Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.–Proverbs 3:5-6
This has to be one of the most familiar passages in the Bible. Countless little ones can recite it as a Sunday school memory verse. Simple little verses, but packed with layers of depth and meaning:
Trust God with all of your heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Submit–surrender–to him. He will straighten and direct your path.
Simple,right? Yet like so many things in life–particularly things of the Spirit–it is often easier to say the words than it is to live them out.
But sometimes things aren’t quite as hard to live out as we might imagine.
Lately I’ve been feeling like I have been leaning on my own understanding … a lot. Many things haven’t gone quite the way I had pictured them. Each time I’ve been confronted with the fact that I had, once again, drawn a wrong conclusion, I’d sort of cluck my tongue and say, “Yep, leaning on my own understanding–again.”
Recently I was spending time with the Lord and bemoaning my many failures in this area. I was apologizing for getting it wrong way too often. I really wasn’t expecting him to respond, but he did. And, as usual, what he had to say was not what I expected …
I really don’t mind that you draw your own conclusions, and it isn’t a problem for me if you think you know what I’m doing and later find out you were wrong. What matters to me is where you’re leaning. Where are you putting your weight? What are you resting on?
This is what it comes down to … When I reveal something to be different than what you previously thought or hoped, do you struggle to surrender your own understanding to mine?
I started to tear up and said, “Well, it hurts sometimes … especially when I thought things were going to turn out differently …”
It does hurt sometimes. It’s hurt in the past and it will hurt again in the future, but that’s not what I asked. Do you struggle to hold onto your understanding above mine?
I started really crying this time. But for a different reason. This time I was crying …
Because I got it.
I don’t struggle to hold onto my understanding above his. I like his better. I want his with every fiber of my being. Yeah, sometimes I fill in the blanks ahead of his revelation. Sometimes I draw conclusions that are faulty. Sometimes I hope and wish for things to come to pass before his timing.
But that’s not what’s most important. What’s most important is where I’m leaning …
And I’m leaning on him.
He went on to remind me that he knows my frame. He knows my weakness and he knows the frailty of my humanity. He knows me–period. He knows where I fill in the blanks. He knows where I’ll draw conclusions in my quest for understanding. But he also knows that when he reveals truth, my heart embraces the truth–even when the truth is hard. That’s because he is the Truth …
And my heart always desires more of him.
The reality is that I don’t always trust him with all of my heart. I want to. I’m learning to–more and more. I sincerely desire to trust him always. But I don’t. Not yet.
And I do sometimes draw my own conclusions and create my own understanding. I try to figure things out. I jump ahead and sometimes put pieces where they don’t belong. But that’s not where I’m resting. It’s not where I’m putting my weight. I guess I’m not leaning on my own understanding after all …
I’m leaning on him.
And he will make my path straight.
How about you? Where are you leaning?
Jesus, thank you for being the unshakable Truth that our hearts can always lean on. Oh for grace to trust you more!