If you know me, then you know these two verses from Proverbs are my mantra for life. These wisdom-filled verses bring me strength in times of weakness and focus when my brain is scattered into a bunch of different places. I have read that these two verses are probably the most memorized verses in the Bible. That is good news to me, but as I once again reflect on them, I noticed something else that comes from them; 3 commands and a promise.
Of course, the first command is to “trust in the LORD with all your heart.” If anything of eternal value and good is going to happen in our lives, we need to begin trusting God, and half-hearted faith will not cut it. Then the next command is to “lean not on your own understanding.” These two really go together quite nicely, for you can’t trust in the LORD and lean on your own understanding at the same time. Sometimes, you just have to trust God and not yourself.
The third command is to “acknowledge Him in all your ways.” To experience God’s empowerment is to know (“acknowledge”) Him at work in every part of our lives. There is really no difference between the sacred and the secular. He is there, working all the time. When we can see that on a regular basis we will experience His empowerment in a special way.
After following those three commands, we get to experience the promise! In response to all this obedience, God clears out a straight path ahead for us – “He will make your paths straight.” Isn’t that a great promise! God knows where we are, God knows where we need to go, God knows the best way to get there, and God even knows what time we need to arrive!
When you can’t see the end of the tunnel … when there are no answers to the overwhelming crisis you’re in … when you don’t understand anything that’s happening to you … that’s when you really just need to “trust the Lord!”
Leaning on God’s trust and His understanding can be disconcerting when the world tells you differently. But when I do relax in His gentle Spirit and just “trust the Lord”, miraculous and wonderful things DO happen.
I imagine myself protected by His fiery hedge of protection and tower of refuge. He is there – your strength, your security, your shield against a powerful enemy or a terrible situation that threatens you.
I rely on God’s ways, not mine. My solutions, my insights, my ideas may or may not resolve the problem, but God assures me that He has a way. Every day God has a word for me. I find it when I read, memorize, mediate on, and apply the Word of God.
It’s tough in America today not to look, think, and act like the “world.” Why? One reason is that the “world” surrounds us – it invades our home, our TV, our families, our friends. When we put our trust in God, however, we say to God, “Change my thinking – renew my mind – so that I begin to look, think and act according to Your will and I’ll trust You with the results.”
As a pastor, I have leaned on God through all the different aspects of pastoral ministry. As an individual, I have leaned on God through the many hills and valleys of life. May God continue to lead us through our ministry together at Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church!
Trusting in God,