When I was buying my wee flat, one of the selling points was ‘the factor’. The factor for my apartment block has communal building insurance and deals with all the communal repairs, for which I receive a bill twice a year.
Now, that has two major upsides. Firstly, I didn’t have to actually do anything but pay and communal building insurance ensured my flat was covered but for half the price. It seemed ideal—protection, coverage, assurance the property would be maintained without having to argue with neighbours to get their share of the work—the factor did it all. Like most people, I pretty much buy insurance cover for everything—pet, travel, Apple Care for the gadgets, insurance for my phone, etc. And because of the factor, I have building insurance. Insurance is one of those things you have to have yet hope you never need. It’s weird how safe and protected a wee policy schedule makes you feel.
Last year when, like millions of others, my holiday plans were cancelled, I decided I’d at least use my time well. I started to paint my living room. You can imagine the mess—as dust sheets covered the floors and everything was shoved in a box out of the way. It was starting to look swish and, bizarrely, I was actually enjoying myself. Then I heard this horrendous noise from the kitchen.
I stood there, staring, as water poured through my kitchen ceiling. Plates fell from the cupboards, smashing in a thousand pieces on the floor. The kitchen units were actually hanging off my wall resting on top of my fridge freezer. Dashing outside, I saw my upstairs neighbour. The joiner had removed a nail from a pipe without first calling the plumber (bright spark!) and now the whole tank was emptying through my kitchen ceiling. She was devastated, and I didn’t feel much different myself to be honest.
When the water had been cleaned up, and the broken dishes binned, my builder came to tell me the sad news: I’d need a new kitchen. As we chatted, my neighbour said, “At least you will be covered. It was their fault; they will have to fix it.” The housing association had put in a new kitchen upstairs and the joiner had punctured two pipes with nails, one was a slow leak causing most of the damage until the bright spark finished my kitchen off completely.
So, in the middle of a pandemic, I was flooded, lived without a proper kitchen for five months, had to negotiate self-isolation rules and suppliers issues before there eventually appeared a beautiful new kitchen (the cheapest model, but I’m still scared to use it case I damage it!). All this and, in the end, I battled an insurance company who don’t want to pay out. They paid a tenth of what it actually cost!
Here’s the good thing about insurance: It brings a sense of security. We feel that if the worst happened, well, at least we’d be covered. Protected. That is, until you try to claim. We put our trust in agencies who ultimately disappoint. We might as well pay our monthly dues and cross our fingers, hoping for the best. Our hope shouldn’t be in a well-crafted policy document trying to cover every eventuality, making sure we have read all the small print.
What Trust Is (And Isn’t)
My kitchen is a trifle compared to what others faced but, it had me thinking. What and whom do we really put our trust in? Now, I’m not at all suggesting we give up buying insurance. We have to use common sense and follow the law. But, it’s a question for reflection—When disaster strikes, who and what do I really trust to save me from disaster? Do we completely trust the Lord with our lives? The sad reality for many Christians is this: God wouldn’t be at the top of our list. I know we would say the right words but, our actions would reveal the truth.
So what does trusting God actually look like?
I suppose it’s easier to think about what it doesn’t look like:
1. Trust isn’t being anxious: One writer puts it like this: “Crushing anxiety happens when I believe lies. You might think of your worries as false prophets. They’re telling you that God isn’t good, sovereign and wise.” Our worries and anxieties are false prophets telling us the lie that God isn’t good, sovereign, wise—that he is not trustworthy! (I know anxiety is much more complex and a blog for a different day, but what I’m talking about is wallowing and remaining, “being” anxious).
2. Trust isn’t disobedience: Disobedience and trust can’t coexist—either we believe God knows best and obey or we don’t. There really isn’t a middle ground. He is absolutely Sovereign, the supreme commander of the universe, who spoke planets into being. If we truly believed that, we would trust Him completely! Disobedience has its roots in our sinful lack of trust.
3. Trust isn’t impatience: One of the hardest parts of trusting is waiting on God’s timing, answers, solutions. I don’t know about you but, I don’t wait well—I can think all sorts of unhelpful things, like ‘God doesn’t love me’. I forget that in the waiting He’s teaching me something. How many times have we looked back and seen His perfect timing at work, seen Him intercede in ways we could never have imagined? Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
4. Trust isn’t self-reliance or manipulation: All too often, we get into problems when we think we know best and try to take matters into our own hands. The temptation is to come up with our own solutions and, in our arrogance, we can think we can be our own answer to our prayers.
5. Trust isn’t discontentment: I get discontent when I don’t have what I think I need or when I have to do something I don’t want to do. One definition said, “a restless desire or craving for something one does not have.” What we are really saying is we are discontent with God’s provision. Philippians 4:19 “…God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” All too often, when we don’t trust God with what we need, desire, or want, discontentment rules. We forget ultimately that in Christ, He has met our most precious, deepest, and greatest need: The need for salvation. More than we could ever deserve. Everything else is an abundant blessing.
Sometimes I think we trust God with some things and not others. We need to remember Jesus is the real deal—always reliable, completely faithful, 100% trustworthy. Why trust in something substandard and fallible when we already have the best and most reliable?
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep the mind that is dependent on you in perfect peace, for it is trusting in you.”