Summer Soak: Protect & Trust

This week’s memory verse:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Psalm 62:8 ESV

This week we look at two interconnected characteristics of love.

Love bears all things, always protects. Love believes all things, always trusts, never loses faith.

Love protects and trusts… always.

The Greek, stegō, translated as protects means to cover, to protect or keep by covering, to preserve; to cover over with silence, to keep secret; by covering to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, hold out against, and so endure (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Roof  in Greek is closely related to the word for protect. A covering which protects a whole household from the beating of a storm or the scorching of the sun.

Love bears all things like a roof bears the wind and the rain, like a roof that bears the burden of lashing storms, brutal heat. Like a bucket poured right out that could make a roof over your head to absorb storms, that gives itself as a container to carry the burdens of others.

Real love is a roof. Real love makes you into a shelter, real love makes you into a safe place. Real love makes you safe. Stego.

–Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

Do you find others running to you during stormy seasons in their lives? Why do you think they do? or don’t?

We only run for protection to someone or something we trust.

Who do you trust during your stormy seasons? What makes them a trustworthy source of protection?

Read Psalm 121

List all the ways God protects us.

We can’t literally be a roof over someone to show them love, but we can do other things. Read the definition of stegō again. What ways can we show someone the protection of God’s love?

Bearing a burden and protecting another in love can be done through word and deed. We can help by entering into someone’s painful storm with them. Just being present. We can cover them in prayer. But we can also protect them by keeping our mouths shut: to cover over with silence.

This love that bears and protects knows how to keep a secret. It never gives up a confidence. It keeps a hurt to itself in silence, rather than complaining to others. Stegō love refuses to gossip, not wanting to expose anyone to public ridicule, humiliation, or shame.

Read 1Peter 4:8

What does love cover?

Do you see a connection to keeping quiet?

Now, we are not talking about keeping abuse quiet, covered in silence. There are consequences for sins which break laws and bodies. But even in the aftermath of domestic violence (or any other offense) when it has been taken care of legally, love can cover the victim and the abuser by not making it fodder for gossip. By not informing others who do not know the people involved intimately. We bear the burden of keeping quiet in order to decrease the trauma of the abused and the infamy of the abuser.

Is it a burden for you to keep quiet about someone else’s trauma? violation? pain? what about your own? Why? or why not?

It’s one thing to be trustworthy in order to protect another, but it’s something else all together to always trust as an act of love.

The trust of love, also translated as believes and faith, is pisteuō, meaning to place confidence in (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). It is a word which portrays trusting belief. Belief we act on. It is the heart of faith.

This is a hard Word… love always trusts. We get hurt when we trust. We are disappointed. People let us down when we believe in them, put faith in them. Always.

We all have people we love who have hurt us. People we know better than to trust again. But here we have it. Love always trusts. Always believes. Never loses faith.

Carol says:

The one person I’ve failed to love through trust is the one person I say I love the most. My husband.

I’ve failed to trust him when he drives without looking at the road or with the decision to come in off the lake when the thunderstorm looms on the horizon or to lock the doors at night.

My lack of trust in my husband to protect me and my children was the source of many arguments between us, and anxiety in me.

Sitting on a swing under a beach house watching a storm rise up when my husband had our children out in the boat fishing, a storm of fear began to stir up in my heart. As I began to pray I was rebuked by God: Don’t you trust Me?

In an instant, I was convicted and humbled. I had been blind to His sovereignty. Blind to the truth nothing happens without His consent. Blind to Him being much bigger than any decision my husband could make.

What He taught me, was when I don’t trust others, then I don’t trust Him.

Love… always… trusts…

 

Read John 2:23-24

Who did Jesus entrust (pisteuo) Himself to? Why?

In light of this verse, what does it mean for us to always trust as an act of love?

Read Genesis 1:26-28

What did God trust us with?

Why, do you think?

Read Matthew 28:18-20

What did Jesus trust His disciples with?

What does He trust us with?

Are you trustworthy with the things of God?

We are called to trust and believe in others the same way we want to be trusted and believed in. In order to love like Jesus, we not only need to be trustworthy, we need to trust.

What stories from Scripture come to mind when you consider love that always protects and always trusts? What do they reveal?

Read Proverbs 3:5

Who does God tell us to trust?

Who are we not to trust?

God wants us to trust Him fully, therefore He trusts us fully to trust in Him and not ourselves.

Ultimately, when we trust others in love, we are placing our trust in the One who is sovereign, wholly trustworthy, and works all things for the good of those who love Him and for His glory. He can be trusted, even if others can’t be.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 ESV

The most amazing thing is, when God loves us, He places His trust in us. He trusts us to love others.

Consider those you have trouble putting faith in. What causes you to be cautious in trusting others? Ask God to help you trust Him first and foremost when it comes to loving others.

Lord, show me how to be a part of covering others with Your loving protection in both word and deed. Grow me to love with trusting belief in You and the ones You call me to love. May I be wholly trustworthy with Your trust.

This week’s spiritual discipline:

Stacy says:

It’s morning and from where I’m sitting I can see the ocean. Something about it draws me. Even as a young girl, I loved the feel of sand under my feet and the roar of ocean winds.

I gaze down the shore and wonder about those who have gathered. We don’t know each other, but here we are all in one relatively small area. I ask, What is it Lord that draws them here… to this place?

Floppy sun hats on toddlers, canopies with kites flying, skim boarders, swimmers, sandcastle builders, wave riders, volleyball, footballs and Frisbees flying.

We take a drive after dinner in the cool breeze of night. He says, Look the moon is rising. I stand tall pushing my head through the roof of the Jeep, hair blowing and hear Him whisper, I created it for you as a place to play.

Playing in this world takes a mountain of trust. Because accidents happen and we’re constantly trying to be as safe as possible. I’m not against safety. I wear sunscreen and stay close to the shore, but if I’m not careful I replace my trust in Him with all the world offers to keep me safe and secure. I spin a thousand “what if”s in my head and attempt to cover all the bases just in case. I forget to trust, forget He covers me… forget to play.

This week’s spiritual discipline may sound crazy to us adults, but please, give it a try. Find a time this week to play. Even if you feel like you’re too mature, or you’ve outgrown childhood games, do something playful.

If you have forgotten how to play, or you find worry crowding your time, watch a child play. Or better yet, invite them to play with you. Play a board game, soccer in the back yard, fly a kite, toss a washer, or ride a bike. The point is to set aside some time to just be and enjoy and let God do the rest. Trust Him to cover you and protect you.

Imagine your Heavenly Father watching over you as you play, like a parent does with their child in the park. See Him smile when you try something new. Hear His words of encouragement when worry or fear enter your thoughts. Watch Him rush to your aid when you skin your knee.

Just maybe, as we learn to trust His love for us as we play, we’ll begin trusting Him when we step out to love others in His name.

Questions for the Summer Soak journal:

Did you give the spiritual discipline a try this week? What did you do? How did you feel?

What kind of trust does it take for us to play? Did worry try to crowd out the fun?

If you didn’t try it, why? What kept you from playing this week?

Consider your biggest trust issue with God. Tell Him about it and ask His Spirit to teach you to trust more and more. Record your prayer in your journal.

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