Trust 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 smooth [straight].
(Proverbs 3:5-6 GW)
(Context—Proverbs 3:1-6 GW)
As a young believer, I had to learn how to trust God. It wasn't natural for me. It isn't natural for any of us. Just as toddlers exert their free will before they can say it clearly, we like to "do it by our self!" American culture only reinforces this innate self-willed resistance to trusting God.
We had a wing-backed, turquoise chair I called my "worry chair." It was vintage modern furniture from the sixties. My dearest grandmother gave it to us when my wife and I set up our new home and life together.
It was the first piece of furniture I'd see when I walked through the front door. I would sit down and worry about things, sometimes for hours. I got up from the worry chair more burdened than when I sat down—focused on whatever problems I faced at the time.
On the wall facing the chair was a calligraphy of Proverbs 3:5-6. It became God's way to remind me what to do about worry. Slowly but surely, God taught me how to leave my worries with Him rather than wrestle with them in that chair.
Over the years these two verses became my bedrock and guideline for walking by faith. I learned to trust God with childlike faith that sustained me and our family through decades of full-time ministry in the US and overseas.
The first verse says what to do and not do. First, trust in the Lord with your whole heart. This isn't easy in our distraction-filled lives and risk-aversive culture but it's essential. The second is don't try to figure it all out. This requires trust—childlike trust.
This is the very thing Jesus spoke and taught people including His closest followers (Matt 6:25-34). It's a lesson in faith that requires commitment. The Lord has a way of helping us do this with reinforcing reminders also called trials, testings, and temptations.
The next verse helps us see how to trust God and what to expect. This lines up with my favorite description of faith in Hebrews 11:6. Acknowledging God in all our ways simply means to bring Him into our life choices before we try to figure it all out.
God promises to direct us along the way of life, as we walk hand-in-hand with Him like a young child with their father crossing a street or in a crowded area. He won't let go of us, even when we wriggle our hand out of His to go our own way.
God is faithful and trustworthy even when we aren't.
God is trustworthy. We can choose to trust Him in daily life or go it alone in our own strength. Trust is active faith. It requires acknowledging God for who He is and our need for Him. When we become His child, we learn this step by step.
Learn to bring your concerns and worries to Jesus on a daily basis. Commit your dreams and plans to Him before launching out to make them happen. Daily read the reminders of God's faithfulness in His Word to help direct your prayer and to remember throughout the day as you trust in Him.
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