I was probably about 11 years old, and we were having a small gathering at our house for some people from our church. A man with a huge glass of iced tea walked over to our rickety piano bench to sit down. As soon as he sat on the unreliable bench, it gave way under his weight. He fell straight to the floor, spilling his cold drink all over himself. I have a vivid memory of being so embarrassed for this poor man. He had chosen a place to sit, not knowing it was going to fail him. When I think back on it now, it makes me ponder how many of us have chosen to sit in unreliable places, and what sort of fear we now carry because of it.
The wobbly piano bench can represent anything in our lives that has let us down. We are people, therefore we fail. We hurt people, and they hurt us.
There are so many things in life we cannot control.
Friendships are broken; jobs fall through, and sadly, people pass away too soon for our liking. How can we trust when life feels just as unstable as that old piano bench?
During youth group the other night, we were talking about faith. How would you define faith if you were asked to describe it? We got a little stuck pondering how trust is different than faith. When I talk about trust, I think of the chair analogy, you know, you sit in a chair, trusting that it will hold your weight and won’t crash to the ground. Well, that’s all fine and good, but what about that poor man who fell to the floor in my childhood home? He trusted that piano bench to hold him up, and it let him down!
There are so many “chairs” in life.
We choose friends and spouses. We trust that our family will be around forever. What happens when your trust is broken? You trusted God to preserve that loved one’s life, but they passed away far too soon. You trusted that your friend would always be there, but they let you down and broke your heart. Your spouse walked away from their vows, leaving you shrouded in doubt. What then? What happens when the chairs we choose to trust shatter underneath us?
Here comes faith. Trust leads us to sit in the chair, but faith tells us that even if that chair falls apart, we will still be ok. Having faith in God doesn’t mean that He will protect us from all pain and disappointment. God’s plan isn’t to keep us comfortable, sitting back in a recliner that has cupholders and built in remotes. The chairs we sit in may hold us, but some will most definitely break. So, what are we to do? Should we stay standing our whole life, keeping ourselves safe by never sitting down in a chair that may or may not hold? Absolutely not.
God promises that He is trustworthy; that we can rely on Him even when everything seems broken.
I love the words of Phillip Yancey, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” We choose friends and spouses and experiences because they enrich this life that God has given us. God doesn’t want us to be timid believers who walk around in fear all the time, waiting for the next chair to break. He wants us to step out in trust, reinforced with faith, knowing that even if the whole world seems to fall apart, He will still hold us.