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. Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV)
One of the hardest things for me is trying to understand things and life. My wife would agree that I do not understand most of what she says. Really, she’d argue that it’s more a listening problem than a comprehension issue. But I do struggle with understanding and trusting God sometimes. It doesn’t come natural. So many times, I’d rather be able to completely understand a situation and fully define it. I like to have problems solved. I feel more comfortable that way.
That’s a human characteristic and part of our nature that dates way back. It is great to study and learn and try to figure out why and how things work. That’s what we do in science and all its fields. But there are some things we’ll never figure out. The psalmist must have known that when he wrote these words. Now, thousands of years later, they still have meaning.
When we lean on our own limited understanding, doubt starts to creep in. We can’t figure out the why’s and how’s and it causes us to struggle. Sometimes we worry and fret so much about figuring things out that we lose sight of where we are and where we’re going – we can’t find the way, it seems.
Following God means trusting Him. Trusting that He is in control. Trusting that He knows what we feel and what we think. Trusting that He is so much bigger than ourselves.
One of the most difficult times in my life happened a few years ago when I left work as a missionary to return to the United States. This verse became very encouraging to me as I began to really trust God and not figure things out myself. One particular night, after giving an email notification of my intentions, I was praying that God would just affirm our family’s decision. I didn’t know it then, but during the same time, I received an email from someone that I hadn’t seen or talked to in about eight years. Ultimately, it led to where I live now and what I do now as I walked in the steps that God put before me, one after the other. It has been an exciting and fulfilling time.
For me, it came down to trusting God, acknowledging Him and believing He would direct my path. That’s exactly what He did and the way things have worked out for me have been better than I had imagined. It’s hard to trust, but as we do and as we see God work in our lives, it becomes easier and easier to follow Him.