Thursday, April 25, 2013

Learning to Fall, Learning to Trust

Yesterday I was reading Beth Moore's book So Long Insecurity that I've blogged about before. She discusses about the healing process from insecurity of all kinds: how we can be set free, permanently, whether you're a chronic wreck or an average joe with average fears (oh how often the average joe is a chronic wreck...), and she penned an astounding sentence: "Lord, forgive me for my unbelief."

When I don't believe that you made me good enough, forgive me for my unbelief.

It's not original, of course. It comes from the story in Mark 9, where a man comes to Jesus' disciples with his son, who is possessed by an evil spirit that throws him into seizures. Many time the evil spirit has thrown the son into a seizure when he's near the kitchen fire or near the well or a pale of water, trying to drown him or burn him alive. His parents are terrified; they've saved his life time and again and they just want him to be healed so he can grow up to be a normal kid--heck, just so he can live long enough to grow up. "If you can help us," the man says to Jesus, "please show compassion on my family."

Jesus latches onto that "if." It's that "if" that's torturing this man. He wants to believe that something can be done; he wants to know that his son will be okay and that hope is possible. He wants to believe. But reason keeps telling him that's not possible, they've seen doctors and no one could help him, there's nothing they can do, his child is going to die. He wants to believe, but he's fighting himself just to bring the boy to Jesus. He's been thinking about it for days and wanting to come, and today he came, but the whole time he just wanted to turn back and go home, because probably nothing can be done. He's afraid for his son, but he's even more afraid that his tiny flicker of hope will be snuffed out.

But Jesus fans the flame of hope. "'If'? All things are possible for those who believe." Just stop struggling with yourself, he says. Trust me. I can do this, but you have to let me have control. I need to be in control to make things better. I can't guide the horses if you've got your hands on the reins.

The man knows it's true. He desperately wants to believe, but even still, his reason is fighting him. But not enough. "Help me with my unbelief!" He believes enough to know that Jesus can fully persuade him. And Jesus does: he makes the man's greatest hope true and heals his son.

To get our dignity back, we have to let go of control. To find reason and truth, we have to let go. To feel loved, we have to let go. To love someone else truly and fully, we have to let go. Letting go means trusting someone else instead of yourself. It means that you allow someone else to be responsible for making good things happen and keeping bad things from happening. You have to trust them. If you want to love someone, you have to trust that they're not going to hurt you. If you want to experience love, you have to trust that they're not going to let you down. If you want to find the truth, you have to trust that even if your whole worldview has to change, it will be okay. To have dignity, true strength, true beauty, you have to trust that someone else has your back and your best interests in mind, and so you can care for others wisely but freely.

And over all of this, you have to trust that even when the person you love or trust fails, God won't. Everything you know might fall apart, but in order to survive it, you need to let him hold you together. And that means trust. It means letting go. You will only know if he's trustworthy of catching you if you put him to the test and let go. That's how I met my savior: on the edge of going crazy, I let go, prepared to die or go nuts or whatever, and gave him one last chance to catch me before I broke into a million pieces. And he did.

So when I don't believe, Lord, forgive me for my unbelief. Help me to trust you. When I'm fighting with myself inside over what to do or who to believe, Lord turn the tide of the battle so that you win. I can't do it, but you can. I trust you to help me trust you enough. I trust you to help me believe.