Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Lean Not on Your Own Understanding
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He shall direct your path.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
I think we as human beings find it so terribly hard to give up our control. We want so badly to be the ones in charge of our own lives, forging our own paths, heading down our own road, deciding on our own direction. Usually not until much later in life do we realize how little control that we actually have. Plan as you might, you never truly know what tomorrow may bring, you never know what twists and turns your life-path might take until that day when you are confronted with a specific situation or decision. The question is.... when that day comes will you follow God? Will you trust Him and not only yourself and your earthly brain? Will you give it all over to He who knows what is best for you?
So many times when we do make the decisions God calls us to make, people deem them as unwise. They tell us we have poor judgement. People are even called crazy. Why? Because our decisions are not made with earthly logic? Because they are not made with earthly gain in mind? Because they are not the "norm"? Yep.
When a family steps out and says they are going to travel halfway across the world, leaving most of their possessions behind, to be missionaries in a foreign land-- some say "oh I could never do that!"
When others decide they want to step out and adopt that special needs child people think "Well how will that impact their other children??"
When a family feels lead to adopt their 10th child people say "My goodness, don't they have enough?"
Our earthly mindset is what drives each of us to respond in this way, our "logic" is kicking in. But do you think this is how God would respond? My opinion is that He wants us to follow His guidelines, not the world's. His guidelines as stated in the Bible, tell us to be selfless. They tell us not to look for earthly gain. They tell us to put others first in all things and to be humble. They tell us to care for the little children of the world, the orphans and the widows especially. They tell us to go out to all the world and spread His Word.
"Whatever you do for the least of these you do for Me"
Perhaps when the time comes to make a decision this is why we feel a little flustered or debate on which way to go or what we should do. We wonder, do we want to be considered outside the "norm"? Do we want to go against the grain as to what society tells us is right and OK? Or do we have more concern with fitting in, caring more about what others think than about what God thinks?
That is when we need Proverbs 3 vs 5-6 the most. We only need to look to God's word to know that He has a plan for every one of us, it is simply our choice as to whether we follow what He would have us to do. If we trust in Him, if we pray and listen to Him, He will guide us. He will help direct our lives in the way they should go.
In addition, the part about leaning not on our own understanding is what really makes me think, especially at this time of the year. It is Christmastime and the stores are bustling with shoppers and families like ours are having fun continuing our annual traditions like going out to see the beautiful light-filled villages, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories before bed. Yet all around us and all over the world, there are grown-ups and children alike who are suffering. Some have never heard of the joys of Christmas, let alone been able to celebrate its fun. Why?
This is something I find so hard to understand, but as the verse above says, we are not to lean on our own understanding. There are many things in life that are not for us to figure out.... the whole "why do bad things happen to good people" saying fits right in here. Proverbs does say though that He will direct our path, and to trust in Him with all our heart. That is what we CAN do even when we don't understand the why of it all.
My heart and the hearts of my husband and children have been opened to the plight of the poor and defenseless children around the world. We may not be able to understand why they are in the situations they are in, but God has directed the paths of our lives in the direction of going to help them.
So if you and your family are like ours, and during this holiday season you think about and pray for the many people out there, especially the children, who find themselves without a warm loving home, without food, without family to surround them........ ask yourself what path God has in mind for you. Is it the path of adoption? Is it stepping out to help through a monetary donation? Is it going out and spreading the Word? Is it simply praying for or advocating for those who need a home and a family?
Whatever it is, don't be afraid to follow the path you feel lead to travel. And please remember to encourage those who are trying to follow God's will in their lives too. Build them up don't tear them down. Offer encouragement and prayers so that the path they are following might be a smooth one. Don't allow your own understanding or lack thereof be a deterrent to the good work others are trying to do. Support them, love them, encourage them and pray for them. You might not understand why they are following the paths in life that they are, but they do, and that is what is truly important.