Monday, February 20, 2012

Trust is not a feeling

I am going to resurrect an older blog for the sake of a friend who is going through difficult days right now:

Do you trust God? Really trust Him, no matter what?

If we were honest, most of us would say that trusting is hard. We "trust" when our loved ones are safe, there is food on the table, our lives are secure. What does it even mean, anyway, to "trust" God?

Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

Fellow Lutherans will likely recognize this verse as one we sing often as part of our liturgy. It starts out "God is my salvation." Literally, it is God  ('el) is salvation ( yĕshuw`ah). For those with a bit of Hebrew knowledge, you may recognize the name of Jesus there. In other words, one way of understanding that first line is "God is Jesus." Yĕshuw`ah is salvation. You may remember the angel said to Joseph, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21)

So, the verse starts out, "God is Jesus. I will trust and not be afraid."

I will trust (batach). It means: 

1) to trust
2) to have confidence, be confident
3) to be bold
4) to be secure
1) to cause to trust, make secure
2) (TWOT) to feel safe, be careless

It is a verb, but it's an ongoing action - an incomplete action. Something that happens again and again, sometimes extending from the past into the future. Although the last part of the definition can include "to feel safe," this is not a feeling. This is a conscious decision - one that has to be made again and again. I WILL trust. I will take confidence. In what? In the fact that Jesus is God, and, as the verse continues, "he has become my salvation." 
The "afraid" there is pachad and it means to fear or dread. The verse goes on: 

The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

The part that says "the LORD, the LORD" is actually Yah, he is Yĕhovah. The preexisting one - the "I am that I am." The voice of the burning bush. The all mighty, all powerful creator of the universe. HE is the one who is my strength. HE is the one who is my song (zimrath), my reason for praise, my reason for comfort, for life, for security - my reason to trust! Not a feeling at all - but a knowing of who your savior is!

That One, that all powerful, all knowing, all loving Yĕhovah, HE is my salvation. He controls all and is worthy of my decision to trust. Faith is a gift, and trust is certainly related to faith. Without faith, we cannot trust. However, trust implies action on our part. It flows from faith. But, don't get it confused with feeling. Trust is a decision based on your knowledge of all that your Savior is.

In the Hebrew, there is another way of looking at the verse, too. Yĕhovah, the all powerful One, is MY salvation. He is MY Jesus. He has connected Himself to ME, and to you - and to all who believe. The all powerful creator of the universe has intentionally connected Himself to each of us who believe in Him as savior. Yĕhovah is my Jesus. That's why you trust. That's why you can face each day and whatever it brings.

Do you understand that it doesn't matter what you FEEL? I WILL trust, regardless of what I feel. I WILL face this day and every day, no matter what it brings, because Yĕhovah is my salvation. He is my Jesus.

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