November 25, 2014

Don’t worry; trust the Lord

Some of us are born with a desire to learn. My granddaughter and I could be perpetual students. We like school. It isn’t about not wanting to work or be a productive member of society. Those are good things, but for us, the better thing is filling our minds with information and learning how to use it.

However, my mind didn’t work too well yesterday. I stayed up too late (reading a Baldacci novel), spent too much time watching television (that blasted football game), played too many computer games, ate too much (three large pieces of pizza) and felt sluggish, and worked overtime trying to understand Greek participles with a sluggish mind. Not a good plan. My conclusion is that like the body, the human mind needs care and attention. It also needs exercise, but not too much.

Then I had a conversation with someone who is grieving. At one point, I felt as if I said too much and may have been less than helpful. Second-guessing myself is not a good mind exercise either. I wanted to know for sure if I said something I should not have said, or was God okay with it all? I wanted Him to tell me.

Today’s devotional reading took me to this . . . “When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.” (Ecclesiastes 8:16–17)

The general gist of this is that I could work at it day and night, even make a list of all that God does, and I still would not know everything He is doing. I just know that He isn’t surprised or stumped by the mistakes His people make, nor does He have any obligation to inform us about His plans and strategies.

Instead, faith is about trusting God, period. It isn’t about trusting God to use my words, or not. It isn’t about expecting Him to pat me on the head when I fit into His plans, or even letting me know His plans. I’m simply to trust Him.

One of my husband’s favorite verses says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) There is no way I can see how I can do the planning and God is doing the planning . . . unless the mind of Christ that He put in me works without my sense of it happening. Can that possibly mean that unless my thoughts are obviously sinful, Jesus Christ is there in my thoughts and my planning? Could He even be in the words I said that I am now so worried about?

He does say quite a bit about controlling my tongue and that I should use it to help others, but He also has something to say about worry. For instance, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5–7) and this other favorite verse, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

From what I’m reading, God cares more about my anxiety than He does about those words I said that are worrying me and making me second-guess myself. He says to trust the Lord will all my heart . . .  not my words. Right or wrong, the value of those words is up to Him, and He isn’t letting me in on what He is going to do.

Instead, He says this to me: “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Proverbs 12:25) I get it. I’m to stop worrying and trust the Lord. He is right; a good word from Him makes me feel much better.

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