“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
I have often thought, that is one funny proverb. You have got to be kidding me! I am far more inclined to believe in Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Then there is the nature of human beings, something I can often see quite clearly, and the nature of the broken world all around us. I’m not a big fan of “trust” either.
Those issues of mine are like old clothes, filthy rags, but comfortable and familiar. Jesus really asks us to let go of the things that are in our comfort zone, to allow Him to remake us, to clothe us in white raiment. So for me, trusting in the Lord requires me to suspend my disbelief, to understand and recognize that my way of doing things is actually kind of sad and a pathetic, surely inferior to the way God does things.
God really has a way of dealing with me backwards, although I have to say it’s not really backwards, it just feels that way. Here I am and here is God completely inverting my world for me, over and over again. So all in good humor, it is no surprise that God actually used Judas to teach me about trust. Judas, the disciple that has actually been pocketing money and goes on to betray Jesus, sells Him out for some silver.
I’ve had a lot of Judas in my life and betrayal is a tough thing to deal with, perhaps even harder than rejection. On the bright side it can be like being forged in fire, you have only two choices, become bitter and vengeful, or develop a masterful capacity for forgiveness and empathy. Not that we ever put Judas in charge of the books again, not that we are so compassionate our brains have fallen out, but we can even trust Judas….to be Judas.
In a personal context, one must come to realize that these personal betrayals and attacks are not personal. The internet has been really good at teaching me that, people who don’t even know you, random strangers, can attack from all sides, which then compels one to observe, wait a minute, this is all about you, not me, isn’t it? A bit of projection? All in good fun here, but one simply cannot hate me before we’ve even been properly introduced.
There’s another treasure hidden in the story of Judas however, the idea that God is in charge, that He can use anyone and anybody to further His purpose, to complete His plan. Judas is an important part of the story, He has a significant role to play. When we look at Judas we tend to see the negative, greed perhaps, disloyalty, betrayal, but pulling back to the greater story at large, God used Judas to fulfill His purpose.
There’s a funny saying I really like, “you’ll either serve as a good example or a stern warning, but either way you’ll serve.” You will serve God’s purpose. That is a given, it is inescapable. We all have freewill, but if one chooses to go their own way, God can use you that way, too. You may not like it, however.
Recognizing that even the bad things, even the betrayals, even the rotten people in the world, serve a vital purpose in our own stories has really been a stepping stone in coming to understand and trust that, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
The idea behind “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you…” does not speak to me so much about heaping praise upon them or showering them with affection, but rather thanking God for them, expressing gratitude for the lunkheads he enables us to encounter, and trusting that they serve a vital purpose in our lives, that He has hidden treasures within them, things they can teach us. Everyone serves a purpose in God’s kingdom.
Sometimes our enemies are there to strengthen us or to sharpen us, sometimes to bring clarity or to motivate us, and some are there to teach us to truly “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
God really works in mysterious ways, in ways that can feel irrational to us, and I must pause and sing His praises, to laugh in delight and amusement, to take note of the fact that God actually used Judas to teach me about trust. That’s really funny.