For a long time I was dissatisfied with the Northern Embera expression used for “trust”,the kind of abiding trust by which people hang onto God’s promises. In other drafts it had been translated the same way as “believe”and “faith,”but in the passage Bienvenido and I were working on,this would not be adequate.
In John 14:1 in most versions in English,Jesus says to his disciples,“Let not your hearts be troubled. (You) believe in God;believe also in me.”He is saying this just hours before he will be betrayed and arrested.
The exegetical helps,materials available to translators so we can determine what a given passage means,indicate that Jesus is exhorting the disciples to trust in him as much as they trust in God,even in this time of wondering. That’s all well and good,but what if your expression for “trust”is inadequate?
Looking further in the exegetical helps,I saw one suggestion for translation:know/believe that God is doing the right thing. I come up with an impromptu rendering of this in N. Embera and talked about it with Bienvenido and he said,“OK,then,can we say ‘know that God is doing correctly?’”At first I guessed that he said “correctly”because I happened to say “correcto”in Spanish. So I asked,“How does God do correctly?”And he said,“It’s like the Holy Spirit–if we need a little help,he gives it to us,and if we need a lot of help he gives that,too.”So if we used that term in this context it would mean that God is doing the right thing in that particular situation. This seemed good to both of us. So our rendering is:
“Don’t be not knowing what to think because of sadness. Like you believe that God does correctly,believe that I am doing correctly.”