How Much Do Believers Trust in a God?

I can remember it like it was yesterday, my father debating with a Christian from another sect about what it means to be a follower of Christ. 

He loved challenging believers from other churches, largely because he didn’t think they were real Christians. Most were far to “worldly’ to qualify in his opinion. This time, the point being made was about trusting in a god. So, he dared them to go home, get out their insurance policy, hold it up to the heavens and then say, “God, I trust you.”

Growing up in a cult made for a pretty rough childhood, but it also came with a few secondhand benefits.

 I got to witness firsthand a kind of dedication to religious details that made many modern Christians appear lightweight when it comes to walking the walk. Trusting in a god was only one of many things that had to pass a stringent test. No casual modern day twist to being a Christian in my dad’s calculations. To get to heaven involved a lot of effort. If you were a born again Christian, your old lifestyle underwent a complete makeover. You gave up most of the pleasures that you enjoyed prior to embracing Jesus as your savior. Actions counted. Sin was real and sinners and Christians had little in common. Once you accepted Jesus as your savior, you learned to rely entirely on him to protect you. He had a plan for your life, a life of numbered days. Our earthly existence was only a testing ground to prepare us for eternity. Material concerns, politics, war, even planning too much for the future had little to do with the lives of Christians. They had come out from among them and were separated by their lifestyles. Kept busy with avoiding the snares of the world and the tricks of the devil, the business of saving souls was paramount.

To believe god had a hand in everything we did meant that something as menial as an insurance policy, for example, wasn’t necessary.

God wouldn’t let anything happen to you unless it was part of his plan. Furthermore, you couldn’t say you trusted god and then just in case he let you down have insurance hidden in your lockbox. No one else might know the policy was there, but god would.

To the best of my knowledge, once my dad gave up insurance, we never had it again except for what was required by law. 

After all, he did believe that he was to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s. Once his house was paid off, he no longer carried insurance on the house. Nor did he carry life insurance of any kind. After he died, my five brothers and sisters and I soon discovered that he had followed through with his beliefs. No policies were found. He didn’t lock his doors. He didn’t acquire a lot of worldly goods. After all, you can’t take any of it with you when you die. In his estimation, his god had always come through for him even if it was just in the nick of time with only the bare minimum.

There was an abundance of ways in which my father didn’t hold a sterling record.

He was a very flawed, possibly mentally ill man, but when it came to putting his trust in a god to look after him, he may have broken the record. He might not have succeeded 100% of the time, but certainly he was much more daring than the average self-proclaimed believer.

I can already predict a few of the quick comebacks this short article will receive.

Some will say that God helps those who help themselves. Others will defend their responsibilities to take care of their families to the best of their abilities. Many believers will even scoff at what they consider the sheer absurdity of my father’s literal interpretation of trust. Ultimately, any arguments about what constitutes trust must also be added to the huge pile of disagreements that already exist between the different religions. This moldy old collection of religious arguments has at the very least prevented believers from enjoying fellowship with one another and at worst brought about wars and crusades in defense of the various truths.

I can’t help but chuckle, however, knowing full well that many words that Jesus supposedly uttered don’t cause me to squirm with discomfort but rather the Christian.

So, I’ll close with the ultimate description of trust from Matthew 19:20-22 and let the pious leap to the defense of their current practices rather than question whether they have refused to take Jesus at his word.

 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

That’s some pretty undeniable straight talk about trust coming from Jesus. 

Even my father would’ve had trouble trusting his god to such a degree. But there you have it in a nutshell. Like any good cult leader, Jesus insisted that if you want to follow him, you must choose to be either in or out. There’s no in between. You either trust in him or you don’t.

So, put that in your pious pipes and smoke it.