When Trust Disappoints

“Thank you for your time, Joel. We’ll be making a decision by the end of the week, and if you are selected, you’ll be hearing from us by next Monday.”

This was said a week ago. Today is the next Monday.

I opened the door to my work and instantly the smell of espresso permeated my senses. I passed between a few bucket-towers of freshly roasted coffee beans. The burnt smell was still in the air, which I think sometimes smells distinctly like waffles. (Few seem to share my opinion.)

The aroma of fresh scones and muffins greeted me in the next room. A new batch sat on the counter, waiting to tantalize unsuspecting pedestrians. I continued into the back room where I took off my jacket and proceeded to wash my hands. The current worker and I exchanged brief greetings as we went through our changing-of-the-guard routine.

I work at a coffee shop. It’s one of those family-run businesses where everyone knows everyone, and its cluttered dirtiness adds to its coziness. We have both a café and a drive-thru, and today my shift was in the drive-thru—which I enjoy. I find it easier to deal with one caffeine addict at a time rather than four or five. I noticed a car approaching in the tiny TV near the ceiling providing an aerial view of our drive through, and soon I was caught up in macchiatos and mochas, providing the masses with their addicting obsession.

Today during the silence, I found myself thinking about the interviewer’s statement last week. Today was the next Monday; they were supposed to call today. My cell phone sat in my right pocket, set on vibrate. I checked it periodically to see if I had missed the call. Hour after hour went by, and I became more conscious of the stillness of my pocket.

To distract myself from the phone between customers, I opened up my Bible to Proverbs, which my girlfriend and I are reading together while she is away for a few months studying. I have neglected it lately, so I decided to read through a bit in my slow moments. I started in Chapter 3 and had read five verses when I was confronted with, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek him in everything you do and He will direct your steps. The words ran through my head over and over. As I steamed milk, I contemplated how I had been seeking him in my current job hunt.

I graduated from college last winter. Soon after, I took a job at a local coffee shop to help pay the bills while I looked for a “real job.” I thought I would be there for a month or two at the most. That was nine months ago. I’ve been looking ever since but have had no luck. Each opportunity and contact has lead to a dead end; each job interview simply another chance to improve my interviewing skills for the next job. Normally I wouldn’t mind making minimum wage, but I’ve been planning on proposing when my girlfriend gets home, and I am unsure of how I could handle marriage with a minimum wage salary. I doubt her parents would be eager to give their blessing.

I thought over those words, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” This new job opportunity just seemed right, like there was a reason the other jobs didn’t work out and this was it. I was trusting that God would provide. I was seeking Him and trusting that the call I would soon receive would be His answer and provision.

Hours went by and eventually the sun began to fade and the shadows of the evening crept through my drive through window. As I began to clean the shop, I looked at my phone once again to see if I had missed it. Nothing. Closing time arrived, and I turned out the lights and locked the doors, passing again through the now deserted bakery, and then through the somewhat smaller bucket towers of coffee beans. I got in my car and drove home. Now here I am wondering what happened. What had become of my trust?

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Again the words flow through my mind like an annoying friend who won’t go away. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek Him in all you do and He will direct your steps.

I think the conclusion that this verse brings is not necessarily what I had assumed. Why do we trust? Because our lives are uncertain. In our wisdom we believe that trusting in God will eventually lead to the end of uncertainty. If I need a job, I trust that God will provide a job, not leave me in uncertainty. Yet I think that is often what God does, and not because it is some test to prove our trust. I think maybe it is because our uncertainty is too precious and too good for us to be taken away. Why would God reward our trust with the one thing that takes away our need to trust? Maybe He loves us too much to let us live in certainty and security.

Trust in God does not necessarily bring resolution. It may even build the tension of our already fragile lives. We may not get the job that is the answer to our financial problems. We may not find the person who will complete our lives. We may not figure out what that next step is before we are required to take it. Our problems may get worse, life may get harder; but still we must trust. It doesn’t say He will fill us in or ask our permission for each direction He takes us. He just says to trust Him. If we do He will direct our steps, and that is an encouraging thought.

So tomorrow, I will go back to making coffee.

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