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Aug 29, 2023

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, my soul.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
(Psalm 146:1-5)

 

As followers of the victorious Lord Jesus Christ, we use divine strategies for navigating our way in the world, not human ones.  And that makes us a bit strange.  

But it’s a theme that flows through the full breadth of the Bible—even here in these last five praise Psalms of the Psalter.  

It’s a theme the Church tends to forget though, just like the rest of God’s people throughout the ages.  Or at least, we have a hard time grasping it.  And the crux of the problem is probably this: God asks that as we rely on Him—the God who we can’t see—we drop our reliance on many of the things that we can see: humans, government, insurance providers, political parties, the strength of our own actions and agency in the world, the number in our bank account, you name it.

God asks us to let go of the things that we feel we have some control over in order to trust in Him, the God who we cannot control.  

What a difficult thing. 

At many-a leadership training retreat, you’ll find an exercise called the “trust fall.”  One of the folks at the retreat will be blindfolded, told to cross their arms in front of their chest so that they can’t use their arms, and then are told to lean back until they fall over.  The idea being, that the rest of the members of the team behind you will catch you, not letting you hit the ground.  Of course, you’re blindfolded, so you can’t be sure that they’re there.  And, maybe you don’t know these people all that well—are they the sorts of folks that would let you fall just to laugh and point?  You don’t know.  But you can’t rely on your own legs or arms to catch you either—you’re vulnerable.  Helpless.  Nothing between you and the floor but the trust that these unseen strangers will indeed do what they said they’d do, and catch you.  

Following this God we claim is a lot like that.  He tells us that in fact, we’re already vulnerable and unable to do much to save ourselves.  Despite the illusions of control we seemingly have over this world and our place in it, we cannot save ourselves.  Not from sins, but also not from the generational hurts of our families, the restructuring of our workplace, the chronic pains of our bodies.  We actually have very little control over our world and lives.  We’re quite vulnerable, and our position in this world is always somewhat precarious.  

So God asks us to let go of the things we can see and to fall into His hands—the hands of the God we cannot see—instead.  An act of trust: a trust fall.    

It is easier to trust the people we can see though, like our political leaders.  Or the things we can hold, like our insurance and OHIP cards.  Or the things we can do, like work or think our way to a place of self-sufficiency.  

But all these things, including our own strength is guaranteed to fail at some point or another.  We don’t live forever.  Pandemics happen.  So do other crises.  

There is only One who can guarantee our trust will not be broken—and that’s God.  The only One who remains unchanging amid our changing lives and circumstances, the only One who endures beyond the fleeting strength of our bodies and institutions.  

So, will you let yourself fall into the arms of God?  Even though you can’t see Him?

Blessed is the one whose hope and trust is in The Lord their God.