I only jumped one time. That was enough. When I take my mind back to that moment, I can still feel the fear. I saw others jump with ease, and go right back for more. I knew I could swim. I knew that the water was safe. I believed the mechanics of jumping, that if I went straight in, the water would catch me, I would touch the bottom and push my way back to the surface. And the one time I jumped, it happened just like that. I think I was crying when I got out of the water, and I never, ever climbed that high dive again. I remained terrified of jumping, but I never understood why.
I was watching a group of kids recently, barely toddlers. They were in the playroom at church, climbing up through the giant tubes and tunnels, sliding down and going right back for more. Only a few held back, content to go up the few steps so they could come down the small slide. But most of them were absolutely fearless. It never occurred to them that something bad could happen to them. We had led them in there and turned them loose to play, so they played with abandon.
And then life happens. Hearts get broken. Innocence gets taken. We fall, we get hurt, we find ourselves alone. We learn the hard truth that not everyone is good, and sometimes, everything doesn’t turn out okay. Sometimes things just get worse. And fear comes in and bullies our trust into submission.
Jesus said we must change and become as little children. Change is a process. It takes time to grow from an adult into a child. To learn the truth that God is good. But time belongs to God and God cannot be bullied by fear. Instead, He sends love into the fight. And like ocean waves it just keeps coming, beating back the fear that keeps us from jumping. Because trust and fear do not dwell together, no sir, one of them must go, and God cannot be bullied.
Trust renders us dependent upon the one we are trusting. Isn’t that it, really? It’s the falling backward, trusting the one standing behind you to catch you that makes us vulnerable, wholly dependent on someone else’s ability to be trusted. No control. And isn’t the need for control the darkest place in our heart, after all? Isn’t that the biggest fear of them all?
And the hardest thing about growing from an adult to a child is realizing that we never did have control. Not really. Some would call it an illusion. I think deception is a more fitting name.
Do I dare say my next thought? The one that keeps pulsing against my heart? Believing makes you safe. Trusting makes you dangerous.
And He has me at the high dive again. I believe He is with me. I believe He is good. I believe He has good plans for me. But none of that will get me to jump.
Luke 18:16; Matthew 18:3; Daniel 2:28
Note: Many times Jesus asked, “do you believe?”, or He said that someone’s faith had healed them, etc. Both of those words contain, within their biblical definition, the word ‘trust’, and the idea of going beyond having a knowledge of something to actually trusting what you believe. In other words, when Jesus said “do you believe Me?”, He was asking “do you trust Me?”.
Webster’s dictionary does not use the word ‘trust’ in its definition of the word ‘believe’, and I am convinced that neither do many of us.