I’m all for trusting God. Really I am. I live my life in such a way that I am increasingly dependent on God. But even on my best days, I know that I cannot possibly trust God enough. I can’t understand him enough. I can’t thank him enough. I certainly can’t do anything to give back all that he has given to me. That word “enough” is automatically a comparative one — an arbitrary measure of a quantity that satisfies some type of requirement. “Enough” doesn’t even exist in relationship to God because we never can get there.
I’ve known a lot of people who have struggled with symptoms of mental illness as Christians. Many I know and work with are facing depression, anxiety, trauma symptoms and bipolar disorder just to name a few. And sadly they are often given “Christian-y” answers by well-meaning people who want to make everything better. They are told in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to “trust God more.” Just like “enough,” “more” is an arbitrary comparison to something else. If I have a dollar and you give me “more,” you could give me one penny or one million dollars. How do we know when “more” is “enough”?
If on my best days I’m doing all I can to trust God with my life, then I am spiritually growing and seeking the Lord. On my worst days, I’m still trusting to the degree that I can. If someone is struggling with physical symptoms of a brain disorder, they have a lot they are working to trust God about. And I know that there is no degree to which they can trust God “more” to have their symptoms erased. I believe in miraculous healing for cancer and anxiety and diabetes and broken legs, but I certainly would not encourage people with these disorders to muscle up some more faith like they’ve got it just laying around to spare. I’m going to walk alongside them through their daily struggles and take on their burdens as my own. I’m going to weep with those who weep. I want to lighten their load with any supernatural ability the Holy Spirit gives me, not throw a greater burden on them to make myself feel better.
And this is why “trust God more” is the wrong answer when people are hurting — it abandons them in their own pain. We might as well say, “Okay, run along now. Go fix your physical and spiritual suffering yourself. And if you can’t, I’ll shake my head and be disappointed in your poor choices.” We may not say those words, but we imply them when we tell people to trust God more. Instead of hanging the wounded out to dry, let’s draw them in closer. Instead of “trust God more,” let’s say, “I’ll carry hope for you while you cannot,” or “I’m here for you if you need anything at all. I will pray for you daily in the midst of your pain.” Reach out. Call. Bring a meal. Intercede. Write a note. Care. Against such things there is no law.