When was the last time you went out on a limb and trusted someone or something? Stop and think about it. Was it a person? Were you waiting for them to come through? It might have been a momentary trust, or maybe it’s the lifetime of trust you’ve built with your spouse. Or maybe you’re the crazy daredevil type. You’re really trusting that parachute/paycheck/rust-bucket car to get you where you need to go.
Whether you were trusting the love of your life or a bungee cord, trust doesn’t come naturally. It’s a struggle. It’s a fight. And it affects every area of our lives.
Trust comes up a lot as we learn to follow Jesus. Initially, we have to trust Jesus at salvation. We have to believe that he is who he says he is, that he died for our sins and came back from the dead. That takes some trust. But every day after that is learning to trust him in a deeper way. We learn to trust him with our jobs, our families, our futures, and our present moment.
In the last year of my life, I have spent a lot of time studying the Fruit of the Spirit. My newest book, Crazy Happy, talks a lot about the ways the Spirit works in our lives. So naturally, it’s been on my mind.
Now, I know what you Bible students are thinking: trust isn’t a fruit of the Spirit, and you’re right. It’s not. But y’know what is? Patience. (Yeah, I know. Not the easiest fruit in the basket.) I know better than anyone how hard it is to be patient. I’m totally an impatient person, but that means that each day is a chance for me to grow, and for the Lord to do a work in me.
Older translations of the Bible call this Fruit of the Spirit, long suffering, and I love that word. It means that we are suffering well no matter how long it lasts. Long suffering is steadfastness under provocation.
You see, patience is the litmus test of just how much we trust the Lord. If we are able to suffer long and suffer well, it’s because we know the goodness of our God.
No one likes to suffer. None of us are going to wake up one morning thinking, “I could really go for some pain and misery today.” That’s not what patience is. Patience is the faith to tell God, “I don’t like this, but I can trust that you’ve got my best in mind.”
Trust isn’t believing that only good things are going to happen. If we’re trusting that it’s all going to be downhill from here, we’re going to be disappointed. Trust is believing that no matter what is happening and no matter how long it takes, God is good and so are his plans. When we know that, we can be patient, because God’s got this.