I was reading Matthew a few weeks ago, and I was stopped by something I haven’t been able to shake from my mind since. It was the story of a Roman captain who had a sick servant and went to Jesus asking for his servant to be healed. Jesus told him he’d go with him to heal his servant, but the captain said no, because he knew that if Jesus just declared it to be so, it would happen. Then, this came next:
Taken aback, Jesus said, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel…” (Matt 8:10 msg)
It stopped me because of the words, “simple trust.” Now, if you ask me the word “trust,” is anything but simple. For example, let’s look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition:
Definition of trust: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
“Assured reliance.” I don’t know about you but for me those words are hard to see as “simple,” especially when the person you are asked to have “simple trust” in is an invisible being and especially in the middle of a global pandemic. I mean this captain is saying to Jesus he will have blind trust in him, why? Because he knows from experience that when he gives orders to his men, he doesn’t have to follow them to ensure it gets done, he knows it will happen because he trusts them to make sure it does. I don’t know about you, but in my life I have experienced both being trusted to accomplish something and trusting someone else to accomplish what I’ve told them to do, and being able to have sure trust over something that is personally important to me is hard, and anything but simple. And yet Jesus not only did what the captain asked but praised him for it:
“This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Matt 8:11 msg)
So, I’m sitting here going, “Why does it seem so easy for this captain to blindly trust Jesus, and yet it feels so hard in my own life?” I mean, nothing in life seems to be going the way I wanted it to, and all I feel is a lot of bitterness, anger, sadness, and grief over everything I had planned that is not happening. Then I remember something else Jesus said,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28,30 NIV)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt 22:37-38 NIV)
The truth is, it is simple. We over complicate it when we force God to fit into what we think is our perfectly well-formed plan tied up in a pretty bow. We complicate it when we as imperfect humans say to a perfect God (irony not lost here), “I’ll trust you only under these circumstances.” Jesus taught us the secret to simple trust in those previous two verses. Love God with everything we have. Doing this means that we lay everything at His feet. All our bitterness, anger, grief, stubbornness, “perfectly” formed plans, etc., and take up His yoke. Which honestly doesn’t seem easy, but it is because if we are honest the only reason it doesn’t seem to be is that we don’t want to let go of control. Simple trust is letting go of our control and saying yes to simply loving God every second of every day.
Laura Victoria is the Communications Director for The Life Church. You can catch her doing anything from reading a good fiction novel or baking, to hiking/being outdoors, to watching anything Jane Austen related or Avatar: The Last Airbender. She has a passion for the church, creativity, and helping people find freedom in Jesus.
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