Is It Trust or Denial?
by Steph Beth Nickel
Do people who always seem at peace with whatever life may throw at them drive you crazy?
(Psst, that’s a rhetorical question. You don’t have to share your answer. Maybe not so rhetorical actually … since you probably should answer it for yourself.)
Let me transport you back in time three decades or so. When I was a brand new mom, my family and I moved to a new city.
There were members in our new church home who were going through what I then considered unimaginable hardships, including one family whose young son had succumbed to cancer. As the mother of a two-and-a-half-month-old baby boy, I couldn’t imagine why God would bless a family with a child and then take that child away.
Oh, I could recite the cliches! But I didn’t know any of them to be true—not deep down in my heart.
As time went by and I got to know some of these people better, I realized they weren’t just spouting platitudes but actually trusted that God knew what was best—even when their situation was difficult and heartbreaking.
Trust, especially trust in the God of All Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3), is a remarkable and precious thing.
But what we think is trust can actually be denial, a squashing of our feelings, doubts, and fears.
This summer, my second son is getting married. Because of COVID, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to attend the ceremony. (He and his bride-to-be live two provinces away.)
I’ve braced myself for this pretty much since Joshua informed me that he and Ericka had set a date. Still, it was more with a sense of fatalism than acceptance that I dealt with the reality of the situation.
And then, one day, I decided to be completely honest with myself. While I may have locked away my emotions, it didn’t mean they weren’t there. It didn’t mean that, if I gave them permission, the tears wouldn’t fall. It didn’t mean that I was truly accepting that God knows best in this, and every, circumstance.
COVID has taken many lives, and my heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one or is facing an ongoing battle with this horrific virus.
But, as we all know, COVID has struck a fatal blow in other areas as well—job security, relationships, our peace of mind, and on and on and on.
There’s no denying it.
And yet, there is light in the darkness, hope in the despair, trust in the denial.
But the way to find real peace is not by denying the struggles we face—physical, emotional, and spiritual.
We don’t need to cling to platitudes or cliches.
We don’t need to deny how we feel—or that we’ve locked away our emotions.
We don’t need to paste on a happy face and pretend we’re a-okay.
But if we want to come to the place of authentic trust, we must press in and get to know the God of All Comfort better than we ever have before.
That’s what I plan to do. How about you?
Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at email@example.com; join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2725853534313738; or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.