From our childhood, we have always wanted loving and trusting relationships.
We wanted the very best from our parents.
We wanted teachers who give their all to help us learn.
We wanted mechanics who do not cheat us, but tell us exactly what is needed to keep our cars running properly.
We wanted pastors who lead us with honesty and integrity.
We wanted spouses and friends who are loving, committed, and supportive through the highs and lows of life.
We grow up with these desires and expectations. But somewhere along the way, we are disappointed and let down. Our parents are not as loving or supportive as we thought. Not all teachers want to inspire children. Some mechanics do cheat people. Pastors violate our trust. Spouses and friends hurt us and leave us at our most vulnerable moments.
The people we expected to care for us and love us…fail us. They ruin the trust we had in them, and maybe even those in society. Our lofty expectations become a rubble of ashes, showing us what could have been but never will be.
If we are not careful, our actions might never rise beyond these ashes. We might stop loving and trusting people, and become bitter, negative, and unproductive. We might stop doing the things we love and being the people we were before our trust was broken. We might close the door of our heart and emotions because someone let us down, made us angry, and violated our trust. We wallow in the ashes of our forgotten hopes and dreams seeking answers that might never come.
Many of us have lived long enough to experience one or more of the examples above. Loss of relationships, or our expectations of them, have rattled us to our core. And as a result, we responded in the same manner. But there are two rules I want to share from Jesus’ life on earth.
1. Jesus did not entrust Himself to man. John 2:24 says that Jesus did not entrust to the people because He knew all men. He knew the superficiality and fickleness of human nature.
Superficiality—lack of thoroughness, depth of character, or serious thought.
Fickleness—changeability, especially as regards one’s loyalties or affections.
This did not mean Jesus did not love people, cry for them, or have any compassion. There are plenty of scriptures that show that He did (Matthew 9:35-38, 14:1-14; John 11:30-36), but He did not entrust Himself to people. He knew the nature of His creation.
But so many of us want to trust people. We want them to uphold the standards we placed on them (and their position/status in our lives). We expect it.
But how do we respond when the people we trust the most and given our heart and love to let us down?
2. Jesus knew who to trust. Before His betrayal, Jesus told His disciples that the time came that they would all be scattered and return to their own house, leaving Him alone. But He said He was not alone because His Father was with Him (John 16:32). Though He would be left alone at during the most traumatic point of His life, He stayed on mission. He was not alone.
If the people we counted on and trusted the most left us when we needed them the most, we would lose it. We would get angry, go back to our homes, and wallow in sorrow and frustration. We would become so focused on their betrayal that we would lose focus on our mission. We would allow the ups and downs of our emotions to consume our heart, mind, and soul. We would become stuck. Like a broken record, we would replay our story, drawing us deeper into an abyss of hurt. And like Peter, we would look so intently at the winds around us that we forget that we too can accomplish extraordinary things through Him (Matthew 14:22-33).
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.—John 16:33
In this life, you will have tribulation. Jesus promises it (Mark 10:28-30; John 15:20). But like the disciples, we too can be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world.
We overcome the world because of our belief in Jesus (1 John 5:5). He knows our suffering because He experienced it personally (Hebrews 4:15). We can trust Him to be with us in our time of need and walk with us through every challenge and difficulty (Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 43:2). He is our every-present help in trouble, and we must learn to place a greater trust in God and not man (Psalm 46:1-3).
Mankind is superficial and fickle. People will lift you up one minute and put you down the next. People will stand next to you when things are good and leave at the first sign of trouble. People you thought should be honest will lie. People will do some of the best and worst you have ever heard or seen.
But like Jesus, this does not excuse us from being kind, loving, or caring. This does not excuse us from continuing the plan and purpose God assigned for us to accomplish today or in the future. The behavior of others should not dictate what we will or will not do in this life. But this does not mean we will not experience any pain or emotions.
While at the Mount of Olives before His betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus prayed to His Father (Luke 22:39-46). The extreme physical and emotional stress He experienced caused His sweat to drop like blood, but He stayed on mission. Though He knew the men He invested so much into for over three years would leave Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). He endured for His creation; to save us and give us all the opportunity to live eternally with Him and His Father.
People might fail you, but God never will. Place your trust in Him, not in people.
I pray your trust in the Lord will grow where the actions of others will not cause you to take your eyes from Him (Psalm 121). Stay the course. Persevere. Overcome. Draw even closer to God (James 4:7). Do not make a decision today that will affect your life in eternity. Keep the work He placed before you as an unmovable target…all for His glory. Be blessed.