“Will you catch me?”
“Sure. I’ll catch you.”
The year was 1999. The place – a tree outside of my home in Bel Air. A drama was unfolding. In the tree my daughter Anna was trying to work up enough courage to leap into my arms. I had other plans for her, believing that a child her age should be able to jump all the way to the ground and not need help from a parent. I thought, “if she sees that it doesn’t hurt, she will be better off in the long run.” And so I lied. And she trusted me. And she hit the ground. And although she learned that she could jump down and not be physically hurt, she had been betrayed.
I am not happy about that failure. She had trusted me as a loving father and I had not shown myself trustworthy. There is this Eden tendency in all of our hearts to doubt whether our heavenly Father is trustworthy – the words of the serpent to Eve, “You will not surely die …”, words that basically declared, “The Lord is not telling the truth – you can’t trust Him” have deep roots in the human heart. We are on the tree, seeing the struggles, the difficulties, the decisions to say “no” to world and sin and self and Satan himself and “yes” to a life of following Jesus, even to the death … and there is the Lord saying, “Trust me” … “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” “… whosoever believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life” “what can separate you from my love” … “trust me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge me and I will direct your paths.”
Do you trust Him? One of the things that happens in the Eden story is that Eve’s trust switches … no longer is she trusting the Word of the Lord, but the word of the enemy. The enemy is always seeking to stir up the old self in the believer, the one that is anxious, the one that fears that maybe the Lord will pull His arms away just as I did on that day outside of my house with my daughter looking on in confusion – why didn’t you catch me? – and the enemy offers an alternative as old as mankind – “He won’t catch you … you can’t trust Him … trust me instead.”
But the Lord is worthy of our trust. The rebellion in Eden was quickly countered with a promise of victory and of salvation, a promise that was ultimately fulfilled in Christ. Even when we are faithless, He is faithful. Even while we were His enemies, Christ died for us, took our sin and covered us with His righteousness. This was a demonstration of God’s love for His people. In the Church over the centuries, He has shown Himself over and over again to be faithful and true, compassionate and kind, righteous and just, merciful and full of grace – basically, He has repeatedly shown that His Word is true – that you can trust Him – regardless of how scary it seems from our point of view. I wish I could have that day over again, that I might be able to declare by my actions what I have tried to declare in word and action since then – that this father’s love is a trustworthy love. Our Father in heaven will never have these kind of regrets, because He has always shown Himself to have a trustworthy love. Rejoice in this and in the work of Christ and be wary of any voice that would say, “You can’t trust the Lord …”