/ trust / Mark Loughridge

Actual trust…

“It’s so much easier to trust when life is going well…” 

So said someone to me the other day. They were beating themselves up a bit for struggling to keep going... as if they had been really expert in trust in easier times.

I’ve heard this sort of thing in various guises over the years—sometimes self-accusatory, sometimes self-excusatory (“That promise is fine when life is easy—but life isn’t like that.”) In either case there is a perspective that needs corrected. 

My response to the person beating themselves up went something like this:

It’s not really ‘trust’ when life is going easy, is it? When life is a walk in the park, we aren’t really trusting God. Yes, we might be trusting him with regard to salvation, but for all other things we tend to run on autopilot, don’t we? (Not that that's right!) But even so, to say, “It’s so much easier to trust when life is going well” is like saying, “It’s so much easier to climb when you are standing on the ground”! 

Actual trust is what we do when life crashes. Actual trust is when our feet aren’t on the ground. Actual trust is hanging on when we can’t see the way ahead or figure out what God is doing. Actual trust is what happens when life isn’t easy. 

Faith—trust—is being sure of what we hope for and certain when we cannot see. (I know Hebrews 11:1 says “certain of what we cannot see”, but there is a ‘when’ to the not seeing the ‘what’.) In those moments we persevere by living by faith and not by sight. Easy days are seeing days—hard days are blind days, days of trust.  

The promises and the portraits of God are especially for such days. Don’t beat yourself up that you have been able to trust on easy days and can’t do it now—this is something different to what we have been doing. This is a new thing to get on with, not simply something to try harder at. You need to take all you know about God and rub it into the fabric of today, and believe it for today’s circumstances. That’s trust. 

I suspect that what we have on easy days is trust in God for salvation, and trust in our own ability for the day’s circumstances (with God there for emergency backup)! That’s not even good practice for good days. Whatever we are doing on easy days, it most likely isn’t trust! We need to constantly work at reminding ourselves that we need him for the easy stuff—our daily bread—and that “without him we can do nothing”. 

What about those other times when someone is making an excuse for not believing, or not trusting: “That’s alright for ordinary life, but this is different.”? No it’s not different—it’s what trust is about. That passage or promise isn’t for the easy times, it’s particularly for this hard moment. You might as well say, “This parachute is fine when you’re standing on the ground, but it’s a whole different matter when you are about to jump out of a plane”—no, it is made for that moment! That’s not to say jumping out of a plane is easy—but that’s what the parachute is precisely made for. It is in that moment that trusting the parachute finds its value. 

So let’s get on with actual trust—not feeling that we are inadequate, or that the promises are inadequate, or that we are sufficient. Let’s get on with rubbing it into the fabric of our circumstances—knowing that that it is exactly what it was made for. 

Perhaps go and read over Hebrews 11 and see men and women who rubbed the realities of the unseen God and his unseen promises into the fabric of the hard moments of their daily lives. This is what faith looks like. We do them a disservice in calling them ‘heroes’ of faith. Calling them heroes puts them in a different category to us. This is just what ordinary faith looks like.

Or get yourself a promise that you memorise each month, and press into the fabric of your prayers each day. 

We live by faith and not by sight. That’s the very essence of Christian living. 

Mark Loughridge

Mark Loughridge

Mark pastors 2 churches in the Republic of Ireland. He is married with three daughters. Before entering the ministry he studied architecture. He enjoys open water swimming, design, and watching rugby.

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