I remember the day well. The year was 1999 and it was a seemingly typical day that God was about to invade. I was in the Living Room and extremely bored so I did want most American’s do, I walked over to turn on the TV. However, all of a sudden I heard the Lord say “Read Proverbs 3:5-6”. It was so clear that it stopped me dead in my tracks.
So, I picked up my Bible and turned to Proverbs 3:5-6
“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.” (NIV)
At that moment God seared the verse into me. We often talk about Scripture being the “living word” but how often do we experience the power of Scripture? I have a very difficult time memorizing Scripture. However, this verse was instantly seared into the very core of my being. What I didn’t realize was that I would hang on to that verse for years to come and it would become my life verse. God was establishing a stronghold within the core of my being that I would not be able to let go of.
God knew something that I didn’t know. He knew what tomorrow would hold. And, he knew that tomorrow wasn’t a “day” it was a “season of life”. He knew that I would need something to hold on to during that season. That word (Proverbs 3:5-6) would become a lifeline as I walked with him into places that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go.
As I reflect at all God has done I can’t help but to think of people in Scripture who walked difficult roads. I think of Ruth (see book of Ruth) who left everything that she knew to go with her mother-in-law to a land she didn’t know. She had to trust and walk into unknown territory. God took this grieving widow into a foreign land, gave her great favor and blessing and she is in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
I think of Joseph (Genesis 37, 39-45). The boy who dreamed “impossible dreams” and ended up being thrown in a well by his brothers, sold into slavery (talk about sibling rivalry), taken to a foreign land, thrown into prison. God took this “disaster” and turned it into a blessing as Joseph was used to save the nation from famine. God’s ways are most certainly not our ways! Joseph had to learn to trust and in the midst of that he learned to rule and reign.
Then there is Gideon (Judges 6-8) who firmly saw himself as “less than” but had an encounter with God who called him a “mighty warrior”. God often sees us different than we do! Gideon had to make decision after decision as he listened to God’s crazy direction!
We have Abram (Genesis 12-17) called to leave and go to an unknown land and told he would be the father of many nations despite his age. Or Esther (see the book of Esther), a Jew who ended up Queen of a gentile land and ultimately called to save her people at the risk of her own life. We have John (Matthew 3), living in the wilderness, eating locust and wild honey (yuck) while preparing the way for the Lord. Mary (Matthew 1:18) accepting conception through the Holy Spirit, bringing Jesus into the world and eventually watching Him die on the Cross (as a Mom, just think of that one!). Joseph, listening to the angel and going against the culture, marrying a pregnant girl rather than condemning her (Matthew 1:20,24). Peter, good old Peter who always stuck his foot in his mouth. Peter who jumps out of the boat and walks on water (John 21:7). He denies Jesus 3 times (Luke 22:55-62) but becomes a major spokesman for the church (Acts 2:14). And, there are many, many others who have gone before us.
When we look at Scripture we need to take a step back. We need to remember that these were people just like us. They had their lives and their struggles. They had joy and they had disappointment. However, God called them out of their comfort zone and told them to not to lean on their own understanding but to lean on his. We forget this, because we have the “rest of the story” as we read and elevate them to sainthood. But, God had to create the “rest of the story” and they had to walk it. It is no different with us – but we are still in process!
Yes, God’s plans are often different than our plans. He dreams “impossible dreams” for us and makes them possible. He operates far outside our understanding. He calls us out of our comfort zone. But He is faithful. He is the one who makes our paths straight.
How is your path today? Where is your focus? Are your eyes focused on Jesus and your path straight? Or, is your focus on self and your path crooked? Remember, in all situations to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and He WILL make your path straight”. He is faithful.
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