From Fear to Hope: From Uncertainty to Trust

light shines through
Photo of original artwork by Rachael Keefe ©2024 depicting an oil on canvas painting of ocean waves at night, with light coming from a lighthouse.

How much do we really believe that God's love is unwavering and truly endures forever?


Trust can be stronger than we realize and quite easily broken. It’s one of those things that is hard to describe, yet we know when we don’t have it. And when it comes to trusting in God, that can be particularly challenging.

Honestly, it’s been a challenge for human beings forever. It’s what troubled the ancient Israelites so often. They repeatedly forgot God’s ways and put their trust in human ways. That never ends well. This was what Amos was preaching about. You’d think we’d do better after a few thousand years of practice, wouldn’t you?

Well, no, not really. It is so much easier to put our trust in tangible things. It’s easier to believe that our elected officials will keep us safe than it is to believe that faith provides any kind of security. Just as it is easier to believe that we need to prove our value with financial success than it is to believe that we are beloved no matter if we can work or not.

We’ve all had our trust broken and we’ve broken trust with others. It’s painful, and sometimes scary to risk trusting again. As a young pastor I once said that one of the best things about being a pastor was that everyone trusted me and I didn’t have to trust anyone. Fortunately, I no longer feel this way as I have learned to trust myself, and trust of others followed along.

In addition, I’ve come to rely on the fact that God’s love is truly unwavering. God loves us no matter what we do or don’t do. When we feel as if God is absent or God has let us down in some way, it’s more likely that we have moved far from where God would like us to be. Or, well, our understanding of who God is and how God works in the world is too small for whatever we are experiencing.

I hope we all take some time this week to reflect on trust – who we trust and why. What fear(s) keeps you from trusting others, from trusting yourself, from trusting God? Invite God into the fear-filled places. Maybe as we approach Easter, uncertainty will give way to trust, even just a little bit.

Trust can be a hard thing for many of us. If you are struggling to trust yourself, others, and/or God, know that you are not alone. It’s okay to be vulnerable. You are part of a community of love and grace that can hold trust for you as you heal and grow.

The season of new life is near. May we be strengthened and encouraged to embrace the fullness of life and trust in more to come.


About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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4 thoughts on “From Fear to Hope: From Uncertainty to Trust”

  1. Provocative–in good ways! Thanks, Rachael.

    As one who doesn’t posit “God” as an entity with human characteristics, I always have to scramble a bit to translate concepts like “God loves us.” Who/what is this lover God if I don’t project onto it human instincts or nature? If I no longer come from an anthropomorphic God concept? For me, and as one who experiences God as “generative, creative energy–the prime Source which powers the Cosmos”–well, that’s hard to cozy up with at night when I’m jolted from sleep by some anxiety. Generative Energy doesn’t exactly cut it when I need my hand held…

    …and yet: way back in 1977 when I was but a few months sober, one night I experienced a sense of a remarkable Light, and a feeling of profound “Presence”–and though I didn’t actually hear a voice, what I suddenly felt, deep in my bones and being, was that this was Love, and that I was being imbued with it. And my head was suddenly filled with the knowledge that “All is well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Interesting–since I had not yet become aware of Julian of Norwich.

    Only years later did I connect that I’d had a mystical experience. And only years later that in that experience of “Love” I was freed from my addiction.

    Do I trust that experience, and that Love? Yes! 100%. It was not simply a fabrication made up out of my longing. And as great people have the Bible, and of faith, have asked for years: “What were the fruits of that experience?” Did it lead me on a path of greater compassion for others and my Self? To it make me kinder, less self-centered, more justice oriented?

    If I look at the evidence, based on the directions my life has taken me since then, I’d say the answer is yes. I can trust it.

    • Thank you , Doug, for this musing that makes the subject much easier for me, personally, to relate to.
      (I’m so glad it’s now OK to end a sentence with a preposition!)

  2. Doug,
    Thank you for your reminder. While I use anthropomorphic terms to talk about God, I don’t think about a God who has human attributes. In fact I try to think about as humans seek to have/grow/acquire/heal-into holy attributes.

    Also, thank you for sharing this part of your story in such a relatable way.


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