Saturday, January 12, 2013

Trust and Faith

So, today, I'm going to write about trust and faith. There are various activities that people in groups can do to develop and to build trust. These include things such as being led around on somewhat difficult terrain blindfolded (sometimes the leading is just verbal, as the person is told where to step and where not to), falling backwards and trusting that someone will catch you, and other exercises. Here is a website that describes a variety of Trust Exercises.
Basically, however, we live on faith, as well as on trust. A person who completely lacks both won't be able to function very well. We have to trust that our houses are structurally sound so that when we get up in the morning, the house won't collapse. When we cook, we have to trust that our kitchens won't catch on fire. We drink water from the tap and trust that the water is safe enough for us to drink. When we go out of the house, we trust that our cars are safe, if we are driving, or that we will be safe from cars and from other dangers if we are walking. We don't spend all of our time fearing that we will be caught in a tornado, and earthquake, or a typhoon. We trust that we will be given sufficient warning of dangerous conditions so that we can avoid putting ourselves at unnecessary risk.
When I go on long walks with groups of people, I have faith that I will get along with my walking companions and that I will walk in safe places and won't get hit by cars or attacked by strangers. I don't worry about where I will sleep at night or if I will have enough food to eat. 
But when we lack trust and we lack faith, we become scared and we act from fear. We may tell lies because we are afraid of what might happen if we tell the truth. We may act in ways that harm others and are even contrary to our own needs because we are afraid to trust.
One of the things that I have noticed in my reading of Genesis is the issue of lack of trust and weak faith. In chapter 12, Abram (who later became Abraham) and his wife Sarai (who later became Sarah) were fleeing from famine and they traveled to Egypt. For some reason, Abram was afraid to tell anyone that Sarai, a beautiful woman, was his wife. So he claimed that Sarai was his sister. When the truth was found out, the couple had to leave Egypt. In fact, Egypt suffered from a variety of plagues because of Abram's lie. In chapter 20, Abraham and Sarah traveled to the land of the Gerarites and were the guests of the king, Abimelech, king of the Philistines. Abraham was ruled by his fear. He believed that the people would kill him if it were found out that Sarah was his wife. Once again, he told people that Sarah was his sister. And, again, the truth came out with disastrous consequences.
Years, later, Abraham's son, Isaac, was traveling with his wife, Rebekah. They too ended up in the land of the Gerarites and became guests of Abimelech. The tale is told in chapter 26. Isaac believes that the men of Gerar will kill him if it becomes known that the lovely Rebekah is his wife. Because he is afraid, he tell exactly the same lie that his father told. Rebekah is his sister, he says. Eventually, however, the truth comes out and Abimelech warns everyone not to molest either Isaac or Rebekah.
Rebekah, on the other hand, showed a great deal of trust when she met the servant of Abraham at a well. This tale was told in chapter 24. Abraham had sent his servant to Rebekah's town to find a wife for Isaac. Apparently, the servant was one heck of a matchmaker. He waited by the well and along came Rebekah. He asked her for some water. Not only did she provide water for him, she provided water for his ten camels! He gave her a golden nose ring and golden bracelets as a sign of his gratitude. He went to the home of Rebekah's family and told them about the proposed marriage of Rebekah and Isaac. Rebekah did not know Isaac at all. Yet she willingly went with Abraham's (unnamed) servant and she married Isaac. They immediately fell in love and had a happy marriage.
Below is a painting of Rebekah at the well. The painting is hanging at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca at the Well, 1580/1585
Samuel H. Kress Collection

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