Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:3-5
Confusion and chaos surround us. On the world stage, there are violent protests, brutal regimes, and the ever-present threat of nuclear war. On the national front, there are bitter disputes over healthcare, abortion, and the economy. At the local level, families struggle with rising gas prices, job security, and rearing children in a violent, dangerous, and pornographic culture. I have never been so uncertain about just about everything as I am at this time, and uncertainty breeds fear and stress. I simply do not know how to sort through all the issues that surround us. I do not know what to do.
And so it is that the words of this famous Proverb come to mind; along with the following points/thoughts.
- Someone we can trust.
I believe that we make more out of our new year than God does, even though He is the God of new beginnings. With each new year, we kick off the festivities with a party and then turn to sharing advice with one another, stating that we’ll do things better in the year to come. Perhaps it would be wise if we would succumb to the following:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart…
Trust does not come easy for many of us. Society teaches that we should trust no one other than ourselves…case in point: depending on what part of the city you live in, you probably don’t even muster up a good morning to the well-mannered man or woman who greets you every morning on your way to work, just because…well, you never know. Or the husband or wife who’s broken your trust more than once…We’ve been hurt enough times that trusting another person is difficult.
Still…what if there was Someone who has a proven record of faithfulness? What if there were Someone who had the ability to handle absolutely anything and follow through with our best in mind? What if there was Someone who had the ability to see us as we are; knowing our very heart and loving us in spite of ourselves? What if there was Someone who had all knowledge and understanding? What if there was Someone we knew who would be completely honest with us; always encouraging us to be what we should be; Someone who had the ability to make us better than we are?
God calls us to Himself. He has and continues to seek us out. Immanuel has come to us and has provided for our every need. He remains faithful to all – scripture is filled with examples of His faithfulness. We can look to Him for all things. To trust others without first and foremost trusting God is futile and hopeless. In Him alone is our trust secure. Trust in the Lord with all your heart…
- Not Relying on Ourselves
Have you ever watched someone lean on an object or structure that you could easily see as unstable, only to watch that person fall? Or even have that happen to you? A self-proclaimed clutz, I’ve had that happen more than I care to count and I’m often wondering why I put my trust in something so futile to being with…crazy, huh?
Perhaps we should ask why we base our lives upon something as insecure as our own understanding. Perhaps…
Lean not on your own understanding…
Somewhere in our “enlightenment,” we humans have concluded that we can accomplish anything by understanding; through intellect and reason. We believe that if we give ourselves enough time and knowledge, we can explain anything, correct all of society’s ills or heal any disease (among other things). We also tend to think that if we’re able to understand, then we will be able to deal with it. That’s a messed up way of thinking…especially since our understanding is finite. We simply cannot understand everything. Only God can.
Another factor: Sin does not make sense.
Who would delight in killing another? Why do some take pleasure in revenge? Why do we do things, knowing the risk? Will understanding the whys make it easier to heal the memory or even forgive? We tend to think so. But in reality, it doesn’t.
God directs us not to lean on our own understanding. We don’t need it…we need biblical truth and wisdom, which are not always reasonable according the way we think. God’s ways are not our ways…His thoughts are not our thoughts. We’d best remember that.
This is not a call to simply throw human reason to the wind. Quite the contrary. Reason is a God-given gift. Christianity is about thinking…seeking out truth…based on biblical wisdom and God-given discernment. Let human reason do all it can, but, at the same time, acknowledge it incapable of giving faith, hope or love. Expect this from Someone much higher than us.
- Acknowledging God
In all your ways, acknowledge Him…
What does that look like?
Acknowledge means to “admit to be true; recognize the authority or claims of; to admit or affirm as genuine.” Most would “acknowledge” God as true and genuine…but note…authority? Not very often. Many accept His existence, but not His true authority.
According to the Hebrew term (and my lack of deep research), the term means to “recognize our wills are subject to His; trusting God; possessing a trusting attitude; quiet confidence; understanding His authority over our life.”
Do we acknowledge God?
I know I don’t the majority of the time. I fall short. We need to be answering those questions by our deeds and words every single day. Start now.
- God Directs Our Path
No matter the direction, the promise remains the same: God will be in charge of directing us. However, there is a condition to this promise.
We must first acknowledge Him…in all that we do. Sinners do not want God’s direction. Self-rule is their desire. Without acknowledging God in all our ways, we are left to our own sense of direction which is ruled by our lusts and desires and, thus, leads toward destruction. God’s will and direction are only interest to us when they suit our needs, improve our life according to our standards, or we don’t know what to decide. Without total trust and surrender to His Sovereignty, we are not able to be fully directed by Him.
Secondly, only when we are truly in tune with God are we fully able to recognize His guidance. Finding His will is more of being in tune, be readily receptive, than discovery. God promises that He will direct our paths. We can trust Him. When we are struggling to know God’s will the problem is on the receiver’s end, not the sender! Are there times when God is silent? Yes. But in these times we remain faithful to what we know and continue to trust with all our hearts. His silence is never forever and is purposeful. Our trusting with all our hearts and refusal to lean on our own understanding keeps our lives tuned into God’s frequency. Only then is He able to direct us.
I do not need to know how to deal with all that threatens those around me. The only thing about which I must be certain is the Lord my God. What deep comfort these words offer! Trust the Lord with all your heart, ever single fiber of your being. Trust Him with your worries and fears, your struggles and challenges. Stop trying to figure it all out yourself. Acknowledge His sovereignty in your job, your marriage, your family, your finances, your political concerns, your dreams for the future. The God Who is Truth has promised that He will direct your paths.