My Trouble with Trust: An Honest Confession

Luke 12:22-34

When asked how much wealth it takes to satisfy a person, John D. Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more.”

Luke gives us a different perspective, as Eugene Peterson shows in The Message Bible:
“Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers…. The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things…”

When I was working on my first book, Workplace Spirituality: A Complete Guide for Business Leaders (2006), I was fortunate to have the free, excellent services of a professional editor who was a personal friend. I had a reader who was an expert in Biblical ethics. I had learned to do an acceptable “type-setting” myself, and I had decided to publish the book myself, doing business as (DBA) Axial Age Publishing.

But when it came to the cover design, I was stumped. I had no resources to draw on, I had neither the skills nor the talent to do it myself, and I knew no professional artist to ask about rates. I had several months before I would be finished, and I prayed, presenting my predicament to God about the one thing that was missing. I prayed and forgot about it since I had about six months yet to go.

Two or three weeks later, out of the blue, a retired woman police officer in Arizona, who had converted to Islam and helped Muslim women get published, offered to give me the services of her artist – all I had to do was say yes and she would hire him to do the work for me. She had no idea I had prayed for that!

I thought to myself, “I’ve never even seen this man’s work… but I did pray for help – how can I say no?” So, I accepted her generous offer! Her artist was a political refugee from Bosnia living in Canada, and when he discovered she was hiring him as a gift to me, he reduced his price to her.

I knew the woman only online and had never even heard of her artist. His first two drafts missed the mark entirely and I wondered whether this was going to work out. When I opened the third draft, there was a catch in my throat and my heart beat faster – this one simply took my breath away! He caught the concept beautifully! I still love his work and am moved whenever I look at it.

Peterson continues the passage in Luke:
“…you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.”

So what is my trouble with trusting God? This is my trouble: When I picture a mother in another part of the world walking for several days carrying her starving baby covered with flies in hopes of saving the child’s life with food and medical care, where is God’s help for her?

I know it is not God’s will for her child to starve while I get beautiful art work for my book. I understand that it is the principalities and powers of evil and darkness that systematically separate the haves and the have-nots. I know that the citizens of the United States have what we have at the expense of poorer nations and that I somehow participate in, and contribute to, that injustice.

But I am not completely able to know “God and how he works” when I know that the “everyday human concerns” of the woman with the dying child cannot be met. There is still the fear that I might not have enough to meet all my needs in the last days of my life.
— Nancy R. Smith © August 2013

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About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
This entry was posted in Lectionary, Year C and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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