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Relational trust

From Our Leaders

Ryan Siemens
By Ryan Siemens
Aug 23, 2017 | Volume 21 Issue 16

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight” (Proverbs 3:5).
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).

When all three of my boys were beginning to stand on their own and show some interest in taking their first steps, I played the following game with them: I would pick them up, sit on the ground, stretch my legs out wide, stand them up between my knees and let them go, saying, “Walk to daddy.” At first, they were hesitant. Then I would put out one hand and they would grab it and take a few steps and tumble into my arms full of tickles and laughter.

We would do this over and over until they would take a step without me holding their hand. As they became more confident, I would put them a little further than my knees, slowly moving them to the distance of my feet. These were certainly enjoyable times.

And as I reflect upon Isaiah’s, Elliott’s and Bennett’s first steps, trust was vital to the whole activity.

When we think about the trust of a child, we often call it “blind” trust; they trust simply because they do. I’m not sure that is entirely accurate. This playful activity worked not because of blind trust, but because of relational trust. They trusted me because of our relationship. They trusted because I was near. As a result, they were able to take a step or two. I believe this also to be true in our relationship with God and one another.

In The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our “Correct” Beliefs, Peter Enns suggests that when Jesus says to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me,” he was not first and foremost seeking out sound, theological doctrine.

Instead, Jesus was saying to his disciples, “trust me.” The days ahead will be confusing and won’t make sense. Jesus just told them he will be betrayed, denied and killed . . . and yet somehow in these events God’s redemptive work will be revealed. And the night before this all happens, Jesus is asking them to trust him. Again, this is not blind trust, but relational trust; trust born of time spent together in prayer, fellowship and ministry.

As we consider the changes that are taking place both in society and the church—changes that can be overwhelming and confusing—we are being invited once again to trust in God. This is not blind trust, but relational trust, trust that is developed as we spend time together in prayer, fellowship and ministry. Even though we don’t fully understand the changes to come, we can trust that God’s redemptive will be made known.

Ryan Siemens is Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s area church minister of congregational and pastoral relations. This column is the third in a series of letters to MC Saskatchewan congregations.


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