April 21

Yesterday in Ladies Bible Class, which I thank God that I was feeling well enough to attend, we discussed our answers to a question that went something like this:
“Is there a passage of scripture that you applied in your past that helped prepare you and sustain you through a certain difficult time in your life?” Something like that.

I thought you all might like to know my answer; the passage that I committed to memory years ago, never knowing that it would take on a new and deeper meaning, that I would lean so heavily on it in my mid-30s.

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 direct your paths.”

It is the first scripture my boys ever memorized, and they can both recite it to you now, because I began teaching it to them as soon as they learned to talk. If a child can learn to say please and thank you, can learn names of the objects around them, they can learn to string these words together.

I can think of no better words that I want seared deep, deep, deep down into my boys’ hearts and minds. They may not understand exactly what the words mean at this point, but the words are true and life-giving, and I believe they will serve them well through whatever challenges their lives hold; including, God-forbid, the loss of their mother.

I remember sitting in a Bible class that my father was teaching and he said this, “The whole of the Bible comes down to this: God is saying, ‘Do you TRUST me’? That is the point and question of all of scripture. DO YOU TRUST ME?”

Do you see that when you read the Word? He gave Adam the garden, with one rule, and asked, “Do you trust me to provide your needs and trust that I’m right when I ask you to stay away from the one tree?” Adam failed, and blessings were lost. He asked Abraham many times, “Do you trust me?”  Enough to follow me to a strange land? Trust me to give you a son when it no longer seems possible? To give me back the son of promise? Abraham did, and oh how God directed his steps and showered blessings.

The nation of Israel – when they trusted, God did great and miraculous signs and wonders, when they failed, God allowed persecutions and captivity to remind them of where their trust needed to be placed.
Do you trust me? He asked Ruth, he asked Esther, he asked David, he asked Job. And God showed Himself to be faithful, ever faithful when HE ALONE was trusted.
In the New Testament, it continues. Jesus asks, “Do you trust me, trust the Father, enough to live differently? Do you trust that God knows what is best for your life?”
It all comes down to trust. The Bible is a blessed account of how God has proven time and time again, in both individual lives and in dealing with huge nations, that He can be trusted and is theonly thing to be trusted.

So this is my life’s desire, to trust. And in these days, the second phrase of the scripture has taken on new meaning: “and lean not on your own understanding.” There are many, many things about suffering, especially my own, which I do not understand. But that’s ok. It is actually a relief to me that I do not have to understand; I do not have to figure out the great cosmic meaning of human suffering, of my own suffering.
God only asks me to trust and to “acknowledge Him in all my ways.”
All my ways. That’s not a Sunday-morning-only kind of action. It’s an all-encompassing phrase, indicating a God-centered and filled life. Do you trust me, Sara? Enough to acknowledge Mein ALL YOUR WAYS: in laundry, in school drop-off, in treating patients, in serving your husband, in cooking dinner, in sitting in chemo treatment rooms, in illness?

This is the life I seek, and the life I want my boys to seek.

And then we come to the ending: the promise, the blessed, beautiful promise:  “and He will direct your paths.”
Yes, my Father, that’s what I need. That’s what you’ve proven you’ll do time and time again: for Abraham, for Israel, for Ruth, for Esther, for David, for so many…

Here’s a song that says it all:

“I’m running back to your promises, one more time. Lord that’s all I can hold on to. I’ve gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises you.
Before a heartache can ever touch my life, it has to go through your hands. And even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why…
No matter what, I’m gonna love you. No matter what, I’m gonna need you.
I know that you can find a way to keep me from the pain, but if not, if not, I’ll trust you. No matter what.
When I’m stuck and there’s nothing else, by myself. I’m just sitting in silence. There’s no way I can make it without your help. I won’t even try it.
I know you have your reasons for everything, so I will keep believing. Whatever I might be feeling, God you are my hope, and you will be my strength.
No matter what, I’m gonna love you. No matter what, I’m gonna need you. I know that you can find a way to keep me from the pain, but if not, if not, I’ll trust you. No matter what.”

So my precious Father, I acknowledge you. I acknowledge you with my head and my heart, my words and my deeds. I do not understand. I do not understand many, many things. But I am glad that you do. That you know and grasp and understand andcontrol. Please direct my steps. I know that you will, for you have promised, and you cannot lie. Thank you for caring for me, little me, oh Great God of the Universe. Thank you for bending down to guide my steps. In the name of Jesus I speak and cry out to you. Amen.

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