Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Trust in the Lord

One of the most well known verses in the Old Testament can be found in Proverbs 3:5-6. You can break this verse down into four statements. The first three statements fall on our shoulders of responsibility.

First, we are to trust in the Lord with all of our heart. The word “trust” speaks of being totally dependent on God as a newborn baby is completely dependent on its mother.

Second, we are not to lean on our own understanding. This is so hard. We want to know why bad things happen and we want to understand from a human perspective every detail behind our circumstances. The truth is we will never understand all of it until we get to heaven.

Third, we are to acknowledge Him in all of His Ways. In others words, we are to recognize Him. Recognize what about Him? We are to recognize His presence in the loneliest times of our lives. We are to recognize His power in the darkest times of our lives. And we are to recognize His purpose in the most painful times of our lives.

The fourth statement is God’s responsibility. He will make our paths straight. He will remove the obstacles and fulfill His will in and through us. We get even more messed up when we try to do what God has promised to do. But understand that His directing our paths is dependent on our trusting Him with all of our heart; not leaning on our own human understanding; and our acknowledging His presence, power and purpose in our lives.

I shared this passage just yesterday with a couple in our church who is going through a very trying time. Though young in age, the wife has been recently diagnosed with leukemia. They have told their young children and now they walk together a very uncertain and anxious path. Proverbs 3:5-6 are now verses that they will come to understand better than I do.

I remember when my Grandpa Distler (pictured) who pastored for over 40 years was on his death bed in Salinas, CA. I flew out to spend a final few days with him. In one of our final conversations my Grandpa took my hand and led it over the numerous tumors on his body. He wanted me to have some sense of what he was dealing with. I asked him if these large lumps were painful. He readily admitted the severity of the suffering he was enduring. He then said these words to me. I will never forget them. He said…

“Scott, for over 40 years I have preached Proverbs 3:5-6…‘Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.’ But for the first time in my life I really understand what those verses mean!”

Most of us who have grown up in the church learned those verses when we were quite young. But I wonder if we will ever be able to really understand their meaning until we are staring serious, painful and perhaps terminal suffering right smack dab in the face.

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