Trista and I had been dating for a while, when I finally got the nerve to tell her how I felt about her. We were sitting in my car outside her apartment when I took a deep breath and said, I love you. I said it softly and quickly, that way I could back track if I needed to without too much embarrassment. But, she looked at me and said, I love you, too. That was the happiest moment of my life. I don’t remember driving back to campus, or going to bed, or really anything else that happened that night. To this day, it is one of my favorite memories.
Fast forward a little over a year. We were married and there was a man in the church where we were working that started a vicious rumor about me. When I first heard what he was saying I was mad and wanted to show him how Jesus treated the money changers in the temple. But, my anger quickly turned to dread; I had a new bride and what would she think if she heard this rumor? Would she believe me? Would she believe the rumor? The rumor was untrue, but I wasn’t sure what to do next. I didn’t know how Trista would react, I didn’t know what would happen and I was scared.
I made my way home, and asked my new bride to sit with me at the table, I had something we needed to talk about. I told her what was being said about me, and who was saying it. Before I even finished you could see the pain in her eyes. My heart sank until she said one of the most life affirming things I have ever heard. She simply said, I trust you.
I trust you. Those were words of strength and words of hope. As I reflect on that season of my life, I am struck by the fact that very often love and trust are not the same thing. We love people, we feel certain ways about people, we get all warm and fuzzy, or our hearts go pitter patter. Love is a beautiful thing, a needed thing. But trust is completely different. It goes deeper. People can openly declare their love for one another in one breath and in the very next breath stew in their jealousy because love is not trust. Loving you, feeling a certain way about you, has everything to do with me. But when I trust, that’s a deeper level of intimacy.
This month, Wineskins is taking a look at the book of Revelation. John, the disciple who Jesus loved and the disciple who loved Jesus, has been excommunicated on the Isle of Patmos. The Roman government had chosen not to kill John like they had Peter and Paul. Instead they sent him to a small island off the coast of Greece. It was while John was on the island that he received a vision that he writes as an explosion of Old Testament ideas, symbols, names and themes.
Revelation is a book that is often overlooked or ignored because there is so much that we don’t understand or comprehend. Is it a book about the fall of Rome? Does it talk about the fall of Jerusalem? Maybe, it warns about the Catholic Church or Mohammed, or the war between France and England. Maybe, it is talking about things that have yet to happen.
I am sure that there will be many articles this month that will unpack the different aspects or different views of this great book. What I want you to know is that the book of Revelation is a call for God’s Children to trust Him. It’s has become far too easy for folks to go into buildings and claim that they love God. We sings songs about how much we love God, we have shirts printed or bumper stickers on our cars that declare our love for God. Yet, it’s one thing to feel warm and fuzzy about God and another thing entirely to trust Him.
Revelation invites us to trust that God is able to save us when we are in the midst of a crisis and nothing seems to be going right; when it seems that any choice we make is going to be the wrong choice. When everything is falling apart at the seems, it’s not enough to simply feel a certain way about God. It’s not enough to say, I love God. Revelation calls us to learn how to trust God, completely. Trust His actions or His lack of actions in your life and your situation. And, honestly, that’s a call to a depth in our relationship with God where many Christians come up short. Because while it’s easy to say we love God, it’s much harder to trust Him.
Personally, I like the the way that Rick Atchley described the book of Revelation at the Pepperdine Lectureships back in 2013. Rick said “God has a side. Satan has a side. God’s side wins. Choose your side.” We can trust God, no matter what we are enduring here, because in the end He wins.