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Trusting Your Life - By Pastor Thomas Engel

Playing games like Go Fish with a young child can get a little tricky. Children have fragile egos that need to be developed.

It does not help the child’s self-esteem for dad to get in the face of the child and yell, “Go fish, and keep fishing!”

That kind of parenting is a little over the top, even if you are sure your child is a tough competitor like Michael Jordan.

It is best to win some and intentionally lose some of the games,

When a parent wins a game, she can be gracious, and when she loses, she can be an example of how losing can be a time of learning about how to do better next time.

Joe Namath says, “You learn how to be a gracious winner and an outstanding loser.

To be sure, every child has exceptional talent, so children need to experience challenges that move them from where they are to where they need to go.

At any age, we are trying to go deeper in order to develop resilient characters, for we never know just what the next thing is that will be dished out at us.

Imagine a mom playing hide and seek with her toddler. The mom goes into the basement and hides in a dark corner behind some big boxes.

After counting to ten, the little child searches for a minute with excitement, but she does not find mommy in the usual places, and she begins to shout with tears going down her cheeks, “Mommy, where are you?” Mommy hears but does not come out.

This scenario and the Go Fish example are awful, and I should feel bad that I have asked you to imagine them. But I want to bring up a subject that we have all experienced.

At one time or another, we have had been put down, let down, and knocked down. When we have been diminished in some way, we can start having trust issues.

Let us say that when that little girl did yell for mommy to come out, and mommy did show herself with open arms-but not as quickly as the little girl wanted-that few second delays could seem like an eternity to a scared child.

Or dad is a few minutes late to the ballerina recital because of unusually heavy traffic. The tiny dancer is distracted by looking at an empty chair until dad does show up.

Mom and dad have been arguing over the bills that are piling up. The teenage daughter has never heard her parents raise their voices as they have been doing, and she is afraid that mom and dad are splitting up.

The factory has had a slow-down, and you are hearing rumors that there will be layoffs. You are wondering if you will be one of the first to go.

We have our stories when trust has been broken. Sadly, the breaking of trust is a part of life.

Because trust is essential for healthy relationships and overall well-being, we need to be sure that we have healed from anything that has affected our ability to trust.

Often, the story of the breaking of trust ends with a person withdrawing from others and opportunities. A person can be so apprehensive about trusting again that the person will suffer from loneliness and lack of self-confidence.

In other words, a person can remain a victim for life.

Out of fear of the unknown, he stays in a safe-zone that he has built for himself. In that place of safety, the person can have control and predict what will happen next. He has taken all chances for anything to go wrong out of the picture.

A person can spend so much effort and time protecting himself that all he is feeling are the frigid emotions of indifference.

Any kind of real caring for others is gone because true love requires risks. If a relationship does not work out, we figure that we might suffer a broken heart.

So, we weigh the possibilities-I can try to find happiness or try but still lose.

Looking at the world, it seems that it is a place of loss.

I want the joy of love, but the risks outweigh the costs of trying. It is much better to play safe than sorry.

I have to admit that anyone who says that staying out of the way of the world has a good argument. At times, we want to stay home because anything out of our doors looks threatening to our well-being.

But, any extended time in our own little self-made world is not good for us.

Although playing safe sounds so good in this chaotic world, I do not like that kind of story for my life. I might be safe in my little corner, but I am also seeing just staying clear of harm is not fulfilling a deep purpose.

How can we find a better story for ourselves that has a purpose although it involves risks?

For our lives, can we find a way to move forward that is cautious for the sake of responsibility to ourselves and others but is still bold without any fear?

In reading the news, I came across an article that asked if we can learn anything about the recent deaths of three young actors who were in the television show, Glee.

I did not watch the show except once or twice but have heard about the tragic deaths of these young people.

In trying to make sense of these deaths, the writer said that we can learn that we can die at any time, there are no real modern answers to explain these deaths, and for us, we need to make each day count as best as we can.

I agree that a person can die at any age, there are no modern answers about death, and we need to make each day the best that it can be.

What caught my attention was the word “modern.” It seems in these “modern” times that we are so smart by now that we should have it all figured out.

But we do not know everything and that is why we need to trust in something bigger than ourselves-something who does know everything.

Humans need to acknowledge that there is a God and put trust in Him. Not only does God know everything but He is a good God.

God, the Father is always showing us His goodwill for His people and never breaks His trust.

Look at these stories of trust:

Abraham knew that the Lord would provide the sacrifice, even thinking that it might be his very own son.

Noah built an ark in the middle of dry ground, and he built for a hundred years as people ridiculed him.

Although Moses did not think of himself as much of a leader, he followed God’s call, and he led people out of Egypt.

David stepped out in front of a giant and fought him with a slingshot.

The disciples went out into the world to proclaim the Gospel although they knew they would face harsh persecution.

Looking at St Paul, he faced shipwrecks, prison, beatings, and hunger, but he still did what he was called to do as an apostle-he preached God’s Word in a hostile world.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to save the world from sin by taking the punishment for all sins on the cross.

Here, as we take a first glance at what God the Father had His Son do, we might think that there were some trust issues.

On the night before he went to to the cross, Jesus did have a tense talk with His Father about the suffering that he was about to endure.

But, Jesus knew it was the Father’s will that he should die for the sins of the world. He trusted that the will of the Father is always good, so he did go to the cross to suffer and die.

Jesus’ story did not end in death but in resurrection and victory over sin, death, and Satan.

God the Father had a full plan for our salvation. We are sinners, but in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have forgiveness and salvation.

As all of God’s people in their time and situations, they trusted that God would deliver them. Jesus trusted his Father to do the hard work of the plan of salvation through him.

So, we, too, can trust that God will help us in our time and situations.

And most importantly, God is working all things through us in this world today.

Although we may not see all the end results in our lives of what God is doing, we can believe that God is working out His good plan.

As humans, we do not always know how all the pieces of the world and our lives fit together to make a big picture. But, we can trust that the end of our story will be eternal life.

And the hope of this gift of eternity is with us every day, so as we go out living in this chaotic world, we can let ourselves be vulnerable.

Of course, we are cautiously using the brains God has given us. To go out into the world, even in uncertain times, we can use good sense, and at the same time, we can be bold and fearless because we know we are living by faith in a God who cares for us in every way and has a purpose that is fulfilled every day.

Trusting your life to only God in Christ is the only way to go. In this life, we will be put down, let down, and knocked down, but those things are not the whole story.

By faith, we are trusting our lives to God, for we know everything is for a purpose that is moving us to the end goal of eternal life.

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