Three months in and I’m in a circulatory mode of reminding myself, “Lean not to thine own understanding.” It’s tough! Why? Because I think of myself as smart. Don’t you? We’ve prayed and believed God for wisdom. And then it feels as though we must set aside all that we know and operate in a state of uncertainty. I was young when I accepted Christ as my personal savior, but much older before I fully embraced and began to unfold what that really meant. However, I did not anticipate that in order for me to be privy to the mysteries of God, it would be necessary to suspend all that I “thought” I knew. Who amongst me kept this secret? Y’all was wrong for that!
For in that, the deeper that I came to know Christ, the less I would know about what he was doing. We know that the promises of God are yes and Amen (II Corinthians 1:20), but getting to that conclusion requires us to release our preconceptions of the journey and reality of reaching finality. Perhaps that is precisely where the difficulty emerges. We know the ending is going to be for our good, but why the “not so good” to get there? Enter, “lean not to thine own understanding,” because when we engage it, we loose sight, hope, and faith to the end that God has promised, and one that will bless us more than we can envision.
My understanding is limited. Sometimes, it forgets that God has always been God. He never changes. As I reflect, I’ve been in situations and circumstances that were troubling, nevertheless, God didn’t forget who he was, nor his love for me to stay by my side, loving on me, encouraging and propelling me to better. My understanding will sometime trick me into believing that God is not concerned about what concerns me. My understanding occasionally lacks depth and diversity to explore what is beyond my focal point. My understanding may ignore the assistance that God is sending in the flesh because it doesn’t show up in the manner by which I imagined. My understanding often operates from an emotional state, rather than a scriptural one. My understanding though useful in many situations, is not as comprehensive as God’s – which is why I believe all of us, the thinkers, the analytic creatures, the scholars are told to “lean not to thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). So, what trips us up? I would suggest the initial part of the scriptural reference, which reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
When we trust in the Lord, we take our heart matters to him for surgical needs. He is the repairer, the one who provides restoration of sort so that we may live the abundant life that has been promised. The subsequent verse of Proverbs 6 further entails acknowledging God and in turn, he will direct our paths. In that action, we gain greater insight and operate in wisdom, as opposed to our own understanding. When I searched for the word “lean,” one of the definitions stated, “a deviation from the perpendicular.” That was powerful for me! Perpendicular reflects being in an upright or standing position. In times of trouble, in times of confusion, in times of gladness, we must stand upon God. We must refuse the urge to consider all that life entails through the tendency to lean into our own meaning and understanding of what God is doing. When we do, we may find ourselves flat on the ground – yet our loving God reaches down and restores us to our standing position in him. When we are confronted with the invitation to make sense of something God is either doing, or has granted permission to occur, let us lean not. Trust God, it’s going to be alright.