A couple years ago our family was parked at the ferry terminal in Nanaimo, hoping to catch the next ferry back to Vancouver after a long weekend. It was a hot and sweaty summer day. We didn’t have a reservation, but figured we wouldn’t need to wait too many ferries before we’d get on.
We parked our car towards the end of a very long lane. The lanes were all full. Thousands of cars parked with families waiting to board.
Every hour, a ferry came, and every hour a ferry went, but you would never know, for the sea of cars seemed unchanged each time.
Before each new departure, the port manager would come on and announce a full ferry, and you would hear frustration from everyone waiting. It started as frustration at least. Then it grew. With each full ferry, the response went from frustration to anger, to outrage, to chaos.
We could feel the anxiety, the fear and the blood rising in those around us. You wouldn’t even need to speak English to pick up on what was happening.
People we’re stoking the fire and recruiting others to join them in going en masse to the Ferry Terminal to bring their complaints with full force. But in the process of venting this anger, tempers were short and divisions were stirred even among those that shared the common goal of launching a tirade against the port employees.
It was spectacular to watch this happen around us in a matter of hours.
These people faced no present danger. While it was certainly hot, only steps away was an air-conditioned terminal for refuge from the sun. And though people came unprepared, the food court was operating at full capacity to meet anyone’s needs. There was no logical reason for chaos to have unfolded, and yet so many of the people around us were transformed into something dark and scary.
It was eye opening to me.
It was interesting how quickly the presence of peace, process, cooperation, stability, kindness, and optimism disappeared.
While we see these things in abundance most of the time in our day to day lives, I learned that for many people, those things can only be produced when the predictability of our social, economic and political structures are working as they are supposed to.
When the things we know and take for granted are threatened, our humanity can collapse quickly. We are quickly given over to fear, anxiety, despair, self-preservation, and hoarding.
Just go to Costco right now and see for yourself. There is no food shortage in our city. No danger right now of our supply chains and their ability to restock groceries and household items. And yet, chaos.
Why is that?
I believe it boils down to trust.
When our life is shaken in any way, our hearts unravel and reveal very quickly the places we put our trust. If your trust is in economic growth and prosperity, the markets right now are surely affecting your wellbeing. If your trust is in your career, the question of job security is surely to affect your wellbeing. If your trust is in your ability to provide for your family, the question of toilet paper availability is surely to affect your wellbeing. If your trust is in the government as the glue that holds humanity together, the reality of confusion and turmoil from leadership right now is surely to affect your wellbeing.
When the things we trust most are shaken or crumble, we are shaken and we crumble. We are left to be filled with fear, worry, anxiety, despair.
Our fears show us where we put our trust.
And the reality is, if we place our trust in any single place that is not Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the creator and sustainer of all things, then it is certain that we will be shaken and will crumble in the face of instability and threat.
Trusting in the Lord is what we are called to as his creation.
Trusting in the Lord’s sovereignty.
Trusting in the Lord’s power.
Trusting in the Lord’s knowledge.
Trusting in the Lord’s will.
Trusting in the Lord’s goodness.
Trusting in the Lord’s plan to restore all things to himself in perfect glory.
Trusting in the Lord’s call for us to seek first the Kingdom, even when all those around us are seeking first their own safety and wellbeing.
Trusting in the Lord’s call to be a beacon of light to the world around us.
Matthew 6:9-13 says:
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[And some translations and manuscripts end the prayer with: For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.]
This whole prayer, is a prayer of trust.
Take a look at this with me:
1 – Jesus says, “Pray then like this” – He is saying to us: Trust me. Trust me when I tell you that this prayer to the Lord your God is sufficient for your needs and for your good.
2 – “Our Father in heaven” – The word father here is “Abba” father, in Aramaic. This was the word used by Jewish children for their earthly fathers. This conveys the authority, warmth and intimacy of a loving father’s care. The Lord is inviting us into a deep relationship of trust with Him.
3 – “Hallowed be thy name” – This is a proclamation of exaltation, where we give the Lord the highest honor, set apart as holy. In saying this, we are evidencing our trust that the Lord in heaven is indeed above all things, sovereign, all powerful, mighty to save, holy of holy.
4 – “Your kingdom come” – Jesus reigns today in and through the church and his reign will be perfected for eternity over all creation when every knee will bow. We are called to trust in this truth through faith, and to bring his light to the world.
5 – “Your will be done” – We are called to trust in the will of God. Not our own will. The Lord’s will. Even when it is not understood by us. Even when it is not clear where it may lead us. Trust the Lord’s will.
6 – “Give us this day our daily bread” – The Lord sustains us, and will continue to provide for our physical needs. Do we trust that our sustenance is in his hands, and that there is no better place for us to live?
7 – “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtor” – You, Christian, have been justified by the blood of Christ. The finished work of Jesus has given you righteousness before the Lord, if you do indeed place the wholeness of your faith and trust in him. This means no fear, no condemnation, no guilt, no shame. This means freedom in its fullness. Trusting in this gives life. And it is trust here again that we are called to.
8 – “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” – Let us oppose the temptation to fall into and be consumed by fear, anxiety, worry, despair. Let us oppose the world’s encouragement towards these things, the flesh’s inclination towards these things, and Satan’s desire to cause us to stumble in these things. Trust in the Lord and his power to bring deliverance from these things. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” And this spirit, the Holy Spirit, is indeed powerful over all such temptation.
The prayer then ends in some translations and manuscripts by saying, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.”
We worship the God of all power and glory.
Can I encourage you in this season, to confront fears that may be revealed by placing the fullness of your trust in Jesus Christ.
As I said above, when the things we trust most are shaken or crumble, we are shaken and we crumble.
Hear this though, Jesus Christ will not be shaken and will not crumble.
Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and aw, for our God is a consuming fire.”
Jesus Christ will not be shaken. And if you place your trust in him, you too will not be shaken. Though the world around us may fall.