Brennan Manning sums up his book pretty well in the last few pages when he says:
“Ruthless trust is an unerring sense, way deep down, that beneath the surface agitation, boredom, and insecurity of life; it’s going to be all right. Ill winds may blow, more character defects may surface, sickness may visit, and friends will surely die; but a stubborn, irrefutable certainty persists that God is with us and loves us in our struggle to be faithful. A nonrational, absolutely true intuition perdures that there is something unfathomably big in the universe (kabod), something that points to Someone who is filled with peace and power, love and undreamed of creativity – Someone who inevitably will reconcile all things in himself.
…Why does our trust offer such immense pleasure to God? Because trust is the pre-eminent expression of love. Thus, it may mean more to Jesus when we say, “I trust you,” than when we say, “I love you.”
…”Lord Jesus, I trust you; help my lack of trust.” (p.180,181)
And my response to this book? Well, it was timely; reading it at a time when I find myself questioning what God is doing in me and my family; finding trust difficult since nothing seems to work out the way I think it should. Asking “So does God really love me when bad stuff happens?” Intellectually and experientially I know what the answer is and hang onto that knowledge when there are no positive feelings.
Trust, ruthless trust? That is hard. That means trusting when the future is unknown and when looking back I am confronted by numerous mistakes; when all my efforts at parenting seem to backfire; when my mouth shoots off on me and I hurt people I should be loving. My kids have their problems but it is the stupid things I do that really are hard to live with. Trusting that God actually loves me, and is working out his will in me requires a trust that I struggle with.
I find myself saying to God, “I don’t know exactly what you are doing with me, but go ahead and do whatever it is. Just please make it good because this stuff hurts and I have to trust you that all this is not for nothing.”
Like Manning’s last words, mine are also “Lord Jesus, I trust you; help my lack of trust.”