We deserved punishment and yet we have instead received the title of Sons and Daughters of the living God. This is news worth sharing.

Recently, my family was at the zoo and my daughter said, “Quick dad! Let’s do a trust fall.” She crossed her arms and closed her eyes and faced the tigers, her back to me. Then she started to lean back. But just as she started to lose her balance, she opened her eyes, glanced back and checked to make sure I was still there. This went on two or three more times before I finally looked at her and said, “Honey, I’m right behind you. I’m looking at you and not at the tigers. I’m going to make sure I catch you.” She turned, looked at me, and said, “I know but I just want to make sure.” This isn’t the first time that we’ve done a trust fall. In all the times previous, I’ve never let her down. She’s never fallen on her rear, never broken any bones, never slipped from my grasp. She always ends up safe and sound right in my arms where she belongs. But despite knowing in her head that I am reliable, her heart still told her that there was a reason to doubt. Falling backward into someone’s arms without looking feels unnatural. In order to do that, we have to let go of our sense of self-reliance and trust another person completely. While she knew in her head that I would catch her, her heart wasn’t ready to let go and give someone else complete control.
Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”” So many times in my life I’ve believed the lie that I can’t trust God’s words. He’s never given me any reason to doubt the validity of his words. He’s never let me down. He’s never made a promise He didn’t keep. And yet, every day I find a reason to put my trust in me instead of the God who is always faithful. It’s a lie that all of us, dating back to Eve in the garden, believe. We know in our heads that God can be trusted, but so often our hearts just won’t let us give up control. And because we refuse to give up control and trust God completely we search for something else to trust.
We’ve been doing a remodel of our flooring. I’m not the handiest person. To put it bluntly, I have to watch a YouTube video to replace a doorknob. And if it’s a more complex job than that, then you better believe I’m calling someone else to do it. That’s why we hired a contractor to lay our flooring. I could have tried to do it myself but it wouldn’t have been right. I would have made continual mistakes and we would have had major problems.  But when we put the right guy on the job, the flooring turned out great.
I think that’s why I love this story so much. It illustrates from the very beginning of the Bible that only one person can fix the problems created by our lack of trust.  We chose to put our trust in momentary pleasures. We placed it in things we could see, and taste, and touch. So frequently we still lose sight of the one who truly deserves our trust. After my little chat with my daughter at the zoo, she finally closed her eyes and gave up control. She fell backward into my waiting arms and landed safe and secure. It was just one trust exercise and I’m not naive enough to believe that it won’t happen again. But for that day at least she was assured that I was the person in which she could place her trust. As she trotted off to look at another animal I overheard her tell her sister that she should try it too. She promised that it would be fun and that I would catch her. I think she did a pretty good job of summing up our mission.
Even though we chose to trust ourselves instead of God, He chose to forgive us. He showed us grace and rescued us from our life of sin, a life we deemed more trustworthy than the way of obedience laid out by the one who never fails. We deserved punishment and yet we have instead received the title of Sons and Daughters of the living God. This is news worth sharing. So many are still trapped in the lie that we can’t put our trust in anyone other than ourselves. They think they have to do it alone, that God’s words can’t be trusted, that no one will catch them. But we know the truth. We know God can be trusted. And he has trusted us to share that message with everyone. We found the one who deserves our trust, who never lets us down, who always keeps his promises. We have found the one who catches us and we know that we belong in his arms. And now we get to spread that message to everyone.

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