“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:5, 6
What a promise of love and care the Father has given us in this one text! Sometimes, when we are in the midst of trouble, we wonder why this has happened to my family or my church or me, and we pray for the problem to be resolved. There is nothing wrong with this, but we must realize that if we have been trusting in the Lord and not leaning to our own understanding, if we are acknowledging Him in all our ways, that He is directing our paths. Whether we are on the mountaintop of life or in the valley, we can have physical, emotional and spiritual peace knowing that He is directing our paths. If He is directing and we believe this, then we can know, as Christ knew that, “The Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord’s permission, and ‘all things’ that are permitted ‘work together for good to them that love God.’ Romans 8:28.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 71.
It is easy to believe and trust when on the mountaintops, but much harder to believe and trust when we are in the valleys of our experience suffering from doubt, depression, hurt, anger, and feeling attacked, alone and abandoned. So how can we develop this life giving trust such that through all of the experiences of life we can have physical, emotional, and spiritual peace?
We cannot have trust in anyone whom we don’t know and we cannot know God or His Son, Jesus, without connection and conviction of the truth through His word and the Holy Spirit. Many churches and pastors promote a feel good, emotional religious experience but this is very shallow. Our religious experience has to go beyond feelings and this can only come from the conviction of the Holy Spirit as we read and study the Word, knowing it is truth. We need to know that the experience of the people whose stories are recorded in the Bible are there for examples to us (I Corinthians 10:11). Their joys and sorrows, their strengths and weaknesses were recorded for us to learn that wrong choices always have consequences.
As a result of his failure to trust God, David made poor choices in regard to his relationship with Bathsheba and the consequent murder of Uriah, causing his family to greatly suffer through many valley experiences. Once he was convicted of his wrong course of action and fully repented, God forgave him and he could be used again of God.
Look at Joseph who went through much suffering, but the final outcome was an entire nation saved from famine and he was reunited with his family. God is faithful to see that we, as well as others, are blessed by all the events of our life if we trust in Him and lean not upon our own understanding. We may not know how this will happen, but we know that as we look back on our life, we would not want to have been led any other way than as He directed. “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. ‘Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.’ Philippians 1:29. And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.” The Desire of Ages, 224, 225.
Just as we must eat good food on a regular basis each day to maintain health, so also it is imperative to spend time each day in study, prayer and meditation on the Word and how it is to be translated into our daily walk in order to have spiritual health. Then we will understand that the Ten Commandments are not just a rule of action or against an action, but take on new meaning and are a guide for our hearts. Very few would admit that they have violated the law, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), but Jesus expanded this when He said not to be angry with our brother. There is probably not a person alive who, at some time, has not felt some anger at another individual. It takes meditation upon the Word to really understand and know how to apply to the daily life the deeper concepts of the Lord’s teaching. “The word must be daily received, believed, and acted upon.” The Review and Herald, October 1, 1901.
Another critical aspect of developing trust, obedience and peace is to develop a regular prayer life. In our own flesh we can do nothing, but prayer helps us understand the Word and brings light. “If students would read the word of God more, and pray over it, the light of heaven would shine upon them.” Ibid., July 6, 1905. Prayer helps us to overcome and truly acknowledge God in all that we do. “Send up your prayers to heaven that you may be delivered from temptation. Pray, pray, and put your will on the side of God’s will. Oh, be sure to pray for the Lord to give you His grace to resist the devil, who caused the fall of Adam and Eve in Eden, and [who] with all his deceptive power will try to make of none effect the restrictions and commandments of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 74. It has been said that knowledge is power, but knowledge of good is powerless without prayer and the grace of Christ to help us overcome temptation and do good.
Memorization of Scripture is also very important in overcoming the enemy of souls and developing trust that God will see you through all circumstances. When tempted of the devil, one of the best responses is a rebuke from the Lord and this can be done through quoting the Word. Jesus met the temptations of the devil with “It is written.” So we too can obtain power as we pray and meet Satan with “It is written.”
As we study, meditate, bring the Word into our life, pray for spiritual power and memorize Scripture, meeting Satan with “It is written,” we will begin to find that nothing will shatter our trust in the Lord’s ability to see us through any trial. We will have a peace that only the Lord can give and it will be evident in our life and our countenance, and in our interaction with others during difficult times. This experience will bring such joy into our lives that we will want to share it with others.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.” Psalm 91:1, 2. Oh to have that quiet assurance that God is in control and He will care for me. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. It is my prayer that this may be your experience of trust and peace in the Lord.