Broken Trust

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Trust is the firm belief in something or someone. So what happens when trust is broken? In this message, we’re invited to trust again.

Well, hey everybody, and welcome to Valley Creek. It is so great to be with you today. For those of you that are joining us from one of our physical campuses or for those of you that are engaging online in our online campus, will you guys just give a shout in that chat roll? Everybody else, let’s welcome each other today. It is great to be together.

We are coming to the end of our Again series. In fact, next weekend is going to be a big weekend. We’re going to wrap this thing up. It’s a big wrap up because this has been a big series. It’s a record breaking series here at Valley Creek. This is the longest time that we had spent in one series. And I am confident that God intended it to be that way. You see, last year — last year was such a hard year. It was a year that all of the circumstances of it, it took hit after hit on us. And we were pushed down, and shoved down, and pulled down and kept down. But we knew that there would be a time to rise back up again. And so when you’re pushed down and shoved down, you lose some ground. And so what this whole series has been about is taking inventory. It’s taking inventory on where have we lost ground so that we could define it and then we could reclaim that ground again, in Jesus’ name. And so we started this series several weeks ago and we talked about engaging again and connecting again.

Because there has never been a time that it is more vital that we are firmly planted in the church. And then after that, we did some heart work, and we talked about what does it look like to forgive again and obey again. Because many of us had our hearts shattered sometime in the past year. And when your heart gets broken, it is so easy just to sit down and give up. But we said, let Jesus replace those places of brokenness. Let him repair that. And as he did, didn’t we found courage and strength to rise up and obey again? And then we had an opportunity to just enjoy God again, His presence, His word, His voice. And that took us right into remembering again, to remember how good He is to us day in and day out. And that brings us to just last week. And last week, we celebrated the two-year missional move. And we look back over the past two years and we said, wow, God has been so faithful.

We said, while the world has been up here, just a lot of chaos that God has been advancing, his kingdom has been advancing. And so we said, it’s time to give again, to serve again, and to go on mission again because we have a message to keep carrying, to carry it again and again. As hope careers we should embrace that identity again. And you all, over these series, I’ll tell you what, there has been great stories, there has been momentum and we had been againing it here and againing it there, and then right in the middle of it, our life got interrupted again. Snowvid 2021. What was that? I mean seriously, just when we thought that we were starting to make some progress and we were starting to go in the direction of believing and beginning again, all of that, our life got interrupted again. Schools were closed again. Businesses were closed again. Basic necessities were taken away again.

I mean we thought it was rough not to have toilet paper and then we went for days with no power, no heat, no water. It was crazy. And in all that, it feels like that we were set back again. The certainty we thought we had all of a sudden felt uncertain again. It hasn’t that just been the story of 2020. I mean 2020 was a year of constant uncertainty. Things were so uncertain. And what would we do when things are uncertain? We would just kind of get still and we’d wait, hoping that things were going to get better. But they didn’t. Then we go from uncertainty to even more uncertainty. And so what would we do then? Well, we would stay even more still. And with every level of uncertainty that came, we just stayed still and stayed still. And in our effort to steady ourselves we got stuck.

There are some places in our life when we try to get steady and we just got stuck. But today, it’s time to move forward. It is time to begin again and to take a step and move forward again. It’s an opportunity and an invitation to trust. It’s an invitation to trust again. Had you ever noticed taking that first step of trust? Whoo. That can be hard, can’t it? And I think as we all begin to take a forward step of trusting, we’re going to find that we’ve got a residue on us from 2020. It’s a residue that I call skepticism. Skepticism. You know it. It’s that little, hmm, head tilt, it’s that little ah, not so sure. And skepticism in and of itself when it starts out, it’s kind of harmless. I mean it’s not that big a deal, but over an extended amount of time, skepticism can become cynicism.

And cynicism over an extending amount of time, it will begin to erode. It erodes our mind, it erodes our heart, and it erodes our ability to trust. And the thing about it it’s so subtle that sneaks in and starts to do all of this eroding, and we don’t even realize it. I mean case in point, there used to be a time when I would trust, I could go to the grocery store and I could pick up Clorox Wipes, and toilet paper and milk, no problem. Nowadays, I mean you never really know what you’re going to get when you go to the grocery store. And that is just one tiny example of where we’ve kind of become so skeptical that it’s almost like our norm. You see, skepticism will erode our trust. And trust is a really big deal. Trust is a big concept. But because we use this world a lot and we throw it around, I don’t think we remember or understand how weighty, how significant trust is.

So for today, let’s just define it together. Let’s talk about what the definition of trust — it’s simply the firm believe in something. Trust is the firm belief in something. Every morning, I jump into my car and I put the keys in the ignition and I turn it. Why? Because I trust my car is going to drive. I have a firm belief that it is going to get me where I need to go. Every morning, I come down and I pop on the coffeemaker and I make myself a nice cup of coffee. I trust that it’s going to be good coffee. Why? Because my coffee is kind of like my car, both of them, I have a firm belief that both of them are going to get me where I need to go. Trust is the firm belief in something, that it is going to do, act or provide what you need. Now, as followers of Jesus, I think we can say that trust is the firm belief in someone, a good father who’s going to do, or act or provide what I need.

And as followers of Jesus, when we talk about the concept of trust, we have a go-to verse. I bet this is a verse you know. I bet you can say this first with me, but let’s put it up on the monitor. It’s Proverbs 3:5 and 6, you know it. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” We know this verse. You’ve probably memorized this verse. Who’ve got t-shirts with this verse? But in 2020, I think this verse, it got turned upside down. What do I mean? Well, I think in 2020, our paths were anything but straight. They were up, they were down, they were curvy, they had steep drop-offs. And I think we acknowledge it, oh, we acknowledged it all right, we acknowledged it by getting a little grumpy, a little edgy. We acknowledged it on social media. Some may have acknowledged it by falling back into those habits we thought we were free from. Some acknowledged it by just shutting down and isolating.

Why? Why did we acknowledge it like that? Well, I think it’s because we actually did try to understand it. I think we tried to understand a global pandemic. And then there were people asking us to trust me. Oh trust me, you can work remote from home. Oh trust me, your kid can do virtual learning online. Oh, your health? Trust me, do this. Trust me, don’t do that. And so we were trusting in all these people. And then things become uncertain, and what they were suggesting to us would shift or it would change. And then all of a sudden, everything became untrustworthy and that is where skepticism got born. I mean, can I just ask you a question today? Is it easier for you to trust today or do you find yourself being skeptical? Is it easy for you to absolutely believe the best or are you waiting for the other shoe to fall?

Because if you’re waiting for the other shoe to fall, that place, that person, that scenario, that’s where God is saying, right there, I want you to trust me again. In that situation, I want you to trust me with all your heart. In that situation, don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge me and I’ll make your path straight. See, even if our paths don’t feel straight, when we’re acknowledging Him, He will make them straight. Now, you may say, you know what, thank you but I’m going to hold on to my skepticism just a little bit longer because things are still really hard. I validate that. Things are still hard, we’re still in this journey. But guess what, even in a journey of hard times, we have a refuge because our God is good. We have a refuge in — you know how I know that? I know that by Nahum, Nahum 1. There it is. “The Lord is good and He’s a refuge in times of trouble.”

He cares for those who trust in Him. Your Lord is good. And He is a refuge. He is a place that you can go and find shelter. And He cares. He cares for you when you have a firm belief in Him. Now, the problem with this is sometimes we have a hard time believing it because skepticism will wear a disguise as wisdom. Skepticism says, when things are uncertain, you really kind of need to hedge your bets. In fact, you need to remove risk altogether. That’s wisdom. But you know what, when we remove risk, we remove the reward. We remove the reward of seeing how good He is and experiencing His refuge and finding out just how much He cares for you.

There is a scenario, and it plays out every summer at swimming pools. I know you’ve seen this. At the swimming pool right on the edge, you see a little kid who’s itty-bitty. And then in the water, you see dad, dad’s got his arms outstretched going, come on, come on, come on, jump, jump, jump. What’s that kid doing? Nine times out of ten, that itty-bitty is going, ahhh. And even though their dad’s been very trustworthy, they’re just a little bit scared, they’re a little bit skeptical. And I don’t think we lose that as we become adults. Because as adults, maybe you’ve been in I don’t know, like a business training seminar or a leadership training and they invite you to do that trust fall, you know what I’m talking about? That’s that thing where you’re supposed to stand like this and then there’s some clown behind you like that, going, go ahead, fall, I’ll catch you. And what do you do? Oh, you’ll do the same thing I do, you’re like, I’m not going to fall. I’ll squeeze you like a bug. There’s no way, there’s no way. Skeptical as adults, sometimes there’s children. And the reason is because skepticism goes all the way back, all the way back in our story to creation, Genesis.

See, the Lord created Adam and Eve and He gave them a perfect place to live a perfect life. He gave them purpose. He gave them clarity. He told them how to stay safe. He gave them everything he needed. They were set. Until one day the enemy comes along. The enemy comes along and he asked that question, and you know the question that the enemy asked. The enemy asked, “Did God really say that you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Did God really say? Do you know what the enemy was really saying? Can you really trust Him? I mean, do you really trust Him? You know what, that’s the same question that I think the enemy asks us today. Can you really trust Him? I mean, your kids’ grades, they’re still falling.

And I know you didn’t get that layoff the first time, but you know, revenue is going down, the layoffs are coming again, so I don’t know. And your health, well, your health is still really an issue. Are you sure you could trust Him? See, the enemy plants seeds of skepticism. It’s exactly that he did with Adam and Eve. And why? He did that because he wanted to divide them from God and isolate them from each other. Because it’s in division where trust gets broken. It’s an isolation where we lost hope. Doesn’t that sound like 2020? I mean there were so many circumstances in 2020 that were trying to divide us from God and make us question if He could be trusted. And isolating us from each other, well — there’s still some people that are isolated saying, just tell me when it’s over, tell me when it’s over. Well, what happened in Adam and Eve when the fall was over? What did God do? He went looking for them. Found them. He led to them. And He said, hey, will you trust me again?

It’s the same thing He’s asking you today. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. It doesn’t even matter where you are. He’s looking for you, He’s found you, He loves you, and He’s saying, “Hey, will you trust me again?” And then our skepticism, we start to shake our little heads and we say, “No, no, no, it’s okay. It’s okay. I got this. I mean I know. I trusted you with that thing before. I know I surrendered that thing before. But now, it’s good, it’s in control. I know God, I know.” He says, “But I know better. Won’t you even trust your whole heart to me?” See, if we said to trust is a firm belief in something, what does it meant to entrust? Well, to entrust means that you give something to someone firmly believing they will not hurt you with it. Say that again. To entrust, it means you give something to someone firmly believing that they will not hurt you with it.

We do this all the time. When we get married, isn’t that what we do with our fiancé? We entrust our future to them firmly believing they’re not going to hurt me with it. In our workplace, don’t you entrust your skillset, your energy and your dreams to your boss, firmly believing they’re not going to hurt me with it? In our friendships, we entrust our secrets. In our parenting, we entrust our legacy. Students, students, you guys have your whole life ahead of you. And you are entrusting it to teachers, and coaches and to academic counselors at university, firmly believing they’re not going to hurt me with it. But sometimes they do. Sometimes people hurt us with what we’ve entrusted to them. Now, here’s the thing. Nothing should ever be entrusted to a person before it’s entrusted to God.

We have to entrust it first to Him before anyone else. And you say, whoa, you’re talking about like my future, and my resources and my life. That’s kind of like what I treasure most. I know. But what did God treasure the most? Didn’t He entrust him to us? John 3:16. You know this one. “For God so loved the world that He gave,” he entrusted, “His one and only son. That whoever believes in him,” whoever entrusts theirself back to him, “will not perish but have eternal life.” Heaven. See, the kingdom of heaven is all about a firm trust in God. The kingdom of this world is all about a firm trust in man. Which kingdom do you trust?

Which kingdom does your life say you trust? Which kingdom does your worry or anxiety say you trust? Because friends, if you’ve got worry or anxiety in your heart, can I just encourage you? That’s just misplaced trust. It’s misplaced trust. And in 2020, maybe you did that. Maybe you entrusted something to someone and it ended up that they did hurt you with it. Then I think what I would call that is a trust break. Let me show you what that looks like. This is what trust looks like. When it’s whole, when it’s solid, when it’s healthy, it is steady and it is forward in motion. This is trust. When trust gets broken, it stops. The growth of the relationship stops, the trust stops, the progress stops. And you automatically spend an amount of time trying to rebuild the trust that got broken.

If within that time trust gets broken again, then you take two steps back and you start over rebuilding that trust if. It gets broken again, then you take two steps back. And if it happens too many times, you will end up going back and you will not even have the trust that you founded the relationship on. If multiple trust breaks happen with one person, it is really hard to build that relationship. If multiple trust breaks happen in a condensed period of time even like one year, then that’s when we say, I’m out, I can’t trust them. The only person I could trust is me. And that’s when we become self-reliant. I mean isn’t that how it happens? See, I think we may be a little bit more like Adam and Even than we really want to admit because Adam and Eve trusted themself more than they trusted God.

Their actions proved it. When the fall happened, when they missed the mark, what did they do? They hid, they started blaming things, they didn’t even like turn to help each other. They didn’t trust each other. Listen, this blows my mind. When the enemy was there, they were both there, right there when the temptation was in front of them. And you would think that one of them would say, hey, time out, time out, you know, God has been really faithful, not for nothing. I think we can probably trust Him. But neither one of them said that. And before we’re really quick to throw shade on them for that, be careful because I think that’s more we act too. When we miss the mark, don’t we try to hide it? Do we start kind of blaming circumstances or situations or other people? I mean how quick are we to entrust ourselves to godly counsel when we’re facing a hardship?

See, if we live our life being self-reliant and trusting ourselves more than we trust God, that’s when we get in danger or losing faith in God. Boy, that’s a dangerous place to be. Now, some of you just went, whoop, and put a wall up and say, I have not lost my faith. Okay. You haven’t lost your faith. But is it possible that maybe you lost your focus? You haven’t lost your faith, but maybe you’ve lost your focus, your focus on trusting God. I mean if you trusted Him in the past, can you say today without a shadow of a doubt, in every area of my life, I trust God more today than ever before? And if your answer to that is not, “Uh, not really,” that’s okay. That’s okay. Just choose. Choose to trust Him again. Because see, it is a choice to trust. It is a choice. And it is entirely up to you.

And you have everything to gain or everything to lose. And to be clear, everything is not lost when trust gets broken. Everything is lost when you choose not to trust at all or when you choose not to trust again. Because see, we will never trust other people more deeply than we trust God. The problem with that is it takes a risk. You have to take a risk to trust. And we’re a very risk-adverse society. Can I prove that to you? I mean, ladies, ladies, when we go and we buy a curling iron at the store, fellas, when you go, I don’t know what we’re talking about, when you’re buying an electrical screwdriver if there is such a thing, when you go to buy those at the store and when we go to check out, we’re paying with a little keypad, a thing pops up. And it said, would you like to pay x amount of dollars for an extended warranty on your electrical device?

Are you kidding me? Man, it’s a 30-dollar curling iron. Oh, but we want to be safe. We don’t want any risk that that’s not — we want to be guaranteed that it is going to work. We have to take a risk in order to find trust. And you have to have faith to take that risk. And I’ll tell you somebody that I think have this little number down great is our buddy Abraham, do you remember him? Abraham is the guy in the Old Testament, really big faith. He’s the guy that God came along and said, hey Abraham, I’m going to make you a father. And Abraham was way past fathering age at the time. So there was some skepticism. His wife was skeptical. Sarah, she’s like, there is no way. That’s not going to happen. But you know what, Abraham said, wait, I’ve got just enough faith, I’ll take a risk. And God proved trustworthy. And you know what happened? That, it built Abraham’s faith.

And so the next time God said, yo Abe, it’s time to pick up, we’re going to move. We’re going to send you somewhere. It doesn’t matter where you’re going. You didn’t even need to know where you’re going. Time to move. Skepticism alert. Everybody start skepticism. But Abraham said, nope, I’ve got faith. And I’m going to take a risk. He did it. God proved trustworthy and it grew his faith again. It grew his faith that he needed one day when God asked him something that was unthinkable, He said, Abraham, I want you to take Isaac, your son, you loved more than anything in the whole world, the son that I even entrusted to you, Abraham. I want you to take Isaac and I want you to go and I want you to offer him to me as a sacrifice. What? You’re asking me to take the life of my son? I don’t understand that. But Abraham relied on his faith, that he was obedient. And he took his one and only precious, treasured son to be obedient to the Lord.

Now, for those of you that don’t know the story, closure, it’s a good story. Happy ending. It didn’t happen. Right as Abraham was about to do it, the animal’s in the bushes, so it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen. And a happy ending. But Abraham had the faith to take the risk, to entrust God what he loved more than anything in the world. Can I ask you, what do you love more than anything in the world and you trust God with it? It’s real easy — it’s real easy to say, we trust God until we’re asked to entrust Him with what we love, to even entrust Him with something He gave us to begin with. Our marriage, our children, our resources, I’ll tell you what, when we live a life like that, people notice. A life of firm belief, of firmly trusting — we live our life like that people notice. You know what, Isaac noticed.

Have you ever wondered? I just wonder, what did Isaac think about that whole thing? I can tell you what his mother thought, but that’s a different story. What did Isaac think about the whole thing? You know what I think? And maybe you do too. I think Isaac was like a little bit skeptical after that. No campfires for Isaac. No smores. No. “Hey, Isaac, do you want to go chop down some wood for some chores?” “No, no I do not.” Why do we think that? Could it be because that’s how we would respond if we were Isaac? Would we be a little more skeptical of a repeat instead of anticipating a repeat to see the faithfulness of God? I mean, I think that Isaac lived watching his daddy. He watched his dad have a life so full of firm belief in God. Is it possible that Isaac was so inspired by his dad’s life he wasn’t even afraid of losing his own?

That’s inspiring. And you know what? That’s the life I want to live. That’s the life I want to live. And I do believe that’s the life that you want to live too. And maybe you say, I do want to live that life, but I don’t know how. Isaiah does. Isaiah 30, he knows how. He’s going to tell us right here, “It’s in repentance and rest is our salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” We have to repent. We have to change our thinking. And we have to rest for our salvation, not wrestle our salvation. Rest in the finished work of Jesus. And then we will be made strong in a way that’s quiet and trusting. That’s how we do it. And you may say, that’s not been the pattern of my life. That’s okay. Just because you haven’t trusted Him in the past, it doesn’t mean you can’t start trusting Him with your future. Today, you got to trust again.

You may say, you know what, that all sounds great. I mean, that’s actually great, like one of those little cute Bible stories, but that’s not really what my life looks like. Okay, why? You know why I think it’s not what our life looks like, it’s because I think we can’t get past the idea of trusting God with something that we can’t understand. But He didn’t ask us to understand Him, He asks us to trust Him. Remember? Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding? That dad in the swimming pool, he is not saying, I want to explain to you the physics of fly. He is not saying that. He’s saying, come on, come on, jump. I got you. I got you. And today God’s saying, come on, jump. I got you. I want to show you one last verse and I want to ask you something. I want to ask you, if you would look at this verse and if you would see the picture that this verse provides, it’s a picture, it’s a picture of what our lives could look like if we just lived trusting, firmly believing in the goodness of God.

So try to draw a picture of this in your mind as we read it. It’s Jeremiah 17. It says, blessed is the man who trusts me, God — the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees and they’re replanted in Eden. Can you see it? They’re putting down roots near a river. Can you see that? There’s never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf. There is serene and calm through the droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. Can you see that? That is a beautiful picture for a life of trusting God. And it’s more than a picture, it’s a beautiful promise. It is a promise. And you know want to know where I got excited? It’s the part that I highlighted right here.

This serene and calm, oh, I got excited about that part. You know why? Because that sounds like rest. Listen, 2020 wore me out, and I think it did to you all too. Were you not tired? In every way, you can be tired. Physically tired, mentally tired, spiritually tired. We were so tired. Do you know why? Look, because you can’t rest if you don’t feel secure. And secure and trust are the same thing. I mean if you go to sit down on a chair and it’s got three legs, you tell me how restful you’re going to be. No, you’re going to be skeptical. Like is this thing going to hold me up? If you go on your vacation and you find out that your Airbnb is in like a super sketched part of town, are you going to pillow your head and get a good night’s rest? No. Why? Because you don’t feel safe, it’s not a trusted environment. That’s all of 2020 was. But God says, it doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to be that way. Come on, guys.

Gentlemen, let’s trust God. Ladies, stick with Him, stick with Him, stick with Him. And this is what our life can look like. I mean, come on, aren’t you tired of being tired? Let’s not live like that. Let’s live a life bearing fruit in every season, completely trusting in God. It’s time, it’s really time, it’s time to move out of this pandemic, it’s time to move out in a way from 2020. It’s time to shake off the skepticism. It’s the most critical year of your spiritual life. So let me ask you a critical question. How are you doing trusting God? How are you doing trusting Him what you love more than anything in the world? He’s saying, come on, I got you. So let’s go. Let’s do it. Let’s lean in. Let’s make a choice today.

Let’s choose to trust Him again. Close your eyes with me. Lord, I am so thankful. I am so thankful that you give us your Spirit and we can sense what you’re saying to us. So let me ask you right now, what do you sense the Spirit is saying to you? Where is that place that you’re still waiting for the other shoe to fall? Can you name it and then can you even trust it firmly believing that God is so good? He is not going to hurt with it. He is going to heal you through it. We just trust the goodness of our Lord. We choose to not try to understand it. Lord, we want to acknowledge you in all of our ways. And Father, we know that when we do that we will walk straight paths following after the one we love most in the world, Jesus.

So Lord, I pray that we would just take all of the sin and that we would choose today to trust again because you are worthy of our trust. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

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