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A Reformed Biweekly
April 28, 2014
A renovation in trust
Kenny Warkentin

My wife and I live in a house built in 1932. When we purchased it we knew that some of the house had been upgraded, but there were plenty of things still needing work. We trusted the previous owner, however, who reassured us that the foundation was stable and in good repair.
Fast forward six years, when we discovered that the previous owner had been dishonest about a few things. The foundation did need some work, the house had a few leaks and the upgrading wasn’t all done to code. We’ve slowly done some patchwork here and there, waiting for the major work until we have enough funds. Sometimes when I think of that list, I get a bit anxious and I fantasize about relocating.  
This got me thinking about our lives as Christians, especially marriage. In early April my wife and I attended a marriage and mentoring conference where one or both spouses have struggled with same-sex attraction. Some of these marriages are in crisis and in need of a total renovation, some are seeking new tools to upgrade and repair minor flaws and some just need a fresh coat of paint.
One of the areas that we deal with in marriage is trust – a universal theme. We all want to trust our partners, and we can even demand that trust be evident in their actions and beliefs. When we’ve been hurt by our spouses, it is often because trust has been broken in some capacity. The question I am asking myself in this place is, “Are we called to trust people?”

Called to trust?

I can look back on my own life and see that I placed the burden of trust on many people. It’s like I’ve built this house of trusting others, and it needs a total overhaul.
As a child I intuitively felt that I should trust my family of origin. That I would live in a safe place without hurt, disappointment or abuse. When this didn’t happen my internal decision was that I could no longer trust anyone to protect me.
In adolescence, I trusted that my peers would accept, value and treat me with respect, and when this broke down I was left with a fear that no one was safe or trustworthy.
When I attended church I hoped and trusted that I would be spiritually fed and that people would have answers for my struggle, and when I was disappointed I felt like I couldn’t trust God.
When we put our trust in people, especially those we love most, we give ourselves over to a false sense of security and we will be disappointed. Realistically, being human means that we are inherently untrustworthy. In Jeremiah 17 verses 5-8, we see that to trust man is to be cursed, the equivalent of living in parched desert lands, but to trust in the Lord is to be blessed, living like a tree planted by the water whose roots will go down deep.
In the whole area of trust, I’m now brought back to asking myself the question, “Where and in what have I put my trust?” Have I put the weight of trust on my wife, friends, pastor, security, in the temporal things? When I put trust in anything other than God, I will be disappointed when things don’t go as I planned them to go. When others hurt me or I’ve lost things that I love, I’m left anxious, fearful and scared because my own security it gone. But when I begin to trust God, I can begin to do what he has called me to do, which is to “love one another and to trust God with those I’m called to love.” This should be a liberating place to live. It doesn’t mean I won’t be hurt by those I love, but maybe I’ll be able to be quick to forgive, to be patient and kind and slow to anger. It means that I’ll need to live in the midst of renovations while God repairs the house I’m in.

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