Summary: Often, we are caught not trusting God, not because we do not want to put our trust in Him, but because we tend to forget trusting him. Simply put, trusting God is not really our way of life.
Even those who claim to be “Born Again” are not necessarily firmly grounded in the truths of the Bible. In his book What Americans Believe which provides a statistical analysis of religious beliefs in America, George Barna cites several fascinating statistics which are based on a national survey. One of the questions states, “The Devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil. Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with that statement?” The Born Again population reply with 32 percent agreeing strongly, 11 percent agreeing somewhat and 5 percent did not know. Thus, of the total number responding, 48 percent either agreed that Satan is only symbolic or did not know!
His next question, “Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others all pray to the same God, even though they use different names for that God.” Again, the respondents were asked to agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly. Of that population surveyed who identified themselves as Born Again, 30 percent agreed strongly, 18 percent agreed somewhat and 12 percent did not know. That is a total of 60 percent!
Now, let me make a survey for this congregation:
(a) Who among you believe that we, as Christians, should trust God? (Many will surely raise their hands in confidence.)
(b) Who among you believe that by trusting God, we cannot fall astray? (Like the first question, many will surely raise their hands in confidence again.)
(c) When was the last time that you trusted God? (This time, I believe will be different.)
Trusting God, I suppose, is one of the things Christians should be conscious of always. The Bible is clearly exhorting us to trust God in every step we will take – be it concerning our family, work, ministry, studies, etc. However, despite the call to trust God in all aspects of our lives, the truth remains that most of the time we do not trust God, at least in an unconscious manner. Often, we are caught not trusting God, not because we do not want to put our trust in Him, but because we tend to forget trusting him. Simply put, trusting God is not really our way of life.
By nature, it is very hard for us humans to trust other people. We would rather choose to work alone than work with others, especially if we have the means and capability to accomplish a task. Notice that in commercial basketball league like the NBA, coaches are inclined to underscore “teamwork” during timeouts. That in order for them to win a game, they must learn to trust their teammates that they, too, can deliver. But somehow, despite the consistent reminders, trusting others seemed to be a difficult thing to do. It is actually better said than done.
Our text is actually talking about the benefits of wisdom to us. Wisdom, in general, is the discipline of applying truth to one’s life in the light of experience. Proverbial wisdom, in particular, concentrates mostly on practical attitudes. The wise man who wrote this proverb is exhorting us to trust God and keep it as a practical attitude, as our way of life. And the benefit…God will make our paths straight.
2.1 When you trust God, trust him completely (v 5)
q Trusting God requires a whole heart.
I remember last Tuesday morning while waiting for a transportation, I specifically asked God for a particular bus since with it I would have a good chance of coming to office earlier. Immediately after that prayer, a cab going to Manila stopped before me. I was thinking if I would take it since I actually prayed to God for a bus. I knew in my heart it was coming. I checked if there would be a bus coming but there was none. I said to myself, “Maybe God would not grant my prayers.” Afraid that I would be late again, although hesitant, I finally decided to take the cab. Very soon after I took the cab, a bus came. To make the long story short, I arrived at the office at 10:15, 1 hour and 15 minutes later than my boss. I believe, if only I learned to fully trust God that day, I would not had been late.
Many times we express our trust to the Lord just to end up trusting him halfheartedly. With this kind of halfhearted trust we cannot expect things to be better because in reality we are unconsciously proclaiming that we do not trust him, but ourselves. And by trusting ourselves, we are actually tying his hands from working in us.
Jungle people also have wisdom. In an interview with an African Safari guide, he was asked, “Is it true that jungle animals won’t harm you if you carry a torch?” The guide replied, “That depends on how fast you carry it.” Somehow, we can identify with the guide in relation to our Christian walk. We know that God is always in control of everything regardless of how big and heavy the obstacles. Look at the wall, it reads, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing that my God cannot do.” You know this declaration, aren’t you? Yet when problem comes, we easily falter. Why? Simply, because we do not trust God completely.