Sometimes I picture myself standing on a tree stump just big enough for my two feet. In my mental image, the stump is surrounded by danger or things I’m afraid of – like I’m in the middle of a pit of snakes or a river of bubbling lava. I’m safe on the tree stump, but a single move in any direction could be my demise.
In my daydream, I stand so still, my arms wrapped around me, holding me together. I don’t look down because it’s too terrifying; I don’t look straight ahead because all I see is more of the same; I only look up. When I look up, even if I have no answers, at least the sky is still blue.
It’s an agonizing place. Paralyzing. Even the daydream stops me in my tracks.
And then I read these words from the good, kind Brennan Manning.
(I think we may nearly be at the place where I can call him Brennan, as I do with my favorite writers.)
In his book Ruthless Trust, he writes, and I paraphrase, that the basic premise of biblical trust is the conviction that God wants us to grow, unfold, and experience the fullness of life, but this kind of trust doesn’t come quickly. It is only acquired gradually, and most often through a series of crises and trials.
The God who calls me to hope against hope only asks me to bring my unconditional trust. To believe that he is wholly reliable.
So, maybe it is less a condition of paralysis that keeps me there. Maybe it is unconditional trust. I can be still in the trust that he will either deliver me or show me the next place to stand.
When I don’t know how I got here or the cause of this downward spiral or the next step to finding myself again, when I feel stranded on a tree stump in the middle of hot lava,
still the only thing expected of me is unconditional trust.