My prayer is that I can encourage us even though we do not know what tomorrow will bring. It is hard to have faith - God knows!
He says, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 Never say never!
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 paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
These are the very first
verses that made sense to me and brought me comfort 15ish years ago when Jeff took me to church with him. I ripped it out of the bulletin in the old sanctuary at CFC that day and took it back to college with me, pinning it on my bulletin board. This passage was tucked into Pastor Kevin's message yesterday at church and was the 'one thing' I needed to hear - making sense and bringing me comfort again. I need to dwell here this week.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. To trust means to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of something/someone. What do I truly trust in with all my heart - without abandon - childlike - completely - with my full being/passion/everything I am? That's a pretty big claim - "with all my heart." Not just most of my heart - but all of it. Do I believe in the reliability, truth, ability and strength of the Lord with all my heart? Do I believe wholeheartedly He is who He says He is?
Lean not on your own understanding. The understanding I have right now is definitely not firm enough to be leaned on - it would be like leaning on something that you quickly realize is on wheels, falling awkwardly (then looking around to see if anyone saw that!) But, if I leaned on God - He is a rock and a firm foundation, not to be shaken or moved. Psalm 18:2 says, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in
whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my
stronghold." I like to plan and I like to control. I take what I know (or think I do) and I try to find a solution - the best solution. One problem is my own understanding is not complete! I know only fraction of what is going on and why. Yet I obsess over what I do know or imagine I know or think I know and work myself into a tizzy trying to manipulate the universe into lining up perfectly so that each part of the puzzle falls just right and THEN and only then I will be content and happy and all will be well in my world. Whew! Just reading that sentence exhausts me...no wonder every few weeks or so I hit a wall and cry out to God saying "I can't do this anymore, please help us!" That's a lot of energy spent spinning my wheels on things that I won't succeed at. Why am I looking at things and saying "I know what needs to happen here?" We've been taught to be problem-solvers, leaders, and planners. But, my understanding is not His understanding. They are not equal, not the same. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
In all your ways submit to Him. All my ways would include everything I do, hence 'all.' My ways = my physical actions, my thoughts, my speech, my interactions with others, my desires and wants... To submit means to accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person - or in our case, God. Do I, in all my ways, accept, bow down, and step aside to allow God to be in control - in the driver's seat?
And He will make your paths straight. The first three points have been the IF and now this is the THEN. IF I do this, this, and this, THEN He will do this. It is a promise - it doesn't say He might, it says He will. I picture 'making my paths straight' as a clear understanding of what to do, where to go, and where He wants me. No confusion and lots of clarity. (Sunny clear skies and a working GPS.) Straight roads are easier to drive than curvy ones (I know from experience since we have a lot of mountain curves on our trip to Indiana.) They also get you where you are going faster than roads with lots of bends do. When we do not trust in Him but trust instead in what we think we understand and we do not let Him be in control, I imagine our paths are foggy, curvy, hard to navigate, dark, stormy, with lots of detours, pit stops, standstills, and accidents. (And isn't it annoying when you are on a long trip and you come to one of these?) It does not, however, mean that our drive will be perfect. We may have some of these hardships along the way, but with our trust in Him and not in ourselves with Him in the driver's seat then we are not thrown off course, but prepared, ready, and able to handle what comes into our path. We throw our hands up and say, "I don't understand, and that is okay. I trust you with every ounce of my soul. Your plan is perfect and You will work everything out for my good. I yield to Your plan in my actions, thoughts, interactions, and wants. I know that You will bring me clarity as to what to do, where to go, and where you want me! Now allow me to enjoy the beauty of the drive since You've got it under control!"