Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
This familiar passage from Proverbs 3 begs to be unpacked and set up in our daily life. It’s easy to flippantly quote it but much harder to intentionally apply it.
For instance, take that tiny word all. I think we would quickly affirm that God knows best. I mean, after all, He is God. But do we trust Him with every beat of our heart? What about that move you have to make? That lost relationship? The illness wracking your body? The political chaos in our world? Do we trust He knows best when He allows the painful things to happen? The bad things? The sad things?
And what does it look like to acknowledge the Lord in all of our ways? I think it happens when we seek His word before making major decisions based on what makes sense to us. I think it can be seen when we do what’s hard because we know it is right. I think it is submitting to those in authority over us even when it doesn’t make sense.
Finally, he will make your paths straight. This doesn’t mean the path will be smooth sailing; it does mean that our path will lead us into a deeper understanding of who God is. After reading the life accounts of the heroes in the faith who have gone before us, I see that obedience to God doesn’t mean that God is going to keep trouble far from us; rather, He confirms His will by bringing us through the trouble. When God calls us out of comfortable it is for the purpose of encountering Him in new ways and in new places.
Sometimes I give my children instructions that they resist: they don’t understand why I’m giving the instruction or it interferes with their plans. I want them to trust me implicitly and obey immediately. Why? Because I have a plan for them. I know what will grow their character, sharpen their minds and bring them joy. If they would hear my word and obey, their lives would be so much richer and fulfilling. And so it is with God. He knows what will grow us, build us and give us the deepest joy. We simply need to trust…and obey.