Sunday, July 3, 2011

Learning to Trust

“Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me.” John 14: 1

“Please tell me what this letter says,” Abdi requested. It was a notice from the office of Abdi’s government housing units issuing a warning. A friend had already explained the warning notice to Abdi but he didn’t trust that his friend had explained it correctly so he double checked with me. Pest control technicians had come to his unit to spray for bugs. Abdi would have been notified. But when they came to the door Abdi wouldn’t let them in. “We don’t have bugs,” he informed the workers adamantly. The technicians were denied entrance, thus a warning notice that if they were denied again Abdi and his family would be evicted. Various notices, bills, and information letters were shown to me about other matters. Always there is distrust either with me, or another person who has explained the same thing, or with the offices which have sent the letters. Abdi has a major issue trusting anyone. His face shows real stress when it comes to trusting. It doesn’t help that he is semi-literate, even after ten years here. Above all, it doesn’t help the situation that he has been traumatized from political conflict and danger in his country of origin. He grew up not being able to trust anyone, including the government, because they had not proven trustworthy. The religious authorities had disillusioned him severely, too – he can’t trust any faith.

A widow from a country that has known its share of turmoil is very protective of her sons. She finds it difficult to trust anybody who holds an office to which she needs to report. She isn’t sure if she can trust her children’s safety at school. Another widow experienced having her baby poisoned, two daughters kidnapped, and her husband disappeared decades ago. She’s been overly protective of her only son. She doesn’t want to lose him.

I encounter many Muslim refugees who have come to this new land who have taken years to trust schools, offices, government, settlement officers, doctors, police, mechanics, used car dealers, pastors, churches, and kind people. We enthusiastically dive into sharing about Jesus and expect them to trust Him as Savior simply because we tell them that He is trustworthy. We have a hard time comprehending the journey of trust they are on. It takes a long time to learn how to trust.

Khadija told me a long story of a newcomer who had been treated unjustly by a church. Unfortunately the story developed out of distrust and paranoia. I asked Khadija, “Can you trust me?” “Yes,” she replied, “because you have had me in your home.” Really? She explained that she can trust people if they have invited her into their home and served her food. Extending an invitation to our homes where we welcome the distrusting ones and show them honor and love and serve food may prove to be the most significant way to start building broken trust.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You that there is no darkness in You at all. I can trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.