Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)
Trust vs. mistrust. In the study of psychology, the conflict between having trust in the world around us and failing to have trust is the first of Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. As developing human beings we have to be able to relate to and function in the world of other humans, so trust is important.
The very first issue that human beings are faced with as infants is a question that is central to our physical survival. Is someone going to be forthcoming with providing meals for the child? Is the child going to have appropriate warmth and clothing and shelter?
Who can we trust? Is mother going to provide me food and warmth? Is father going to protect and nurture me?
In most instances, to the best of our ability, human parents affirm and reinforce a child’s trust in them. Unfortunately a child’s trust is not always best placed in his or her parents’ ability to care for them and keep them safe.
Many adults have issues with trusting others and building good relationships with people because their trust was betrayed early on. Most of us suffer the lasting effects of broken trust if not from our parents, then from others in our lives who have not been kind to us or faithful in their dealings with us.
Sometimes our struggle with mistrust enters into our relationship with God, especially when we don’t understand what He’s up to.
We have all been burnt before. If you can’t trust Mom and Dad, or your spouse, or your best friend, then it’s kind of difficult to trust anyone, including God.
Yet God tells us: trust Me, not in your own understanding. Have faith that He is in control and has our lives in His hands.