Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on our own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 3:5-6 is probably one of the easiest verses to quote when someone is struggling with a life decision. “Trust God. He’ll show you the way.” Memorized when we were young, these verses are our quick to quotes quips. Not sure what to do? Trust God.
So easy to say, yet so hard to do.
Many times when facing a new challenge have I caught myself thinking, “Just give me a little more time to think it through; I’ll figure it out. I've got this.” Or, “I’m not sure it’s going to be okay. If I don’t act now, things aren’t going to work out right.” In both situations I am leaning on my own understanding and not trusting God with all my heart.
It’s so easy to say, but so hard to do.
But, the beauty in the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6 is I don’t have to worry about the decisions I make when I am walking closely with the Lord. I don’t have to fret if my choices are the right choices or not. God promises me in these verses that if I am yielding my heart and will to Him, any direction I go will be the right way. My path will be His path because my heart is aligned to Him. When a car is properly aligned it steers straight. When the wheels are out of alignment, a car pulls in one direction or another forcing the driver to tug on the steering wheel in order to keep the car going straight. The same is true for us. When we are in right alignment with God, our actions flow smoothly in the direction God wants them to go. If we are not in right alignment we drift bouncing back and forth between the ruts in the road. Improper spiritual alignment lead us to drift off course and forces God to tug us back on track.
So, how do we stay in right alignment?
First, we have to trust God with all our heart. That means every crevice of our hearts’ desires needs to be entrusted to Him. We need to turn all of our desires and agendas over to God. We need to search our hearts and honestly ask God to reveal to us what we are holding back from him.
Second, we can’t rely on ourselves. We need to stop trying to figure everything out, and trust instead. We need to give up control and wait on God. We need to seek Him by reading his Word and praying, regularly. We need to develop an intimacy with God.
Lastly, we need to acknowledge Him. We need to recognize His authority. We need to stop being the back seat driver telling Him which way to go, and let Him drive. God knows where He is going and where He is taking us. We need to acknowledge that and sit back and let Him lead. We need to trust him enough to be in charge.
Consequently, if your life feels like it is drifting off course, check your alignment. Take the issue to God, the best mechanic in the world, get it fixed, and trust Him to keep you on track.
“And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground…” Exodus 14:22
I don’t know what overwhelming obstacle you face today, but the Israelites were facing a totally terrifying and impossible situation. A vast sea lay endlessly before them and a well-armed gigantic army was rumbling behind them. From where they stood, death was inevitable. No matter which direction they went, they were not going to get out alive. It was a matter of playing “would you rather die drowning in the sea or by the sword of your enemy?” Pick one.
To make matters worse, the guiding cloud of God was no longer in front of them. It now glowed in the dark behind them. The choice was clearly being made for them. Move forward, not backward. But forward was water. Endless, deep, non-breathable water. Forward was just as deadly as backward. Escape, even just survival, appeared to be impossible.
I’m sure they wondered. Why God? Why are you forcing us into a place you know we won’t survive? Why did you take us out of Egypt to drown us in the Red Sea? They may have even muttered, “Can’t we go back now?” Or even simply, “I just don’t understand.”
How often do we face situations that seem impossible to us? How many times have we followed God only to be stopped in our tracks by obstacles we didn’t expect? How often have we wondered if we were truly doing the right thing after we had left everything that was familiar behind?
The people had been faithful and now they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The only thing they had done to be in this situation was to follow God’s directions.
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22).
The miracle in this story to me isn’t so much that God parted the sea, but the fact that the people stepped into the sea that God parted. God’s power and glory aren’t hard to find. Just look at a sunrise or a sunset. Visit the Rocky Mountains or Grand Tetons. Gaze at a newborn baby.
God’s miracles are around us every day. I know God has the ability to divide the sea, the hard part for me is trusting His miracles enough to walk in them. I believe God can make a way through any of my difficult circumstances, I’m just not always sure He will do it for me. I tend to stand still, not moving, waiting until the path is safe and clear before I do something. I want to see what He is doing. I want a well-lit trail to follow before I step out. I crave continual reassurance that what I am doing is the right thing. For the people of Israel, the seas parted during the night when it was dark. God does some of His best, most powerful work when we can’t see it happening.
God not only parted the sea for them while they waited in the dark, but He also called them to walk through the path He miraculously made for them. The ground beneath them was dry, but the walls beside them were still high and wet. To walk between those walls of water must have been knee-shaking, fist-clenching, teeth-rattling terrifying. But they did it. They walked through that insurmountable water to safety. That my friends is what gives me courage. It’s not God doing great things (I know He can do that), it’s me walking in the great things He is doing in spite of the difficulties, hardships, and wet walls that surround me.
Yes, God will make a way for us when there doesn’t seem to be way, but we have to trust Him enough to step out and walk in the direction He is leading us- no matter what.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.