When our girls first came to us, we spent every free moment at the park. It was an easy way for us all to bond and for them to develop trust in us. There isn’t anything more beautiful than watching a girl learn to trust her Daddy will catch her when she jumps. It doesn’t happen quickly. It starts out small, usually on the lowest step. She jumps off and looks around to make sure everyone’s watching. She’s so proud of herself. After she does it again and again, she gets braver and moves up higher and higher. She’s to the point now that if He doesn’t catch her, she could really hurt herself. But she trusts her Father. He never fails to open His arms to her. She’s stopped looking around to everyone else and has her eyes glued to His. She knows that’s the only way this will work.
Oh, how I wish trust came easy for me. Maybe you are thinking you have a REAL reason not to trust. Someone you put all your hope and dreams and faith in, turned out to be a liar. Or maybe you’re like me.
You crave clarity.
You want everything to have an answer. You like every thing and every one to be in its place. You call it logic or just plain old making sense. I love this quote in the book Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning,
“Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God.”
So there it is. Risk.
I might get hurt. I might look really ridiculous. People might think I’m crazy. Look, Jesus, I’m already operating at a high level of crazy over here and I really think “fill in the blank” is going to push it over the edge.
One morning as we headed to the swings at the park, I felt something hit me square in the chest. When you’ve lived in Houston long enough, you know the feeling of walking out your front door only to be assaulted by humidity so thick that it literally feels like someone wrapped a moist towel around your face…and makes your hair out.of.control. in a matter of seconds. This was a different feeling. Less tangible, but just as real. I tried to shake it off but couldn’t stop the goosebumps forming on my arms. There was a heaviness at the park that day that has never been there before or since.
I looked over at a sectioned off part of the park and noticed two men in hazmat-looking suits cleaning off a picnic table. I thought that was a little excessive just to clean off squirrel poop, but you know, “Keep Texas Beautiful”.
I still couldn’t shake the feeling. Finally, I asked an official looking lady and she reluctantly told me that someone had committed suicide early that morning and they were the clean-up crew. I felt like someone just punched me in the stomach. I know most of you would pack up your kids and high tail it out of there, but I knew I was supposed to stay.
About 10 minutes later, a middle aged man drove up and sat at a picnic table alone with his head in his hands. And that’s when I knew I was supposed to go talk to him.
Umm…excuse me? Are you talking to me, God? You want me to do what? Look… he’s not even crying. I’m sure he’s fine. I don’t even know that he is here because of what happened! Maybe he’s just trying to enjoy the park, while wearing dress pants. What would I even say? I don’t even know anything about the situation.
Tell him, He is not alone.
I’m going to look ridiculous. He will think I’m nuts. I’ll probably just make the situation worse.
I started to crave clarity. Why would God want me to do that? It doesn’t even make sense. So, I never went over. He got up and left without me ever saying a word.
I don’t think that man’s life was ruined because I didn’t speak to him that day, but I do think I missed out. You see, I let risk be more important than trust. Instead of listening to His voice, I listened to my own. There was also another voice in the park that day…a voice scripture calls the deceiver. I don’t know what lies he spoke in the early hours of the morning to finally push that person over the edge, but I felt the weightiness of them when I stepped out of the car that day.
I don’t know what would’ve happened if I had spoken Truth to the man, but I know that God has this huge kingdom plan. I know that if you and I are willing to risk a little of our comfort, we can be part of an adventure so huge that the best Hollywood writers couldn’t even dream it up.
By choosing to trust Him over and over on the little steps, I can learn to have fun on the big toys at the playground. You know the ones that give you that scared tickle in your stomach when you look down? The slides so high and twisty they blow your hair back. I think we need our hair to be blown back sometimes.