When someone is going through a rough time, sometimes you’ll hear the phrase “just trust God.” Or perhaps someone you love does something that hurts you. We might respond with the statement “But I trusted you, why would you betray my trust.” It’s an interesting statement, there is an assumption behind it. Namely, it assumes that God or others will do what we expect them to do.
But that is not trust, that is expectation.
Most of the time we do not place trust in God or others, we place expectations on them. We expect them to be certain things, do certain things, feel certain ways. And when they inevitably fail to live up to the expectations, that’s when pain comes. If we expect something that hasn’t been promised, or expect someone to keep a promise they cannot, and call it trust, that is a fast track to suffering.
Our task is learning what and who we can actually trust. There is something that is trustworthy. There is something that is indestructible, immovable, and unchanging. But it will not be found in our relationships, our job, our home, or our health. All of these things by nature will change, grow, deteriorate, and possibly grow again. To expect them to do otherwise is like expecting your three year old to always be three. It’s just not the child’s nature.
The immovable thing is a kind of Love. A Love extended endlessly and effortlessly to every human being. This Love is not influenced by the things that happen in life, or our beliefs, or our failings. Some call it God. The name is less important than the affect. Neither is this Love a genie that provides for our wishes. This Love merely offers the experience of contentment, independent of our circumstances. Perhaps you have known glimpses of it.
If you are looking to trust in something, this is the place to begin. It is real. It is powerful. Everything else is just an expectation.