God
Psalms 25:2 O my God, I trust in You; do not let me be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.
Psalms 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalms 91:2 I say to the LORD, "You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you."
2 Samuel 22:3 (Spoken by David) The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour; thou savest me from violence.
Later King David’s son, King Solomon, wrote: Proverbs 3:5 Trust the LORD completely, and don't depend on your own knowledge. (That proverb was written by one of the wisest kings to ever live!)
But how did these Bible people learn that they could trust in God completely? What was it that gave them that trust? See Part 2 of this study on trust. (Coming soon!)