Sunday, October 12, 2008

Trust and Doubt

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56:3

Boy, I wish I could live up to this. I worry about everything, from the clothes that I wear to the food that I eat, to the weight I need to loose. I trust, or I try to, but I falter. I can feel myself slipping away from that trust that I should have not that long after I say, "I trust you, God. Whatever you do is fine with me." I begin to think, "Well, what if this happens, then I'll have to deal with that." Or, "What if God thinks I can handle something that I know I'll fail at!" Soon, the snowball effect makes me go from mistrust to worry, worry to anxiety, and anxiety to depression and even more severe anxiety. Then comes the guilt that I didn't trust as I should followed by the anxiety that maybe I really don't have faith because I don't trust like the Bible says I should. The saddest thing is, this is a regular problem for me. I cannot count the number of times something simple has turned into a crisis of faith. It shouldn't, but then again, I shouldn't have anxiety either, so I guess I am even more in trouble.

It is usually then that I am reminded that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Christ died for my sin of not trusting Him (a First Commandment sin). There is more than that, though, because I am clothed in Christ in my Baptism. Not only does Christ's death cover my sin of not trusting, Christ trusts for me because I cannot. I can try. I can do my best. I can work to catch up to my holiness, but this side of the grave, I will not be able to do it fully. If I did, it would be against the First Commandment and I am back where I started.

So what can I do? Nothing? Not quite. The answer to what my "job" is lies in the First Article of the Apostle's Creed.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has made me and all creatures. He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason and all my senses, and still preserves them. In addition, He has given me clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and home, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods. He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life. He protects me from all danger and guards and preserves me from all evil. he does this all out of purely divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this I ought to thank Him, praise Him, serve Him, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

And when I fail that part, Christ covers that, too, praise be to God! Mortal man cannot take away all the gifts that God has given me, including the gift of forgiveness when I sin and not trust as I should. The Psalmist is right. There is nothing to be afraid of. Now, if I could just convince my heart what I know in my head... or perhaps leave that to the Holy Spirit. ;)