Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do You Trust Me?

They’ve been discovered. The guards are closing in, swords drawn, determined not to leave the broken-up stone building without prisoners in hand.

There are no escape routes, no back door. Nothing but a large stone-hewn window behind them and a very long drop to the ground.

Impulsively, the young man whips around from the window, hand extended to his female companion. “Do you trust me?”

“What?” The guards are closing in. This doesn’t seem to be the time to discuss the “trust factor” of their relationship.

“Do you trust me?” His words are more urgent this time, his hand reaching farther, nearly begging her to take hold.

Tentatively, her hand slips into his, a puzzled question in her answer. “Yes…?”

“Then jump!”

You may recognize this as a scene from Disney’s Aladdin. If so, you’ll know what happens next. Aladdin and Jasmine leap from the window, plunge through several ragged cloth awnings, and land safely (though a bit roughly) on the sand.

Though simple it may be, that little “trust me” snippet embodies a powerful spiritual analogy. I like to envision this bit of classic movie drama as similar what should happen in the tough spots and back-up-against-the-wall situations of our lives:

Doubts and fears are crowding in around us, determined to take us prisoner. Our circumstances seem hopeless; we see no means of escape. No paths to freedom. And yet, Christ can see our way out. It requires us to take His hand and jump. But first He must ask that fateful question … “Do you trust Me?”

Do we really trust Him enough to jump when doing so appears to be suicide? Do we possess the kind of reckless faith necessary to let Him guide us to the answers that we can’t see?

Let’s borrow from another classic. One of my favorite metaphors for this sort of faith comes from Indiana Jones. On “The Last Crusade” after Indie has passed two of the deadly tests and approaches the final one before reaching the Holy Grail. It looks to be the most challenging test of all – an impassable chasm gapes between him and the lair of the Grail. The edges of the cliff where he stands are deathly smooth and would not permit climbing. He has no rope, no grappling hooks, nothing to help him across.

It seems to be a plummet to certain death. Or … a “leap of faith.”

He has to make a decision. He has to trust his father’s clues. So he grits his teeth, closes his eyes, steps out … and finds that he’s still standing. How is it possible? Standing on air? No. For something he did not see is supporting him. A nearly invisible bridge of smooth, flat rock stretches before him to his destination. It is perfectly camouflaged to create the illusion that it does not exist.

Did Indiana’s “leap of faith” create the bridge? No, it was always there. All he had to do was trust in what he could not see, and what appeared to be the most difficult test turned out to be the easiest and simplest of all.

There’s something utterly invigorating about walking in faith down a road you can’t see. It’s like free-falling from an airplane, knowing that your parachute will be there to carry you harmlessly to the ground. It’s like bungee jumping off a cliff, trusting that the cord that supports you will not break.

It’s knowing that God can always see the path ahead, even when it appears invisible to you.

Many of you probably know Proverbs 3:5-6, one of the best “trust Me” passages in Scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Many times in your walk with God it may seem like He’s asking you to step off a cliff, to leap from the “safety” of your limited understanding into the unknown, to do something that seems crazy and impossible. But if you’ll relinquish your fears and just place your faith in the trustworthiness of His character, you’ll find yourself standing on a path that you couldn’t see. Crooked paths will become straight. Bridges will appear in thin air.

All you have to do is close your eyes, grit your teeth, and hold His hand.

“With perfect peace You will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust You. Trust the LORD always, because the LORD, the LORD alone, is an everlasting rock.” ~ Isaiah 26:3-4 (God’s Word)

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