‘I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain.’ – John Henry Newman
I have often contemplated on trust, as I’m sure many Christians have. It seems to be a topic which arises particularly when I am struggling in some way – whether that be in understanding my purpose, things not going my way or feeling unsatisfied with some aspect of my life. I can remember being a teenager and people telling me in that patronising voice ‘you’ll get used to it’ or ‘you’ll understand it when you’re older’, or the most frustrating, ‘you’re so young!’ It would drive me mad! Unfortunately they were right (of course) and now, although I’m still only 25, I find myself using the same phrases sometimes.
I appreciate every difficult situation I have ever experienced, because I can see precisely how they have prepared me for the roles I fulfil and the tasks I complete in life now. And yet, having this knowledge and understanding the role that suffering has played in my life so far (to a greater or lesser degree), I still find myself resisting and complaining when I am presented with opportunities to grow. I can semi-remember a quote which is about how God answers prayers in the most unexpected ways, and trying to Google it has led me to see testimony upon testimony of people writing about how their prayers have been answered unexpectedly.
I know in my heart of hearts that I don’t need to worry. I have had so many personal experiences of God working my own life, of prayers being answered and of situations working out just perfectly, and with hindsight I have developed an understanding of the way that everywhere I end up is helping me to grow in some way. So why is trust so difficult to maintain?
I suppose the one consolation is that Jesus understood the weakness of human nature. When he called Peter towards him and Peter doubted, it is almost as if he is consoling him; ‘Oh you of little faith’ as one might comfort a child who has fallen over and grazed their knee. But the beauty of experience and hindsight is that we can piece together the proof of God’s love in our own lives. We can understand how God has worked in our lives in the personal and subtle ways that only we can recognise, leading us to trust in Him again and again. And in that there is a great reassurance.