Trust. Maybe your memory conjures up life experiences and images and moments where trust worked out for you or it didn’t. Probably the times it didn’t work out are the times that have stuck with you the most. To be honest, I’ve mostly had very positive experiences with trust throughout my life. From my parents to teachers to coaches and mentors, I’ve never been deeply scarred. I’ve probably learned the most about trust within the context of being married. After almost 10 years of marriage and three children, I’ve learned much about the health derived from maintaining trust.
Trust has to do with reliability. As a wife and as a mother, my wife has only garnered more and more trust from me over the years based on her reliability to do things that contribute to the health of our family. On the flipside, I’ve felt the healthy pressure to uphold responsibilities and commitments to our family because I know that letting them down in small ways can be a slippery slope towards greater problems.
Trusting another person is a vulnerable, very human behavior. We are placing our sense of security into the control of someone outside of ourselves. Sometimes with lots of calculation and sometimes not. Nonetheless, we do it because we hope that person can make us feel safe, contribute towards our happiness, that we can count on them to help us out, we believe they can fulfill their word, and surely I could keep going with all the reasons we trust another person.
By virtue of just having lived life, the writer of this proverb must know the vulnerability and risk of trust, and yet it is his bold declaration that we should trust in the Lord with all our heart. Now, either he is delusional, or wisdom derived from experience has given him the conviction that it’s worth it to trust the Lord. The conviction of his words seem to be supported by the results of his own choices.
The demand of these verses is immense. I think they are relatable because they present an ideal that we will always be chasing. But that shouldn’t discourage us as long as we know we are consciously on the journey towards greater trust.
Trust in the Lord shows itself in very practical ways. In what motivates us to be a good employee, in how many of our fears we will disclose to our spouse, what we do with our free time, all the way down to the basics of how often we actually pause in the busyness of life, quiet ourselves, and direct our thoughts and words towards our Lord. And you can imagine and have likely felt how invasive this proverbial advice can become if you let it. In all our ways, he says next, we are supposed to acknowledge the Lord.
Just imagine thinking about this communication in the context of some very ordinary experience - shopping at the grocery store, for example. Just casually walking the aisles of Kroger and then all of the sudden you remember this verse and are bombarded with thoughts about how it can even frame your grocery store shopping. Should I be choosing healthier foods? Should I be making more frugal decisions? Should I consider buying a meal for another family? Does that elderly lady need help getting something off the top shelf?
Perhaps we think if we fill ourselves with acknowledging God in spiritual moments or settings, then such moments will spill over into more everyday situations and we won’t have to concentrate specifically on acknowledging God.
What would it be like if we recognized that such moments don’t magically spill over and that from least to greatest, we must engage our minds and hearts to respond to the living God in all of life’s moments.
Resist the tendency to be fatalistic about that ideal, and focus on improving. God knows we are in process towards maturity and that trusting the LORD with all our heart doesn’t happen overnight. I’m certain he’s more comfortable with that than most of us are. So here’s to a new year of increasing trust a little more, acknowledging God in more moments, and appreciating the path he guides us on.