Learning, and Being Reminded, to Trust God's Promises

Proverbs 3:5-6

In one of my morning times with the Lord recently, I was asking Him for direction on a number of concerns in my life, some personal, some vocational.  Some of them were newer questions but others were things that I had been praying about and reflecting on for some time.  As I considered one in particular I began to sense my frustration rising.  The situation was/is beyond my human capability to figure out, let alone resolve, and my expectation was that by now God should have revealed the way forward.  Out of that frustration I said to God, “are you ever going show me what to do?”  And then I waited.  It wasn’t long before I heard the words in my spirit, “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 your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I didn’t sense that it was a rebuke but rather a patient Father reminding His son how He relates to His children.  The experience triggered my returning to the first time I was introduced to that verse of Scripture.  It was the winter of 1984 and my wife Barb and I were taking a Bible study class on Sunday morning at our church, Calvary Lutheran Church of Golden Valley, MN.  It was entitled a Discovery class and it used the Navigators Bible study, Lessons on Assurance.  It was a 6-week class that shaped me for a lifetime.  In the course of those 6 weeks we examined 5 promises that God has made to every believer in Jesus.  They are assurances, promises, God makes to us that we can rely on regardless of our current circumstances.  God assures us of 1) our salvation, 2) He answers prayer, 3) victory over sin, death and the devil, 4) He forgives our sin upon confession, and 5) He will guide us through life.  In the course of each lesson we looked up various Scriptures and answered the questions in the booklet which were helpful but the life changing component was memorizing Scripture verses and meditating upon them throughout the week.  There was a memorization verse for each topic and the one for guidance was Proverbs 3:5-6.

My initial experience with each of these promises was over 32 years ago and they have borne fruit in my life ever since.  Praise God!  But even so I needed to be reminded on this particular morning that our God is a God of promises and that He can be trusted to keep His promises.  It wasn’t that I forgot the truth but rather I lost sight of the way God desires to relate to His children.  Most often when we think of God guiding us, we envision a road map and a timeline that shows every step of the whole journey.  God gives us a compass and says “Go north.”  In the former we thank God and go on our way, trusting in our own ability to read the map and reach the destination.  But God prefers the Holy Spirit directed GPS approach that says in 600 feet turn right on to Wilderness Avenue, continue for 8 miles and then turn left on I Am Confused Boulevard.  It is often only at the end, when we have reached the destination that the pathway makes any sense to us.

In the Proverbs 3:5-6 verses we have 3 choices to make, 3 responsibilities if you will, if God is going to fulfill His promise.  First, we are to trust Him with all our heart.  The apostle James calls it “faith without any doubting” (James 1:6).  No wavering allowed.  Just a confident expectation that God is worthy of our trust and He knows what He is doing.  Second, we are to avoid the trap of having to know in advance or be able to figure things out before we can be confident of moving forward in life.  Our culture tells to trust in ourselves, to be confident in our own abilities but this puts in a place where we are susceptible to worry and anxiety and diverts us from realizing God’s plans and purposes.  Finally, we are to acknowledge Him in all that we do, whether we think the activities are related or not. Demonstration of being faithful in small things is often required to release the bigger and more important things of the Kingdom.  The promise God makes to us is that when we fulfill these instructions “He will make our paths straight.”  It is a promise to guide us through life.  And what a marvelous promise it is.  The Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the One who knows all things, past and future, the One who loves us with an unfailing and incomprehensible love will guide us through the best life possible.

Learning to trust in the promises of God is both simple and profound.  The process is not difficult to understand but in the midst of the pressures of daily life making the right choice can be challenging.  I would recommend memorizing Proverbs 3:5-6 and meditate on it until its truth is guiding your thought life and your decision making on a daily basis.  It is one of the guiding principles that will allow you to experience the abundant life of the Kingdom of God.