You want to know a problem I’ve noticed in my life recently? We’re all defensive. Everyone is running around talking about divisiveness…but I think even divisiveness roots back to the other “D” word. Defensive. And as a Christian, I see that Christians are possibly the most defensive of all. We are always on the look out for what you might be saying that goes against our belief system. And I’m done with it. You know why? Because I titled this post with a phrase I’m feeling right now, a phrase that I had my defenses up against, and that other people are going to get defensive over, but I have realized…it is an acceptable statement to make.
Y’all…there’s a problem with Jesus.
Yesterday, I was curled in the fetal position on my bedroom floor (smooth transition, I know). I had been sitting at my computer getting more and more worked up, shorter and shorter of breath (is that right?), and suddenly the sobbing started. I sat at my desk and sobbed for a bit and then just felt the need to transition to the floor. So for about ten minutes, I laid on a pile of dirty clothes, in the fetal position, with my dog’s chin resting on my head and I just cried and rocked.
It feels heavy to share that with you. It feels heavy to remember that actually happened in my life. And I’m talking full-on, “Old Yeller” meets “Terms of Endearment” touches “P.S. I Love You” crying. Like hard sobs, folks.
In my little world, life is hard right now. I’m having some emotional struggles with work, I just turned 30 (which has no significance except that which I have placed on it), and in a year where three people I love have already died of cancer…two more have just been diagnosed. And it all caught up with me yesterday afternoon so I cried on my dog.
You see, that’s the problem with Jesus.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “Trust” recently. The kind of thinking that drives me to look into Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible. So I chased down a verse today. I found it in the book of Isaiah.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” -Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV
I love the English Standard Version. It’s the “smarty sounding” translation I love. I also love several of the heart translations, like the God’s Word Translation.
“With perfect peace you will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust you.” -vs. 3, GW
My mind cannot be changed. Mmmm. I like it.
But I grabbed this verse up and went looking for the word for “trust”. It turns out to be the Hebrew word “batach” and it means…to trust. Seriously. But it carries a meaning of confidence, boldness, and security. Which is great and…kind of what I thought trust meant. But then I discovered something else. Well, what actually happened was my fat fingers hit the wrong thing on my tiny iPhone screen and I ended up going back a word.
If you’ve never spent a lot of time looking at the Hebrew and Greek dictionaries for the Old and New Testament…congrats! Actually, I think it is amazing and everyone should be doing it. Basically, all the words that scholars have put in these dictionaries have a corresponding number. So, let’s say there are six words that have some sort of tie to a root word for trust (let’s say that because it’s true), all of the words are going to be in the same area of the dictionary because they share a root and a first letter. So, I was on the 982 word and accidentally moved to the 981 word. That word is “bata” and you can see in English how they are similar but in Hebrew they are phonetically pronounced “baw-taw” (981) and “baw-takh” (982). So the 981 word has the following definition: “to babble; hence to vociferate angrily: –rash (-ly words); to speak rashly or thoughtlessly”.
How can these two words seem so similar and have meanings that are so at odds with each other?
Sometimes, I’m fairly certain that if someone was in the room with me, they’d actually hear things that God is teaching me audibly click with my brain. I mean…He’s got to give it that extra shove for me quite often. However, when this clicked, it was mind-blowing.
This is the problem with Jesus. I’m called to trust God. Isaiah writes to tell me that I must trust Him for “Yahweh alone, is an everlasting rock” (26:4, GW). I have to straight up 9-8-2 be confident and bold and secure in all I ask of God and all I speak of Him (that is true according to His Word). But when I 9-8-2, it doesn’t always feel like trusting. Quite often it feels like I’m just kind of losing my mind and maybe…9-8-1ing a little bit. True, authentic, 9-8-2 trust of God the Father, Jesus the Christ Son, and the Holy Spirit is going to feel and look like you’ve completely lost your 9-8-1. It’s going to look like crying on laundry and feel like getting hit with a washing machine, and it’s going to be a problem. Because crying on laundry is exhausting and getting hit with a washing machine, while I’ve never tried it, is painful I’m sure.
What I’ve realized in the last 24 hours is this: these two words are so similar because they are always going to come together. We simply get to choose the order. If we 981 out of the gate…it’s going to be so much worse. When we simply speak foolishly, thoughtlessly, and flippantly, we are not operating out of trust and we are running our own mouths without any form of truth to back us up. If we can stand strong in our 982 though, oh my friends what a difference it will make! When we trust confidently, and depend on the security of God, to the point that everything we say sounds like absolute babble and foolishness, no matter how crazy it sounds, we speak God’s Words…and His Word never returns empty.
Our 982 word has one more nugget tucked away in its list of descriptors: careless. There’s our commonality between our two words. Thoughtless and careless go together a little bit better don’t they? Nah. It isn’t careless in the sense of stupidly going without a care…it’s careless as in standing on that Rock, that everlasting Rock, and not having to care because it’s all trust.
Let it be.