Trust (revised)

My best known song is “I Will Trust in You,” and talks about…well, ‘trust!’ Trust and hope and faith during the moments in our lives where…

Don’t adjust your browser and don’t be alarmed. That was as far as I got yesterday on what was supposed to be today’s blog post. I must’ve started and stopped with this idea about a thousand times. Okay, maybe not literally a thousand. I’m a Christian so I felt the need to stretch the number ‘evangelistically speaking.’ You know, where the preacher calls for a response and five people raise their hand…but between the altar call and the salad bar at Golden Corral that number has increased exponentially…:) So maybe a dozen times for this particular entry.

And then I had another idea and wrestled with that one (a million times?). Shame I had to drop it, because it involved KISS, little people, and the power of three small words. God, please let me finish THAT story…

It’s now tomorrow, and here I sit at our beautiful Thompsons Station Park. I’ve finished my miles and am finishing my reward, a delicious Diet Coke (with lime, ‘natch). It’s another gorgeous day. The air is cool with a September tang, and I watch the few fellow park people make their miles as the dew burns off from the morning sun.

Have I painted a picture for you? It’d be so easy just to snap a pic like always and let you see through my eyes.

But that’d be too easy. Where’s the struggle in that?

So I sit and attempt to use mere words…combinations of characters we’ve all agreed to mean certain things…to use words to convey the reality of what God is trying to teach me.

Struggle.

I struggle with that.

That’s no attempt at cleverness. There’s a dark humor, to be sure. But there’s nothing funny when you are locked in a death match with the enemy.

This is where I’m supposed to say we know who wins every struggle, and there’s victory and freedom and life abundant. Pass the plate and sing hallelujah!

And I do know. Christ has secured our victory in every struggle. It’s true. I’ve staked my very life on that.

But it doesn’t mean we don’t struggle still…

I’m a reluctant Jacob with a bad hip. I’m a cowardly Gideon with too few men. I’m David on the run.

But these heroes knew the secret about struggle. It’s necessary. God works in and through the struggle. Hope can be found in the messy middle…

* * * * *

“Abandon Hope, ye who enter here” reads the signpost to hell according to Dante. And he’s correct. The hopeless are in hell already.

The official published lyric to ‘I Will Trust in You’ reads thusly:

When I am alone
I will trust in You
When all hope seems gone
I will trust in You

But that’s not the way it was written.

When my song was picked up by a major Christian publisher/label for inclusion on a children’s music project, I was elated. That’s another cool story in and of itself.

But there was a requested change to the third line of lyric. The producer suggested an alternate line and her reasons for it…and I readily agreed, no worries. I’m humbled by the way God has used that version of the song in the lives of children around the world.

In the literal hundreds of times I’ve played that song since, to so many different audiences and in equally many venues, I’ve struggled with the change.

It took away the power of the lyric. It made it nicer and more palatable.

It took away the struggle.

You see, when life dumps on you and the world is ending and it’s midnight at noon, the last thing you’re concerned with are theological niceties. Before you cast a stone, I believe in presenting Truth…nothing watered down and no punches pulled.

But when you’re in the middle of the struggle…hope doesn’t ‘seem’ gone…it IS gone. When you’re bleeding out, it only ‘seems’ like you’re dying?

So when I play ‘Trust’ now, I sing it the way God modeled it for me:

When I am alone
I will trust in You
When all hope is gone
I will trust in You

For those of us who have struggled, we struggle still. For those of us who have been hopeless, we feel the absence of hope all the more acutely. For those of us who’ve fallen, we look into the eyes of the failed every time we look in the mirror.

But we’ve been through it.

I wrested with God and won the blessing. My men were few but we defeated the enemy. I was hiding in a cave and God delivered my enemy into my hands…but then showed me how to be merciful.

When I am alone, I am not alone.
When all hope is gone, it’s not. That’s just what the enemy wants me to believe.

I still struggle, but I’m coming to grips with it.