In the Gospel of Luke, he describes a scene when Jesus was confronted by a Roman Centurion. I always have pause when I read it because the Roman soldiers were known for their brutal, harsh treatment and lack of compassion. You might want to picture a lineman on an NFL football team to get a picture of what they were like. Like some football players, this particular soldier defies the stereotype. He pleads with Jesus for compassion for his servant who is ill but does so with a humble heart.
“Sir, (Roman soldier addressing a Jewish Rabbi?), I am not worthy to have you under my roof,” wow the humility and faith in Jesus is remarkable. He continues, “but give the word and let my servant be healed.” (7:7) This was an expression of the centurion’s hope in the promise of Jesus.
Jesus responds to the crowd with, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust anywhere in Israel.” Faith + Hope = Trust
There was another story that demonstrates the formula to trust in John’s Gospel. It was a royal official. Again, how atypical that Jesus would demonstrate His point with someone most unlikely to accept His message. “Sir,” he pleads. Again utter respect for the Jewish Rabbi. “Come down before my child dies.” Jesus tells him, “Return home. Your son will live” (4:49-50) He has complete faith in the person of Jesus and utter hope that Jesus has done what he has said he would do. Faith + Hope = Trust
In the Gospel of Mark, a father brings Jesus his son possessed by a mute spirit. And again a humble man reveals his reverence and faith in Jesus: “ If out of the kindness of your heart you can do anything to help us, please do!” Guess what Jesus says? “If you can? Everything is possible to a man who trusts.” The father immediately shows his faith in Jesus but is missing one component of the formula. “I do believe! Help my lack of trust.” The boy’s father believes in Jesus but lacks conviction that his expectation for healing will be fulfilled, hope.
If you, like me, struggle with trusting Jesus, maybe you simply are missing one component of the formula. I believe we are also missing another component of trust.
Brennan Manning explains, “In Western thinking, knowledge is the intellectual apprehension of reality, the mind’s affirmation of a truth perceived. In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, knowledge is felt, it arises from an experience of God in faith and love rather than from human investigation. Knowledge is the fruit of a faith encounter with Jesus as the Christ. It is simply not possible to receive the revelation of God in the transcendent/immanent Christ without experience. Experience is an essential part of knowing Jesus and of the whole concept of revelation. It is an experience of faith.”
So trust comes from God through the experience of Jesus. This experience must be an encounter with Him on both the divine and human levels of existence. If you earnestly seek Jesus, this experience or moment of recognition will be granted to you.
Scripture scholar, John McKenzie, explains it this way: “The basic element of experiencing Jesus is recognition. We recognize that the person whom we have encountered speaks to our innermost being, supplies our needs, satisfies our desires. We recognize that this person gives life meaning…We recognize that we cannot be our own true self except by union with this person…we experience a deep security…we have encountered God, and that we shall not encounter God in any other way.”
Faith is the Holy Spirit moving from our head to our heart, from intellectual recognition to experiential awareness; a sort of self-forgetfulness. Soren Kierkegaard says it this way, “Life is lived forward but understood backward.”
One final story demonstrates that point best. Dennis Rainey tells the story of a missionary family home on furlough, staying at the lake house of a friend. On the day in question, Dad is uttering in the boathouse, Mom in the kitchen, and three children, ages four, seven, and twelve, were on the lawn. Four-year-old Billy escaped his oldest sister’s watchful eye and wandered down to the wooden dock. The shiny aluminum boat caught his eye, but unsteady feet landed him in eight-foot water.
When the twelve-year-old screamed, Dad came running out. Realizing what had happened, he dove into the murky depths. Frantically he felt for his son, but twice, out of breath, he had to return to the surface. Filling his lungs once more, he dove down and found Billy clinging to a wooden pier several feet under. Prying the boy’s fingers loose, he bolted to the surface with Billy in his arms.
Safely ashore, his father asked, “Billy, what were you doing down there?” The little one replied, “Just waitin’ on you Dad, just waitin’ on you.”
The little boy had a history with the Dad feeling safe, protected, accepted, and loved…faith. Because of that he had a hope that his dad would rescue him like he always did.
I struggle with trusting the Lord in everything! I would like to think that I can be this innocent and in all circumstances TRUST my Savior enough to say, “Just waitin’ on you Jesus, just waitin’ on you.”
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By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.