THE TONY CROSS COLUMN
Article No. 16
On trusting in God
“I don’t believe in God!”
Oh, don’t you? That’s great then – you won’t mind making a little experiment?
“I wouldn’t know where to start – what do you want me to do?”
That is excellent – your mind is uncluttered with religious ideas and claptrap then.
“All right – so what am I meant to do in this experiment?”
All you have to do is to affirm that there is a creator – call it the Life Force, or God, or what you will, it does not really matter. And then agree that he created the world – and each of us – for a purpose.
“All right – it makes sense that someone or something started it all, and I suppose it must have been for some purpose or other. What next?”
Well now, I want you to read a very, very short story and then read it again one or two times.
There are any number of possibilities, but perhaps a good one would be the story of the day Jesus walked through Jericho.
“Why is that a good one?”
It is good because it is a short and graphic story, and I want you to get the simple story into your head first.
“Where is it?”
It is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 18, verses 35 to 43. Read it in a modern translation.
“OK – I have now read it three times.”
Do you think you have got it fairly fixed in your mind?
Right, now I want you to shut the book, turn off the phone and relax. Really relax – sit comfortably and quietly with your eyes shut.
“I could get to like this game”
Now I want you to really call on your imagination. Imagine that you are in that crowd of people on the dusty road – no macadam in those days! Get the real feel of the place – feel the hot sun, smell that dusty atmosphere – hear the noise of the crowd, the pad of sandals on the road, the talking and laughing, the group of people walking along with Jesus in the middle….
“Yes I can see it – and I can feel a tension in the crowd.”
Right – now place yourself right in the middle of that crowd and be one of them – be there just near to Jesus as he comes along – can you see yourself there?
Good – now replay the story in your mind. Listen – there is the blind man shouting – what is he shouting?
“Yes, he is shouting for Jesus to get his sight back for him.”
Yes – now play out the rest of the story. Look into the face of Jesus, if you can, while he talks to the man.
“Yes – it is a vivid scene.”
So it is – Have you played it right through?
Right. Now I want you to start all over again but this time I want you to be one of the disciples. Peter, say. Or James, or John perhaps. Choose your favorite, if you have one. Look at the scene as it plays through from their point of view…..
Now have you done that?
“Yes, it was very different. They had a job to do…”
Now, for the third replay, go back to the beginning and place yourself beside the roadside as the blind man. Imagine yourself sitting there day after day, all you could do because you are blind. Then this crowd starts to arrive. You start shouting …
“I feel that Jesus is talking to me.”
Fine – now go back and tell him what you feel – what you really feel. Don’t worry – no one else here can hear what you say to him.
“I feel he looks into my soul - he knows all there is to know about me, I can tell that……”
Now talk to Jesus – tell him whatever you want to. It is between you and him, no one else here can listen in…
When you are ready you can surface again and – if you want to – you can tell us something of what happened.
And don’t forget you can adopt this same method with any of the incidents in any of the gospels. You can make them all come alive for you, and you can get nearer to what being a Christian is all about.
How does one learn to trust in God?
I mean – what do you do?
It is a matter of absorbing the bible – and especially the gospels – and letting God reveal himself. Then, of simply following in his footsteps. It is no more complicated than that. ‘Ah’, I hear you say, ‘but it is very complicated when you have to take the whole world into consideration’.
But God doesn’t want you to have to take on the whole world. Just do what you can, where you can, when you can and as often as you can. It is just as simple as that.
Distrust anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.