We are only midway through the first season – watched episodes 12 and 13 last night. Somewhere a few episodes ago – probably around episode 9 – Reddington said, “Most of all, I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy.” That line got my attention.
The series is called “The Black List”. I am not even sure if that is a term that should be used – there must be a legitimate substitute. What I am sure of is, the more episodes I watch, the more my mistrust grows. At this point – midway through season one – every single main character – most of whom are FBI employees – is a suspect – and I don’t even know what the crime is!
But that line from the main male protagonist (Reddington) grabbed my attention! He is bad to the bone, yet mysteriously likable. The lead female and her husband seemed, at the beginning, to be fine outstanding people – she an FBI agent and he a teacher. Now, with each new episode, new concerns and questions about their character arise. Amidst the doubts I still want to trust them, convinced that Reddington is selfishly behind it all – but it’s difficult when the doubts keep building.
A primary definition of trust according to Merriam-Webster is “one in which confidence is placed. … dependence on something future.” The world tends to say that trust is earned, but I have always taught that trust, in its pure sense, is a gift – it is something that is given freely by the giver, and never taken away. It is only because of, and through, sin that trust becomes contaminated.
The Book of Acts begins with Jesus saying to his disciples, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Then, “When he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1.8-9) That, my friends, is trust! To the very group who had, just two verses earlier, asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1.6), Jesus was entrusting the Gospel and the responsibility of sharing it with the entire world!
Had they earned it? Not a chance. Did they deserve it? No way. Did Jesus trust them? Yes – it was his gift to them … and to us … even though our character is much closer to that of Reddington than that of Jesus! Jesus – and the Gospel he freely gives to us – is all about us, trustworthy though we are NOT, being trusted 100% by Jesus! And, even though we repeatedly fail that trust, he continues to trust us to the end!
It is in response to trust like this that the Holy Spirit (another gift from Jesus to us) gives us the ability to “trust in the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding.” And why we are told to “In all our ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight our paths.” (Proverbs 3.5-6). God is trustworthy – all the time – even when we are filled with doubts and fears. Because we are filled with these contaminants, the Spirit instructs, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil (like not listening to or trusting Jesus). It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” (Proverbs 3.7-8)
Now, if only Reddington would hear these words, receive the Holy Spirit, and learn what pure trust is all about … he would receive the one thing he wants more than anything else! “I love you. I forgive you. You are mine.” These are the words Jesus says to you and me each day. And then he goes on to say, “I trust you … completely and forever.” As we then, in response softly sing, “I am trusting thee Lord Jesus, trusting only thee,” we sleep like we slept when we were children.