I am feeling most challenged on this topic of trust lately. I am at a bit of a crossroads in my life and so it is easy to become overwhelmed with the countless possibilities and events that will take place in the course of the day let alone the next few months. As I sat in church this past Sunday listening to a sermon on Proverbs 3:5-6, I couldn’t help but want to apply this scripture to my life: “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 straight your paths.” As our Pastor took this verse and explained key aspects to the act of trusting God, he shared several stories from his life as well as within his family of moments that trust was demonstrated either between one another or between himself and God. I began to think about my life and moments of trust. As a little baby, I experienced a time-period between the ages of 8 months to 2 years that I had several seizure episodes with the possibility of having a chronic condition. My mom retells this story every year on my birthday to remind herself and myself of God’s faithfulness in my life. She remembers standing over my crib every night watching me, afraid that I would have another episode. She often would call my grandmother (her mother), Erma, so fearful and my Grandma Erma would simply say, “Dorothy, I have prayed about it, and I really feel that she is going to be ok—I just have a sense of peace about this all.” Mom would reply, “I just don’t have that ability right now, my faith is so weak with fear.” And Grandma Erma said, “Well then, just rely on God through my prayers!” My Grandmother Erma had such faith and trust in God in those moments that she was able to act as a pillar, a tangible mediator on behalf of God---not desiring to be relied on because of her own strength, but because of her own faith and trust in a faithful God.
Lo and behold, I quit having seizures and when my brain was fully developed, I was told I wouldn't experience them anymore! Praise God! A miracle! The bittersweet part of this moment of trust in my life is that my sweet Grandma Erma passed away not too long after I was healed. I don’t remember interacting with her, but I cannot help but feel that the prayers she invested in me as a child have impacted me well beyond that trial. It is so good for us to recall these moments of trust in the past to remember that God is faithful! He is on our side! He will never leave us nor forsake us. He does not desire to give us a snake when we ask for a piece of bread.
Additionally, in the act of trusting God with either our very life or a situation within our life, we are to let go of leaning on our own understanding. This is the very center of my thorn in my side: I stubbornly rely on my own abilities, intellect and resources. Even if you recognize those gifts are from God, you still cannot rely on them! God desires for us to surrender our own understanding. In the sermon, our Pastor shared these other verses in regards to the aspect of leaning not on your own understanding:
Proverbs 11:28 “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish like a green leaf.”
Proverbs 28:26 “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”
It is so easy to fall into the habit of relying on your own understanding. I will often try and anticipate what God is doing in certain situations in my life and say to myself, “Oh! I bet this is what God is doing, or perhaps this is what God is teaching me.” When in reality, this mentality is wrong! It is not wrong to attempt to discern God’s leading, but it is wrong to always try and figure things out on your own: “I got this God, I know what I need to do.” Watch out! This habit of relying on yourself is deeply rooted in our sinful nature dating back to the Garden. What did Adam and Eve eat from? The tree of Knowledge in Good and Evil. Think about that, Eve wanted to know for herself instead of simply walking with God and her husband. So often, we too “just want to know.” We pray, “God, I just want to know what is going on here! Why is my life like this? Why is it so difficult or Why can’t I just be free from this!” When in reality, God doesn’t want you to have to carry the burden that He does: it is not a burden to Him because He is God of the universe: we are merely human. The heartbeat of our God is to be loved and trusted by his children: for us to rely on Him and desire for Him. Like a father desires for his child to trust him in certain moments here on earth, so much greater does our Father desire for us to simply walk with Him in these moments of life: both in times of trial and success.
What about you? Take a moment right now, and recall just one moment of trust in your past. If you are having difficulty recalling a time, read the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis to get your mind reflecting on another’s moment of trust. You’ve experienced a moment, trust me! (Ha! No pun intended) When you recall that moment, praise God for it—even if it was years ago, praise Him for it right now. Thank Him for the countless times he has been faithful to you and your needs and then surrender whatever your facing right now as well as your understanding of it. Wait. Wait for the Lord either to respond with His overwhelming peace or deliverance in some form or fashion. Whatever the outcome, know that it is best because God’s way is always best. Our minds are so finite and can barely make-out things two feet in front of us; God sees eternity behind and before Him. Take a moment and simply trust!