Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
-Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
It is often really easy to pay lip service in declaring that I trust the Lord… and with all my heart. These two verses are so often quoted that it almost becomes a cliche within the church community. What does it mean not to lean on my own understanding? My understanding is formed by what I had experience and am now experiencing through my myopic worldview. In using the word “experience”, I have also included the process of mental learning with or without practical application which is part of experience though not complete. I believe the formation of my understanding is a natural process similar to most, if not all, of humankind. This means that both the joys and the hurts in my life play a key role in determining my current understanding, which is almost similar to the process of Pavlovian conditioning. Thus the command of “do not lean” is not a natural instinctive response.
God never takes away something without giving us another to replace the void it leaves. This replacement for our “understanding” is “trust in the Lord”. The question then is, “do I trust the Lord with ALL my heart” so much so that my understanding is completely out of the picture?” This is especially hard when decisions are between good and God. “Good” is what my understanding has assessed as “good” for me. Yet God’s will for me might not include this “good” that is according to my own understanding. God’s will is not “bad” even though it is not according to my understanding. Then is this “good” truly “good” if it is not God’s perfect will for me? The answer is clear. This “good” is not the best since God’s perfect will is better than “good”. Why settle for good when the best is available? Yet human eyes find it hard to see the best in the unknown future based on bleak current situations. The risk averse might just settle for the good, not wanting to risk the good for the best. Is there a risk in trusting God? God’s promises are yes, yes and amen — sure and solid as a rock. NO risk. Since there is no risk, the pride of believing my own understanding does not stand. Yet this narrow gate is so hard to squeeze through to reach for the best beyond it. Perhaps it will be easier if the excess weight of my understanding and pride is shed before going through the door. It takes complete trust in the Lord to take this seemingly difficult and almost insurmontable path and I need to be convicted of things that are not yet seen (Heb 11:1) in God.
Interestingly, the following verse talks about acknowledging God in all my ways. In the Amplified version, “recognize” is added to “acknowledge” to clarify the depth of the intended meaning in this verse. Many have used this verse to justify their walk that is according to their own understanding by simply acknowledging God like a passerby in their path, without consideration of the verse before. Even when the verse before is disregarded, it is almost incredulous to believe that it is possible for me to recognize God in my path and yet not heed His way. Recognizing God means having the revelation of His goodness, holiness, splendor, majesty, glory, power and all the attributes of God. If I see God as God, it will be sheer stupidity to walk away from what He has for me. It is impossible for me to walk my way as according to my understanding while recognizing God. The revelation of God in my life is so tightly tied to my trust in Him.
“O God, help me to know You deeper to trust You with my whole heart. Take away my doubts that are causing me to waiver and do not let me lean on my own understanding. Let me be on the straight path where You are with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.“