A choice between trust and fear is at the heart of almost every tension.
The pioneer of development psychology Erik Erickson spoke of “basic trust.” This is the confidence that a baby begins to have in its mother. The baby is trusting that the mother is reliably concerned and attentive even when not visibly present. Erickson says that all human beings are finally confronted with the options of trust and fear.
Are we trusting God in these messy, difficult, challenging lives we live? Or do we fear? We all wrestle between trust and fear.
This choice between trust and fear is at the heart of almost every point of tension that we feel: relational complexities, work complexities, living arrangements, decisions about romantic relationships, marriage, parenting . . .
Here is a study in trust: the story of Abraham and Abimelech, Genesis Chapter 20. Abraham fears that Abimelech will kill him for his wife, Sarah. What is Abraham to do? Abraham pretends that Sarah is his sister. Then Abimelech ends up marrying Sarah. When Abraham’s pretence is found out, Abraham makes all sorts of excuses, like, “Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.” Abraham’s behaviour is pathetic. Ironically, Abimelech, not Abraham, trusts Abraham’s God!
For myself, I have been praying through a relational issue. The more I pray the more I realise that it’s my issue, and that I have to choose between trusting that God is working in this situation, or fear. Abraham gave way to fear. When we live, or speak, out of fear, instead of trust, things go wrong. But when we are trusting in God, with a childlike “basic trust,” then we live wisely, and we speak wisely—and we bring life.
We can rest in God. We don’t have to compromise. We don’t have to grasp. We don’t have to fight. We can wait for the Lord. As Julian of Norwich wrote, “All will be well and all will be well.” We have to wait for the Lord. This time, this era, is all about waiting. And that’s ok. Be faithful. Let’s dig deep in Christ together; let’s dig deep in life together. And wait for the Lord.