We learn many things in Holy Scripture. For one, we learn that those who trust in the Lord are happy; we learn that they are blessed. In a world where the word, ‘blessed’ has come to mean fortunate, successful and the like, what do we say of the one who suffers? What do we say of the one who endures hardship? What do we say of the one who is far from successful as the world defines success? Has that person’s trust been misplaced? Maybe that person misunderstood what it meant to trust in the Lord.
Let’s explore this for a moment, shall we?
The dependent clause in the sentence, ‘who trust in the Lord’, is where I begin. What does it mean to trust? According to the online Oxford Dictionary, trust is
a firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something.Oxford Online Dictionary
Let me challenge you for a moment: have you ever really experienced trust? In a world where we are encouraged always to have a Plan B, have you ever really practised trust? Let me give you a few examples from daily life:
- You secure your home when you leave, checking the door by tugging on it just to ensure that, even though you know you turned the key, the door is properly locked.
- You’re headed to the airport to catch a flight; you repeatedly check for your passport.
- As a supervisor/manager at work, you are required to periodically check in with the direct report to whom you have assigned a task or project, to ensure that everything is on track.
- Parents, how often have you done a spot check on your child, especially now in an environment of hybrid classes, to ensure that your son or daughter has signed in to class and is focussing on the lesson?
- Wives/girlfriends, how many times do you attempt to go through your boo’s phone?
I will leave you with those examples. Now, I make no judgement of those who engage in the practices just listed. You might argue that they are a part of life. But, If these are a part of life, then how much experience does any of us have in the area of trust? Even businesses publish performance statistics and make a point of proving their robustness and ability to their stakeholders so that the stakeholders can continue to trust the leadership of the business to deliver good results. In corporate circles, this practice is called ‘accountability’. So, I ask again, how much experience do we really have in the business of trust? Friends, let me put it to you, we have not built a culture of trust. Is it any wonder, then, that we can’t quite understand the meaning of ‘Happy are they who trust in the Lord’?
Now, let me give you another example from daily life:
You have to take your children out. Everyone hops into the vehicle. You all strap in. You drive out of your yard; your children get on their phones/electronic devices and never look up until you arrive at your destination.
Now, some might say that’s oblivion. But really, is it? Wouldn’t you regard that as trust? It’s trust so secure that your children are of the firm belief that you will (1) take them to the announced destination and (2) you will get them there safely. The children do not follow up and they don’t question the route you take. So, is it oblivion, or is it trust? Here’s a wild thought: those children are more experienced in the business of trust than you are. You might think, ‘They don’t know what I have to do to get us to our destination.’ And you might be right. Remember, however, that trust is the firm belief of your reliability and ability to get them to the destination. And, if they are of that firm belief, they relax. In that firm belief, they are calm. In that firm belief, they are at peace. In that firm belief, they can be happy.
So, let’s go now to the independent clause in the sentence: ‘Happy are they’.
I return now to the example of the children travelling in the car with a parent. The children in the situation are happy because they abide by the firm belief. They are not aware of the risks involved in the trip, they are not aware of the cost of the trip and they might not even care about the duration of the trip. However, they are of the firm belief that you will get them there safely and by the time that you’re supposed to arrive. What bliss! What joy! What ecstasy! What happiness!
Now, imagine that you are one of the children in this scenario. This time, though, the one in whom you have the firm belief is God. Oh dear…I can imagine you flinching at the thought. You flinch, not because you don’t believe in God, but because you don’t believe that you can trust as those children do. That’s the beauty of trusting God: it isn’t for you to have the ability, but for God, through the power of the Holy Spirit (manifested as faith) to activate what it takes to trust.
Now, does this trust mean that there will be no challenges along the way, and therefore, you can be happy? Not in the least! Trust is the firm belief that no matter what you encounter on the way to getting to your destination, to finding your purpose, to getting back on track, God will take care of it. Do you sit idly by while He does what it takes? Does it mean that you busy yourself to get there? Friends, trust also means that you allow Him to guide you each step of the way. The assurance, then, that He will take care of it to the point of guiding you, allows you not to be concerned about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries (Matthew 6:34). The assurance allows you to know that you will be provided with the daily bread that will sustain you. This trust (faith) manifests itself as the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Now, let’s return to where we started. Is the person who encounters challenges along the way/path less likely to be happy even though that person trusted in the Lord? Simply: no. If that person, notwithstanding the setbacks, notwithstanding the difficulties, notwithstanding the upsets really trusts, that person, even in the midst of the darkest valley can still learn to say, whatever that my lot, ‘It is well with my soul. And, if it is well with my soul, I too, can declare, “Happy am I who trust in the Lord.”‘
So friends, I conclude, ‘Happy are they who trust in the Lord.’ for to trust in the Lord is to be of the firm belief that He is reliable, that He has the ability, that His word is sure, and that He will deliver at the appointed time.
Until next time, I leave you with this prayer: