A little over three years ago, our Ethiopian son came home to our family, our culture, and our home. Part of that package that he did not sign up for was our two dogs, a lab and a border collie. This poor kid did not understand a word we were saying, much less the whole concept of dogs as friendly pets. To him, they were wild animals like hyenas.

When I say terrified I am in no way exaggerating. Memories of him screaming as he climbed up Hot Pastor are vivid reminders of his intense fear. At that time, we had no way of knowing the reasons behind his many fears, but we knew they were real. We held him and carried him, we kept the dogs away as much as possible.

Slowly, we introduced the dogs to him. He watched as they licked the other kids faces, as they played fetch with us, as we fed them and cared for them. The terror slowly changed to dislike.

As we sat by the window this morning, watching the snow with our border collie who has since become an inside dog, our son snuggled with his dad and Cookie. He said casually, “I love Cookie.”

Hot Pastor and I caught each other’s glance, sharing a thought without words. Trust.

When did terror become trust?

After three years of living with Cookie, seeing her for the gentle dog that she is, trust was built. She proved over and over through her gentleness to our sweet son that she would not hurt him.

Trust is like that. As we know someone, as we experience their love, we allow trust to grow. For those of us with painful pasts, like our adopted son, the terror is real. It is real, but it can change into trust over time.

Many of us are terrified of God perhaps because of past hurt, but also because they do not know him yet. As we see His goodness, his gentleness in our life, our trust can grow. Maybe we trust him with some things, but not all.

If you are having a hard time trusting him with something, stop. Be still. Prayerfully make a list of all the times that God has proven his goodness. How has he provided, protected, and loved you? How have you seen him love you and those around you? How have you seen him powerfully work in the lives of others?

Honestly bring this question to him. Do I trust you? Then listen. Listen to his voice of truth.

This morning was a beautiful picture for us of God delivering our son from fear. He still has a long way to go, but he is learning to trust.

Are you?

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8