I’m always getting it backwards. Perhaps it’s always from thinking too much, and not taking action soon enough. Y’know, just do it right (not perfect, not ready yet) vs just doing it (go!).
Take one of my favorite verses, Psalm 56:3: Whenever I am afraid, I trust in you. (My wording.) It’s so easy to get it backwards. “When I am afraid, that’s when I trust in you” easily becomes “when I trust, I am afraid” becomes “I’m afraid when I trust in you.” Do you see? Which causes what? Does the fear cause the trust, or can the trust cause the fear?
Certainly, now that I think about it – even a little, it’s both. God has done and continues to do such scary, amazing things in my life. (If you know my story, you know I recently went through 18 months of unbelievable health struggles: kidney failure, open-heart surgery, having part of my colon removed. And, if you don’t know my story, I’m available to share it!) Now I’m trusting in God to lead me through a new chapter in life, Sharing His Story by praysing, talking, and writing about it – about him. Trusting that he’ll provide.
Certainly, I’ve always been easily afraid, and in the past, I’ve trusted in things of this world – a lot – too much: alcohol, video games, pornography, this job/that job, big paychecks and spending it all, parties, friends and fun things to do, my health. (Can I even say ‘at least I’ve got my health’ anymore?) Those things ended up not providing anything good in the long run, just wasted time and money. Well, maybe there are some good memories in there, but I was usually drunk, so I can’t remember them clearly.
Was I ever not afraid? I suppose there were times when I was confident in what I was doing. I was much younger then. Maybe I didn’t know any better. I made plans and expected certain results. Sometimes, things happened the way I thought they would. But you know that old cliche: life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Life went in directions I never expected. Certainly, in ways I wasn’t prepared for. And it all came crashing down, and that’s when (and where) God finally found me. Or I found him (but I don’t think we can take credit for anything except the mistakes.)
These days, I realize – I’ve been taught by experience – that there are things I can not change. I have to accept them. There are things I can change. I need a whole lot of courage to take on these challenges. And it’s so very difficult to know the difference between the two. I desperately need to be given wisdom. To be shown how to trust, regardless of the fear.
Certainly, it could just be trusting in my own wording: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, is the form the Easy-to-Read (ERV) version uses. “But even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you” (CEV). “Even when I am afraid, I still trust in you.” (GW) These make the correct order (fear? Then trust) much more clear. That makes it easier for me to remember that God has this. He’s got it rightwards.
I really like the TLB translation:
But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting him, what can mere man (including, and especially myself) do to me?