It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a first date but I still remember the roller coaster of emotions that go with it. If all went well, I would go home with a feeling of hope that something really special might develop as I got to know the person. Hope is a fragile thing, so it would take many dates before it could—perhaps—eventually growth into faith that this person was so special, so in sync with who I am, that saying “yes” if a proposal should be offered would be the right response.
By the time that proposal came, I had faith that all would be well, but it was still only faith. I could not be sure because as we all know marriage changes people. Day to day living is much different than courtship. Partners either grow together and their communion deepens, or they grow apart and a widening gulf develops. If we are fortunate and put in the hard work, we can arrive at the former and finally the last stage emerges….and that is trust. Trust is an inward assurance that without doubt we can count on our spouse to have our backs, always. To love, forgive, support and respect us under all circumstances. It is to be treasured and maintained by both parties.
Our relationship with God is exactly like that. As we are first learning about Him we can only hope that God is all some people say He’s cracked up to be. It will take study, time and patience to become one of the faithful who believe in what the Gospels tell us without seeing for ourselves that it is true. Doubts will arise from time to time, but in what relationship have they never plagued us now and then?
But if we prevail in nurturing our faith with prayer, daily time spent in an awareness of God’s presence in us and with us, and communion with God through our thoughts throughout our day, something wonderful happens. Just as in a marriage we go beyond hope, beyond faith into that dimension in our relationship with Him who IS love, in which the bond of trust is formed. We trust without question that God will never give us more that we can handle, and when we do have a cross to carry, it is His shoulder on the other side helping us bear it. His grace is abundant and constant, providing strength, forgiveness and wisdom. And most of all, He is the one Person who will never betray our trust. He earned it at Calvary on the cross.