Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
Maybe you’re like me and you like to figure things out. You strive to understand why something is happening, to comprehend why someone is treating you a certain way, or attempt to sort out what God is doing.
I think: if only I could make sense of the evil I see, if only I could apply some overarching truth to the madness in this world, if only I could find some sort of pattern, or future hope that reassures me this circumstance will change, people will improve, or God will let me in on the divine conversation in heaven, then I could relax.
Which sounds fairly reasonable…but is it?
Because if I think about it enough, I realize those “if onlys” are a by-product of fear.
Let me explain.
When I am afraid, I’m not faith-full and clutch harder to control events, people, even God.
This fear-laden control is detrimental to relationships. It steals joy, squashes trust, and hinders hope.
If I understood everything in the midst of a crisis, if God downloaded the step-by-step plan, there would be no need to trust, to have faith, and to hope in things unseen.
One thing I have noticed a pattern of is God asking me to trust Him. And it seems the longer I live, this invitation to trust repeatedly shows up, in a variety of ways and through various hardships. I’ve been invited to trust Him with my marriage, my kids, my friends, my health, and my future. Of course, I’m meant to trust Him with everything, but He uses circumstances to make it clearer when I’m not. I’m to trust that He is working all things together for good and that – though it might not bear even a small amount of resemblance to how I imagined or even prayed it would look – it will be beautiful, it will be better, actually…the best.
God repeatedly reminds us not to be afraid. I assume it is mentioned over and over because He knows we are so prone to it, and because He knows how limitless the opportunities are in this world to be fearful.
The verse above was highlighted to me to other day and is packed with all I really need to be fearless: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding (don’t try to figure it all out). In all your ways acknowledge Him (abdicate control), and He will make your paths straight (steer my life in the direction He knows is best).
And this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
…the peace of God will guard my heart and my mind. Who couldn’t use a healthy dose of that?
It’s not as though God is asking us not to think. Of course we do! But preferably we do so “not leaning on our own understanding”, which is prone to be life-squashing and fear-filled, and instead by learning to apply Godly wisdom that partners with Him to make life-giving decisions.
Will we always get it right? No! But as in anything, we are growing in fearless Christ-likeness. And that’s a worthy goal.
May we grow in greater trust and more often experience the peace of God.