5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Trust in him. Submit to him. Does God ask for our submission to put us in our place? To remind us that he is boss and we are beneath him? He could, because certainly he is above us in every way …
But no. He implores us to submit, acknowledge, or turn to him because he can optimally help us if we do. It’s about the free will that he gave us … We can go our own way if we choose, but if we willingly take every circumstance, every decision, every aspect of our daily lives to him, he will guide us on the path that is straight. The path that is righteous. The path that is good for us and good for others.
We can start by saying and meaning: Not my understanding, but yours. Not my will, but yours. Not my thoughts, but yours. Not my way, but yours. Not my words, but yours.
It’s a process, that transfer of allegiance from self, people, or things to God. There will be errors — it is a discovery process, a learning experience — but if we truly want to surrender our lives to his leadership, he will help us discern which are our thoughts and which are his; what is our will and what is his.
… but he won’t lead us off the path or over the edge. His are paths of companionship, direction, love, protection, encouragement, and assurance. Where he leads, we can be sure he is concerned for our welfare, entailing his purposes and our personal gain.
The paths on which he goes before us are not always easy. Some seasons of our lives are extremely challenging. It is on difficult paths that we gain experience, wisdom, discernment, and skills to overcome evil with good. It is there that we discover more and more who he is … Father, friend, and trustworthy guide. It is during difficult times that we prove our faithfulness, our resolve. It is in the trials that we learn that blessings are ahead … There is hope and a future.
Just as spring and summer follow winter, growth in character and wisdom follow hardship. It is during prolonged journeys over difficult paths that we also learn to be good managers of what he gives us. He sets us up for success by giving us a chance to be faithful with very little. When the harvest overflows, we are capable of being trustworthy managers of much. (Luke 16:10)
It is in our best interests to fully trust in God. Follow him, and he will help us negotiate the unruly, pointless, or tumultuous obstacles along the way. Let him, and he will make our paths straight.