The Journey: Trust is everything

Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on

            Summer for many is wedding or anniversary season. Over the years I have had the pleasure of marrying quite a few couples. The moment comes when the two face one another. Bridesmaids and groomsmen look on. Eyes are glassy and faces beam with promise and hope. Underneath these powerful emotions is trust.

Trust between two people is the fabric that holds much of life together. Without trust at the center of any relationship, life starts coming apart at the seams. You don’t need me to go into the details of fractured relationships. Any minister, family therapist, family law attorney, or Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor can tell you the importance of trust, and what broken trust does to relationships.

In a marriage we trust and love each other and promise to face the valleys of heartache and the peaks of joy together. In the same way God makes a promise to be with us through all of life’s ups and downs.
The book of Genesis tells the familiar story of Abraham and his son Isaac. This passage is a powerful and yet hard to understand portrait toward understanding divine trust. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac to the Lord.

To better understand this passage we need look at the understated and quiet areas within the story. Little innocent Isaac asks his father, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Isaac doesn’t realize that he is the offering and I imagine poor Abraham is sick to his core. Abraham knows the choice that is before him and responds with a leap of faith, “God will provide my son.” This is some serious trust!

I am sure Abraham is not seeing any options at this moment, however, even though he can’t see his way through this agonizing experience, he has placed his ultimate trust in God’s hands.

The hard choices in life come with great anguish. If you have lived long enough to comb gray hair, loose hair, dye your hair, then you know the hopelessness that washes over you when we must make difficult or impossible choices. When we stand at such a crossroad where and in whom do we place our trust?

The fabric of trust in the Abraham and Isaac story is wrapped in faith. Faith is the ultimate foundation that trust is built upon. No faith, then trust just falls away. This passage in the book of Genesis allows us to face the terrible and impossible questions that happen in life.

When I am with a new couple getting ready to say “I do,” their courage is an outward sign of inward trust. In marriage we are opening our life to another person. We are sharing our bodies, complicated families, how we feel about money, a bathroom, dreams of tomorrow, a life with or without children. This happens every day in every culture and every country around the world.

In the same way, but much deeper, is our love and union with God. This is the spiritual readiness and openness that Abraham experiences. This is the relationship that God calls each of us, “to be loving and faithful, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we live.” This is the holy love that God seeks in each of us. To be faithful during peaks of life, and be faithful when we are in life’s valleys.

Have a happy summer.

Rev. Daniel Christian is the Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah.