“I do not believe a word you say!” I spoke in anger at the man standing in my doorway. He raised his hand plaintively and said, “John, come on. You know I will figure a way to get the money back.” I knew nothing of the kind.
Tom had already gotten our truck impounded. Sold company tools and now claimed he had been robbed when $1000.00 of company funds had disappeared from a deposit he was supposed to take to the bank. So many times, I had trusted this guy who had been my partner and friend for the last two years.
It had all started well enough. Four guys had gotten together and decided we could form our own Ironworking company. Each of us seemed to be skilled in certain aspects which would benefit such a partnership. Paul had business connections in the construction community, Tom had knowledge of book-keeping, Joe and I had been superintendents and years of experience to get the work done. How could we fail?
It hadn’t taken long to see that good intentions and talents were not going to be enough. We were getting jobs but Joe and my addictions for alcohol and drugs were making life rough for Paul who had most of his business connections through his church and most of them didn’t think they could trust people like us. Tom seemed to be taking care of the money but signs that he might be ripping us off started to surface. But we had commitments and there was nothing to do but keep moving forward.
For two years we struggled on. Money was always tight as Tom added to the woes with his dishonesty. Paul found fewer doors open to a company that allowed drunks and druggies to run their work. And Joe and I were at each other’s throats on how to run the little work we had. We no longer believed in our dream. We lost faith in each other.
By the time I came to Jesus, I had lost all faith in humanity. It seemed around every corner there was someone waiting to get over on me. It had infected everything, including my relationships. My friends were few and I really trusted none. My marriages continued to fail and I was always ready to blame everyone and anyone. Something was missing but I was sure it was in everyone else not me.
As I started reading the Word of God especially the New Testament something kept jumping out at me, the word faith. It became so obvious that I googled it. And depending on the version you read it can be from 336 times in the King James to 521 times in the New American Standard. No matter how you look at it that is a lot. But the problem was I had lost the meaning of the word in my life. I mean, how could I ‘have faith’ when the only one I could trust was me.
I am sure some of you are saying, “Wow, no wonder this guy took 45 years to get past his addictions! He spent all those years trusting in the wrong guy!” If any of you thought something like that, to you I say “Amen!” It took me a long time even after I filled my mind and heart with the word of God to get it. In fact, it took a miracle. It took un-numbered prayers of others and the Holy Spirit’s power to open my mind to see what so many find in a minute. There it was in front of me in the book of Hebrews, a book I had listened to and read literally hundreds of time. But one day only a few years ago my eyes were opened through this passage, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that has been set before us. Looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or faint hearted.” (Hebrews 12: 1-3)
I had read about the witnesses in Chapter 11. They were called men and woman of faith. But it had not come together in my mind until I saw why I could have faith in one who cannot let you down, Jesus. Did you see it in these words, “…who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”? I finally knew that the joy being spoken of was me, was you. Jesus died with the weight of our sins, lost to the Father, but did it with the joy of my salvation in his broken heart. How could I deny Him my trust, my faith?
And when I did, I found I could begin to trust others. No not because the world was any better but because I realized it was not about me. I understood better what Jesus tells us, “to love our neighbors as ourselves” and we can only do that when we see ourselves through a holy God’s eyes. Sin tainted but saved by nothing we do, but in the cross. That changes everything.
Those many years ago my company blew apart. There were years of repercussions. Mostly that I found myself increasingly isolated from the world and more enveloped in my addictions. I can look at it now through eyes not my own and only see the forgiveness God has shown to me. I pray today my faith in Jesus is stronger today than yesterday and ever stronger each day until the day He returns. Will you trust him today? Where is your faith?