How many times have you been in a conversation with someone and one of you said to the other "Trust me"? Or better yet, "What - don't you trust me?" I have vivid memories of when I was a boy and the Disney film "The Jungle Book" came out. There's that scene when the evil snake Kaa sings "Trust in me, just in me" simultaneously seductive and sinister. And like that snake singing oh so sweetly every day our trust is tested. Ads on television tout the latest fad diet or some exciting new product that will make our lives easier and last a lifetime. We drive in automobiles we trust will keep us safe if we're in an accident. We use products daily that we trust will work and more importantly not harm us. We put our lives' savings in banks and into investment opportunities based on trust and hope that our money - and perhaps a bit more - will be there when we most need it. We are asked to trust our government officials and church leaders and teachers and co-workers. And we place our trust in friends and family, knowing that a breach of that trust can be devastating. And most importantly, we are asked to trust in our God.
As I look around it seems as though trust - and truth - gets stretched, beat on and abused more and more with each passing day. In the news we are constantly bombarded with stories of people that have embezzled money from unsuspecting investors, ministers that have taken advantage of those they have been called to serve, elected officials abusing their position and the trust placed in them by those that elected them. We rarely hear stories of people that placed their trust and were rewarded. And someone who placed their trust in the lottery ticket they bought and won does not count. When was the last time you heard tell of someone who placed their trust in another and had that trust respected and nurtured?
It's frustrating and demoralizing when we are constantly barraged by so much negative information that leads some to believe they shouldn't trust anyone. And that's understandable. Placing your trust - especially in someone close to you - is an intimate and soul-baring act. It is a surrender, it is making ourselves completely vulnerable to another. I know when my dog completely trusts me or another person or even another dog. He'll lie on his back exposing his underbelly - the most vulnerable part of his body - in a display of total trust. When we place our trust in one another we are exposing to each other the most vulnerable aspect of who we are as people.
Perhaps those positive stories of trust are the ones we just don't hear about too often. And that makes sense as well. Trust - when it's respected - is a quiet thing, a humble thing. And yet we can read about stories of trust and hear about them any time we want. All we have to do is open our Bible. From God's first instructions to Adam to the closing words of the Book of Revelation scripture is all about trust. Again and again scripture relates great stories of those that trusted - Noah, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Peter, Paul - the list goes on and on. There are those that placed their trust in the wrong people, such as Samson. Those that placed their trust in family members - such as Joseph with his brothers - and were rewarded with enslavement or worse. The entire book of Job is about trust, trust against all odds and all adversity. The Psalms again and again sing of trust - trust in the face of the enemy, trust in the face of evil, trust in the face of death. Trust through all things in God and the salvation He has promised to each one of us.
And of course, two great stories of trust - Mary and Joseph. Mary trusted in God in effect giving up her life to serve God and bear His Son. We celebrate and are inspired by her trust and devotion. And Joseph. Scripture tells us when Joseph learned of Mary's pregnancy he was prepared to divorce her quietly and move on with his life. But the angel of the Lord came to Joseph and in essence said "trust." Trust in God. Despite everything in your life and your learning and your understanding that screams otherwise you must trust in God. Trust that God will not lead you astray. Trust in the promises God makes to you.
There are rewards for those that trust. Salvation has been promised to us all if we trust. As people of God we must follow the examples of Mary and Joseph as models of trust and carry that spirit of trust throughout the world. Trust can be a burden. When someone places their trust in us it is an incredible responsibility, because we hold the essence of their vulnerability in our hands. We have to respect the trust that is placed in us, and be willing to share our trust with others. And most particularly, always trust in God as Mary and Joseph did and His promises for all of us.