Ever play the game “Trust Fall” when you were younger? A friend would stand behind you, ask, “Do you trust me?” and you’d demonstrate your level of trust by falling back into their waiting arms. If you didn’t trust the catcher, you never agreed to play.
The story of Peter walking on the water comes to mind when thinking about the Trust Fall game. Matthew 14:22-33 sets the scene of this iconic moment. After Jesus performs a miracle and feeds the 5000, he tells the disciples to head back across the lake while he goes off to pray.
Night falls and the disciples find themselves far from shore in the middle of a storm. As they battle raging waves and fear for their lives, a figure comes walking toward them on the water. They are immediately afraid, but Jesus calls out and identifies himself. Peter responds with “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus summons Peter, and he jumps from the boat and starts walking toward him – on the water!
What a moment! What faith! What trust in Jesus! Peter doesn’t hesitate as he launches himself over the side of the boat. Even though he later falters and Jesus rescues him, he has the courage to jump from the boat! Remember there was a wild storm all around him, yet Peter still believed being with Jesus was better than being in that boat. That’s an epic game of Trust Fall!
As women who have suffered sexual betrayal, many of the words used in this story speak of our experience. Verse 24, speaks of being “tossed” or “battered” by the waves. The Greek root of this word refers to being tormenting, pained, vexed, and harassed. Those words depict exactly how a husband’s betrayal can make his wife feel. Unwanted thoughts, painful truths, and discovered lies harass and torment; “what ifs” and “if onlys” vex her. Her ship of life is truly being battered in the aftermath of discovery.
This verse also refers to the wind as “contrary.” Another great term for a betrayed spouse. Everything she believed and hoped for in her marriage is now contrary to the truth of what has been exposed. Honesty is trumped by lies. Security is imprisoned by uncertainty.
Broken Trust with Jesus
In the midst of betrayal recovery, so much of our healing is dependent on our trust in Jesus and his ability to repair the damage. The problem is we did a trust fall with Him regarding our marriage and being betrayed feels like Jesus didn’t catch us.
Now when Jesus asks us to trust fall it feels as if Jesus stands behind us saying, “Trust me and fall forward.” Fall forward? Um, Lord there’s definitely no one there to catch me! Falling forward makes no sense if you are waiting with arms out behind me. We want to remind him He didn’t catch us when we trusted Him with our marriage. How could Jesus now ask us to fall into nothingness? Surely, we will get hurt again if we do.
Jesus knows that trust is a big question mark in our lives right now – no matter who is asking for it. That’s why it can feel like He is asking us to fall forward and there is no one is there to catch us.
A Truth Reminder
My friend, Jesus is there! He will catch you! He knows it’s hard to trust again. He sees the pain the broken trust has caused. Yet, Jesus calls us to a deeper level of trust just like he did with Peter on that boat. We might not be as enthusiastic as Peter when we get out of the boat. But we can get out of the boat, keep our eyes on Jesus, and know that if we begin to sink, he will pull us to him, never allowing us to be lost in the waves.
The game of Trust Fall only gets easier when we participate repeatedly. It’s the same with Jesus. He is asking “Do you trust me?” and our answer will be easier each time we fall into his faithful arms. He’s got you. Never forget that. Just like Peter, we will realize being with Jesus in a storm is always better than staying in the boat.