Keep Trusting

“Trust is the basic foundation upon which relationships are built.” –  Katherine Crowley

“He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.” – Lao Tzu

“Tell them”, God said through Isaiah, “Hard times are coming, but don’t give up – now or ever.  Don’t let them underestimate my power to reorder the universe.  Tell them to keep trusting me and living the way I told them to in spite of what’s coming.” – James Macdonald

If you’ve ever hiked to a mountain top before, then you know all about switchbacks.  Switchbacks are very sharp 180 degree turns in a trail designed to take some of the intensity out of the climbing grade as you ascend or descend a steep slope.

I’ve been a hiker in southwestern Utah now for almost eighteen years, so I have experienced many switchbacks.  Some are so well hidden you can walk right past the sharp turn and head off in a wrong direction. 

A few years back, I was hiking the high country in Death Valley near Wild Rose and missed a switchback.  I unwittingly walked into an area where the mountain slope was so steep it was difficult to maintain your footing.  You would take a step and slide down the mountain a good four to five feet! 

Switchbacks have a purpose and when you miss them or head off the wrong direction, it can have a devastating outcome.

Every one of us, as we walk our journey through this life, encounters a “trust” switchback.  We either unconsciously miss that critical intersection or we knowingly decide to head off and take another course.  We can either chose to never trust again – missing that sharp intersection in our path, or we can make a decision to keep trusting – seeing the change in direction we need to take and continuing our ascent to the higher places in our life.

Like Katherine Crowley states above, trust is foundational within all our relationships.  Once it is broken it becomes hard to embrace and build again.

Failing to see trust building opportunities is like unconsciously missing the switchback altogether.  So often in my own life I failed to see the chances I had at building other’s trust in me.  Through my actions, I was promoting mistrust by failing to be vulnerable enough to trust someone else.  Lao Tzu said it perfectly – when we fail to trust in others, we most certainly won’t be trusted ourselves!

How have you fared when encountering the “trust” switchbacks of your own life?

Have you unintentionally missed opportunities to embrace trust or inadvertently squandered chances at gaining the trust of others?  Have you pridefully and willingly saw the change in course you needed to take and chose instead to head another direction – abandoning trust because it seemed too hard or too difficult to rebuild?

More importantly, have you ever encountered the switchback and decided to keep trusting even when it seemed too futile or pointless?  Have you decided to make the turn and keep climbing, knowing with confidence that it’s the only way to experience trust wholly and completely again?

Think about the “trust” switchbacks we encounter in our relationship with God – the times we unwittingly miss out on fortifying our trust in Him or demonstrating to Him that we can be trusted?  

How often in tough times have we purposefully decided to keep trusting and to keep believing – even in the midst of impossibility and hopelessness?  Did we make the turn with intention, knowing our relationship would rise to greater heights?

I know my friend it is so much easier to stubbornly head another direction – angry at Him for His perceived silence or indifference to our needs.  We can get so distracted – caught up in our own drama that we fail to gain God’s trust in us.  It becomes easy to blame God – accusing Him of a broken trust based on what He has allowed to unfold.

The James Macdonald quote above really speaks to this – especially now in the middle of this pandemic and what we are facing as a country.  It can feel as if God has abandoned us. 

But God is encouraging us to keep trusting – to keep believing in Him and following His direction despite what we are currently seeing or experiencing.  Can this world or nation ever recover without that trust?

Where in your own life do you need to purposefully make the turn?  Is it trusting Him for healing that seems impossible or for a relationship to mend that seems irrevocably broken?  Is it trusting that He will meet your needs when you are surrounded by nothing but lack or making a way for you where there currently is no way?

My friend… make the turn to keep rising, to keep trusting.  That turn in the switchback is the easiest route to the top 😊 

If you choose to head another direction or mistakenly miss the opportunity to build God’s trust in you, where do you think that will eventually lead?  Just like on the Death Valley slopes, you will be sliding downward with every step.

The only way to experience greater trust and deeper peace in the future is to keep trusting now when all seems lost.  This kind of trust, demonstrated in midst of despair, is the only thing that will BUILD your trust in God and BUILD His trust in you.

It’s a hard climb, but worth the view at the top!

 “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go, for He’s the one who will keep you on track.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message Bible)

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