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 straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:5-8).
One of the hardest things about having a brain is learning not to trust it more than what God says is true. There are many occasions in life when our understanding and desire tell us something that is in direct conflict with what God has said is true. For example, many economists—given the recent rise in unemployment—have forecasted a prolonged recession, with some going so far as predicting another Great Depression. There are many other areas where what we see around us doesn’t make sense with what God says.
Consider the call to evangelism for a moment. By appearances, it doesn’t seem like people are beating down the doors of the Church to hear about Christ. It doesn’t appear that many in our family are actively interested in God’s word. This might even be true for your own children on any given day. It also doesn’t always appear like God is making us more and more holy or even working through our lives to change the world around us.
In all these situations and more, God calls to us and says, “Be not wise in your own eyes… (v.7).” In other words, don’t presume to know what you can’t know. “Trust that I am at work far beyond what you can see”. When we have this kind of faith, we begin to experience what Prov 3:8 promises: “refreshment to our bones”. We also avoid straying from the Lord in moments of discouragement and doubt (v.6).
But just as soon as we learn to let go of our understanding, God reminds us in Prov 3 that we are supposed to use our brains—just not lean on them. We study, pray, plan, and work on a daily basis as an act of faith in what God has said is true. That’s part of what v.6 is teaching us to do: “in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Verse 7 implies much the same thing: “turn away from evil.” So, as an act of trust, pray and remind yourselves of the promises of God. He promises to feed and clothe you and your family; to protect you from all harm; to even build His Church as we step out in faith and bring others this message of hope.
As you encounter frustration or are tempted to doubt God is leading you, summon your mind and direct your understanding to obey and honor God. Know that what you’re experiencing is just a fleeting appearance that will soon give way to what God says is true. As we rest our understanding on His infinite mind and will, we will find refreshment and healing.