One of my all-time favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.
As a pastor, I sometimes have the privilege of walking through different situations with people. Sometimes their struggles involve a major life decision like God’s will for their job, college major or future spouse, sometimes it has to do with a health problem or a family member that has fallen away from the faith. Whatever the issue is, I often refer to the promise of this verse because it is so appropriate for any situation—and it is absolutely true!
However, it is easy to say to people, “trust in the Lord,” but not always easy to do. Recently we’ve had the experience of needing to trust in the Lord for a situation that has proven to be somewhat frustrating—not like dealing with an illness or a death, nothing quite so earth shattering—but something that caused us to remember over and over again to rely on the promise of Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trusting God Through Uncertainty
Bob and I recently made the very difficult decision to leave our home, our church, our friends and the Houghton community and move to eastern NY. We have family there – our children, 2 grandbabies, my mom and siblings.
Family is the only thing that could drag us away from our beloved Houghton. Last fall we began the search for our new home. After many house tours, we finally settled on a perfect home and signed a contract. We were so thankful to find a lovely little cottage that seemed to fit our needs and was located within a short distance of our family, so we made plans to downsize and started packing our things, getting ready for an April 1st closing. To make a long and complicated story much shorter, things fell apart on May 1st, due to several issues and we found ourselves without a home to move into.
We had so hoped for everything to work out, but we ended up having to cancel the contract. It has been a frustrating 4 months, waiting for things to happen and hitting many roadblocks along the way. So, our only option was to move on and trust that the Lord had a better plan. After walking away from the first place, we began looking again but found no homes that were right for us, so we decided to revisit one that we had seen last fall. It was a place I had really loved but it was way out of our price range so we had scratched it off of our list.
After we looked it up online again, we found out that the price was reduced from when we first saw it. But, the only way we could buy it was if the owner would be willing to significantly lower the price again, which we thought would be a miracle. We went ahead anyway and made an offer we could afford. After a few backs and forth negotiations, and an offer to do all of the renovations ourselves, we now have a contract on a home which we hope to move into next month!
It really is amazing how God’s timing is so much better than ours. We had been so disappointed, but in the end, we will have a better house in an even better location! I can’t say trusting in Him was easy, and that I didn’t worry and fret about the situation, but even with my lack of trust, God was and is faithful. Tim Keller says it well: What God is doing is exactly what we would have asked for if we knew what God knows!
Trust the Lord, and Declare His Faithfulness
The words of Proverbs 3:5-6 are a constant reminder to us to trust in the Lord—not in ourselves—and to acknowledge Him and look for the path He is carving out for us. The word acknowledge can be translated several ways: Give ear to Him, think on Him, believe Him, know Him. The Hebrew word actually means “to own or notice with particular regard. To declare that one recognizes the claims of a person or thing as fact.” This is the challenge! How do we acknowledge God? We can declare that He is faithful, we can believe that He will do what He says He will do, and back to the beginning of the verse, we trust Him.
God’s faithfulness is not just something to hope for but a fact of life. He has proven His trustworthiness over and over and I am thankful to have experienced once again His faithfulness. During our times of difficulty or crisis, He is at work. There is nothing more comforting than the realization that the Lord knows exactly what we are going through. He is there with us and will not waste even our most difficult experiences and struggles. When we trust in Him, He promises to make our paths straight.
Laurie Smalley is a member of the Class of ’84. She served as a volunteer pastor at the Houghton Wesleyan Church from 2004 to 2011, and has served as HWC’s children’s ministry director from 2017 to 2019.
Highlander Devotionals are contributed by members of the broader Houghton community, including our worldwide alumni family. These reflections are a testament to the continued, transforming work of Jesus Christ in the lives of alumni and others who have called Houghton “home.”