With the presidential elections in America causing those of us on this side of the Atlantic to watch in disbelief, our government making radical educational reforms which many specialists believe are untenable, and senior ministers losing faith in their party's policies, it can be difficult to know who to trust.
In times like this, it's easy to fall prey to spiralling downwards in a sea of despair about how those in leadership positions are failing us. With two primary school-aged children and being a school governor, the changes in education affect me deeply and I am concerned about my children's future. To combat this, one of the things that I have to choose to do is remind myself of the only One who is totally trustworthy.
In my daily devotion I was reminded that it is actually those closest to us who can hurt us most. In the run up to Easter, I keep thinking about how Jesus was totally betrayed by one close to him – with a kiss. What was going through Judas' mind? How could he actually do what he did?
"Then one of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?' So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver...
"Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.' Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed him. Jesus replied, 'Do what you came for, friend'." (Matthew 26:14-15, 48-50)
Have you ever been deeply hurt by something a friend or family member has done? It can be hard to place our trust in anyone again if we've been really hurt in the past. But it is so important not to allow our responses to experiences with fallible human beings to be projected onto God.
When I am finding it hard to trust either those around me, or those in wider leadership roles, I go to the Scriptures to soak myself in the truth about the trust we can have in God, even in the midst of circumstances that seem so hard to understand. I find myself drawn once again to David, who expressed his doubts and fears so openly and honestly, but spoke to his soul about trusting in God despite them.
From Psalm 42:
"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' (v2-3)
"I say to God my Rock, 'Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?' My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, 'Where is your God?' Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God." (v9-11)
From Psalm 28:
"To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I shall be like those who go down to the pit." (v1)
"Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me." (v6-7)
Here are some great verses to read when we feel that those in positions of authority are more interested in their popularity than in the welfare of those they are supposed to be leading.
From Psalm 12:
"Help, Lord, for no one is faithful any more; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbour; they flatter with their lipsbut harbour deception in their hearts." (v1-2)
"The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times." (v6)
And here are some scriptures about trusting in God that I have found particularly useful:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Finally, here is a great prayer of David's, which I invite you to join in with today and make your own:
"In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in youwill ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long." (Psalm 25:1-5)