There I was, reading my Bible in a mostly daily fashion when I hit this like a tree thrown in front of a stagecoach in an old western:
“Jesus said, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me.’” (John 14:1)
Why did that verse catch me so? I know I’ve read it before. May times, in fact. I’ve heard it quoted many times, too.
And that was the thought that came to mind when I first came to a stop on this verse. I wasn’t thinking about past readings of it, but of a past quote. “Most of a quote” I should clarify. For, in the movie adaptation of “Fellowship of the Ring,” it is Galadriel who says to Frodo, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” (I looked it up—by reading the whole novel—and yes, she says it in the book, too.)
Galadriel is promising a rest from weariness to Frodo—and the rest of the fellowship—if they will but tarry a while in Lothlorian. Thanks to the skill of the elves, they can keep the bad guys out for a while.
It’s a great line from a great movie (and even better novel), but it’s also just that: a line from a movie. And, even within the context of the movie, it’s not a blanket statement. Galadriel knows that what she is offering is only a temporary respite. Eventually, Frodo and company will either have to get back out on the road/river, or evil will break down the defenses of the forest. Like other stops along their path (most notably: Elrond’s house), Lothlorian can only shelter them for a time.
Jesus’s promise has no such temporal qualifier. He goes on—in the next few verses—to promise his followers a room in the very house of God which won’t wear out. No evil will ever encroach on it, let along get inside to spoil it.
Yet, there is something he asks of us—a key to the door, you might say: trust in God and trust in him.
How hard is that? Incredibly simple, isn’t it?
Until we try it. Then, it turns out to be one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. Especially in the good times. When laying in a hospital bed, or sitting next to one and watching a loved one slowly slip away, it’s pretty easy to trust in God if for no other reason than, “What else can I do right now?!?”
Often, it’s harder to trust in God when things are going great. Bills are paid, no one in the family is sick, and there’s a good show on television. It’s hard to trust in God at those times because we don’t feel an overwhelming need to do so.
As I write this, the wind is whipping by outside the window with such ferocity I keep looking up expecting to see pieces of the roof flying by. It occurs to me to trust in God to keep the roof (and steeple) on because I sure can’t do anything about it. But if I lose all or part of the roof, so what? It’d be a pain and inconvenience, but not much more. It might even do me physical harm or, if I’m lucky, kill me, but big deal.
That’s nothing compared to trusting God and Jesus with … everything. Not just life or death moments, but those simple little moments that might turn into heaven or hell moments—for me or someone I’m called on to minister to. I think that kind of trust comes only with practice and complete surrender.
Do I trust enough to surrender? Can I surrender enough to trust?