Jack Weinberg, the environmental activist involved in the Free Speech movement of the 1960’s, used to caution the young people at his rallies, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” This “us versus them” mentality was significantly weakened by the time that I entered my teenage years in the late 1980’s. While we never called adults by their first names like some kids do today, many of my teachers and coaches made such an valiant effort to instruct my classmates and me that we trusted and respected them. After graduation, many of these folks became friends and our admiration for them deepened. We realized how they worked tirelessly so that generation after generation of youth were molded to become decent, intelligent, articulate, and productive members of society.
One cross-country coach made such an impact that years later I would hear his voice on every hill, “Bill, loosen up and swing those arms.” During road races, I would one of his racing techniques, ignoring the clock and just trying to pick off the runner ahead of me. “One at a time,” he’d tell us, “just pass the next best runner.” What a simple yet effective approach. The running instruction and life lessons that I learned back in my school days have guided my path in life. After a while, those lessons were so instilled that I pass them on to others as if they were my own.
It can easy to look at God as one who can’t be trusted. How many times have we prayed for something that never happened? But just like any other healthy relationship is not based solely on what one side gives, our relationship with God needs to be deeper. The lessons that we learn from the God of our understanding guide us and push us to make the valiant effort ourselves. Let us listen for that gentle voice and share the simple message: Trust me, you are loved.