There is a scene in the movie Aladdin, where princess Jasmine is asked by the street urchin Aladdin, “do you trust me?” She has to make a judgement call, as to whether she trusts him or not. And taking his hand she follows him.
Later in the story, Aladdin disguised as Prince Ali, asks her the same question. And again she has to make the judgement call, but we see her hesitation, her inner question “is this person who I think he is?”
Often I feel like my relationship with God is like this, a number of “do you trust me” questions along the path of my life. There are times when I have been wildly confident and taken His hand straight away. And others where I have hesitated and wondered if He is really who He says He is.
It is hardest to trust Him is in times of disappointment, trial or hurt. When I don’t get what I wish for and my expectations are unmet, do I trust God?
In those times, I feel far from Him. And I often feel the main obstruction is my emotions; the anger, the pain, the frustration, and the disbelief. They overwhelm me.
In those times of intensity of emotion, I shut down. I am scared to burden my friends and family with them. And I definitely don’t take them to God, because half of what I am feeling is directed at Him anyway.
However, a relationship of trust starts with honesty. So being honest about my emotions is paramount in a healthy relationship. Even though God already knows it all, it is still important for me to own my feelings and acknowledge them to Him.
God is big enough to handle the extremes of my emotion. I just need, to be honest. My model for this sort of honesty is David in the Psalms. He tells his Father when he is happy, sad, fearful or feeling abandoned. He doesn’t hold back. He tells it like it is.
“Break in, God, and break up this fight, if you love me at all, get me out of here.” (Ps 6:4)
“God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?” (Ps 10:1)
“God, God, … my God! Why did you dump me miles from nowhere? Doubled up with pain, I call to God all the day long. No answer. Nothing.” (Ps 22:1)
I have a tendency to classify emotion. I give my feelings labels, either good or bad. I have a ranking for them, with joy and celebration at the top. And at the bottom, fear and grief. But all emotion is a normal reaction to our circumstances. David trusted God with all of his emotions, his joys, and his fears and everything in between.
In my times of intense despair, I think God is far from me, but actually, He is holding out His hand saying, “Do you trust me?”
“Do you trust me with all your messy and ugly emotions? Do you trust me with your hurt and your pain? Do you think I can’t handle it? I’m big enough. Do you trust me?”
As I was writing this post, I couldn’t get this song out of my head. It was a significant song for me in a time of deep emotion and unwillingness to trust God with that. It is a song where God spoke to me when I shunned His word and His church because I felt they had no answers for my pain. Yet my Father is a Father who seeks me out, and He did just that with this song. If you are in that place today, I pray it helps you too.