Reverend Frank I. Williams
Are you ready for the Word!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
The promise of this proverb is directly related to the depth at which one can “trust in the Lord.” But what does that really mean? What does trusting in the Lord look like? Is it believing that things are going to work out fine when we are going through a rough time? Well, that certainly helps; however, it’s more than that, and the text gives us a clue. First, we are instructed to trust with “all” our heart. Indicating that we must believe that the Lord has our best interest at heart even when we cannot figure out the details. This is trusting without reservation, apprehension, or fear. When you live in uncertainty, it takes courage to know that God is working things out for your good.
Second, we are instructed to “lean not on your own understanding.” This is a clue to making trust work more effectively. It informs us that our understanding is usually limited in scope and wisdom. The “paths” of life have more complex layers and future implications than we can see in the immediate present. Leaning on our own understanding leaves us open to our blind spots. Therefore, do not lean on your own understanding; instead, consider God’s perspective on the matters of life. This, I believe, is an invitation to prayer and reading of Holy Scripture. The book of Proverbs is a good place to begin when seeking such practical advice or guidance. Our understanding can sometimes be contaminated by strong emotions of anger, guilt, confusion, fear, deep sadness, or elation. Yes, even the ecstasy of happiness can cloud good decision-making. We are prone to make snap decisions because of a moment of happiness. Wise counsel that is gleaned from the pages of Scripture offer a better chance of successfully navigating the choppy waters life; and increases the chance of continuing smooth sailing when the waters are calm and favorable.
Trusting in the Lord also means “acknowledging Him in all your ways.” This is a tall order, isn’t it? Our ways have to do with how we operate by nature. Ways are not merely conduct. Conduct can be controlled in certain environments. Ways are much deeper. They refer to the heart of an individual – what a person is like at their core. Acknowledging God in our ways is in essence allowing His values to become our values. It is the struggle of obedience until it is formed into a habit of the heart. Yet, this struggle is worth it.
Look at the resulting promise, “and He shall direct your paths.” The value of Divine direction is priceless. This promise means that through the course of living our life God is at work, opening doors, closing doors, redirecting us, bringing opportunities and people into our lives, and creating an exit for others. All this will seem to occur as a part of the natural progression of events; yet, there is more to it than that. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
What a partnership. Who better to trust with your future, with your life, than the Creator Himself? God loves us unconditionally, but we must respond to His invitation by faith. The old hymn puts it this way. “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.” Trust in Him today. Think on these things.