Summary: Discusses the undergirding truths in Prov. 3:5-6 for consistent Christian living: (1)trust in the Lord with all your heart (2)Lean not upon your own understanding (3) In all your ways acknowledge Him.
What to Do (When You Don’t Know What to Do)
How many here have ever seen the classic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”? George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) wonders if his life really matters. He feels like a failure. In his sacrifice for others he has not attained his dreams. At his point of crisis he meets up with an angel named Francis. In the end, George Bailey gets a delightful revelation of how God has been working all along and used his life in a marvelous way.
The lesson George Bailey learned is found in our text this morning: Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV
I have found those verses particularly helpful in two kinds of life experiences. Sometimes life becomes so daily (so predictable and routine) that it gets hard to see the point of it all. In those times of extended boredom I am reminded of the old movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and of Prov. 3:5-6. Maybe more is happening than I think. Maybe it all matters more than it seems.
And then at the other end of the spectrum are those times of crisis when there seems to be no right answer for the situation. “If I do this, that will go wrong. If I do that, then this will go wrong.” And I don’t know what to do.
That’s why I have given this message the extended title, “What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do”. The truths taught here apply to every day of our lives. Solomon is setting before us a good way to live every day. But for those times when I simply don’t know what to do, the simplicity of this passage is the bedrock advice I need. If I can’t do anything else I can do this.
I. Trust in the LORD with all your heart.
In 1981 the Ladies Home Journal asked the question, “In whom do you trust?” The sad answer that came back was this: 40% Walter Cronkite, 26% Pope John Paul, 6% Billy Graham, and only 3% God.
The text is very specific about where our trust must lie. “Trust in the LORD”.
Try calling out on Walter Cronkite when you get into trouble and see how much help you get.
Is God trustworthy? Is God reliable? Is it a reasonable, prudent risk to trust a God you cannot see with your natural eyes? For those of us here this morning our immediate response would be, “Of course.” There is a knowing that is even more reliable than the five natural senses. The evidence of God is overwhelming. All of creation shouts His existence and the Holy Spirit has revealed Him to our hearts. We can say God is indeed trustworthy.
But there is the possibility that our answer is only theoretical, only theological, only intellectual. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” That speaks to our innermost being. From the core of who I am, do I trust Him—do I rely upon Him?
The measurement of my trust in God is not found in my theological answers but in the way I live each day of my life, in the way I relate to other people, in every decision I make and every action I take—decisions to tell the truth when I am tempted to lie, decisions to give money when I am tempted to keep it for myself, decisions to forgive offenses when something in me would like to retaliate.
Do I really believe the promises of God? I will only believe them to the extent I trust
(1) The Person behind those promises.
I have a friend here in town that fell into hard times several years ago. He lost everything because of a sudden change in the economy. By all legal standards he had every right to declare bankruptcy and not pay a number of his debts. He did not feel that was the right thing to do so he and his wife worked out the money and paid the debts. That man is a millionaire today. His promise to pay is valuable and trustworthy because of the kind of person he is. I can trust a person like that with finances.
The foundational basis for my trust in the Lord is knowing what kind of person He is. The more I know Him the more I know I can indeed trust Him. Is He a fair weather friend? Is He one that is there when it’s to his advantage but gone when the going gets rough. No, I have found Him to be One who will never, no never leave me nor forsake me.