One winter when I was visiting my daughter and her family in Oregon, they told me about a great place to go sledding. However, upon arriving, we discovered that there were no sleds—only inner tubes. At the time, my grandson Jonathan was just three years old, so I offered to let him ride with me. I sat in one of the tubes and said, “Come on. Gimps will take care of you.”
I could almost see the wheels turning in his little mind. He looked down the long, steep hill, then around at all the people laughing and screaming as they slid down. It looked like everyone was having fun, but they also seemed scared because the tubes went so fast that there was no way to control the direction or speed. Jonathan really had to think about it. Was he going to trust me to get him down the hill safely? Finally he walked over, plopped down in my lap, and said, “Okay, Gimps—let’s go!”
I can’t help but think of the many times I have gone through a similar scenario with the Lord. I’ve prayed and read the Scriptures; I know what God is telling me to do, but sometimes I hesitate. His will for my life often looks like that long, steep hill, and the thought of climbing into His lap for the ride is frightening because I won’t have any control. But halfhearted trust always gets us into trouble.
First of all, think what we’ll miss if we never risk journeying with the Lord. All the wonderful things He’s planned for our lives will be forfeited. Even if we trust Him enough to sit in His lap, we might try to take over halfway down the hill because, from our perspective, it looks as if the Lord could use some help. Though the ride may get a little bumpy at times, we should remember that we don’t know how it’s all going to work out.
That’s why we all need a verse to anchor us when we’re tempted to distrust the Lord and go our own way. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been my anchor verse for the last 50 years: “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 your paths straight.”
The moments you trust God will be the most exciting of your life. And He will get you down the hill safely every time.
Whenever I have an important decision to make, I come back to this passage. It helps me remember what’s required of a disciple of Christ. A disciple is a pupil who follows his teacher’s instruction. But the goal isn’t simply to fill our minds with information; it’s to become more like our Teacher.
For the Christian, discipleship is a lifelong process of being transformed into the image of Christ and walking in obedience. He gradually teaches us and leads us in the direction He wants us to go. That’s why Proverbs 3:5-6 is such a trustworthy guide. It contains foundational principles that tell us exactly how to stay on track.
A disciple trusts the Lord. The only reason my grandson climbed into my lap was because he knew and trusted me. In the same way, our willingness to let God lead is dependent upon our understanding of who He is. Just consider this: Who has more knowledge—you or the omniscient Lord, who knows the past, present, and future? Why in the world would we rely on our own limited comprehension when He understands everything about us and knows what’s waiting around the corner? He sees every segment of our lives and will faithfully guide us along the best path if we’ll just trust and follow Him with all our heart.
A disciple acknowledges the Lord. Trust in God leads to submission, because we recognize that He has the right to direct every step we take. That’s why Proverbs 3:6 tells us to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. We can’t pick and choose the times we’ll submit to His authority and expect to stay on a right path. When we’re not in the center of His will, we stumble around and encounter obstacles. Not only do we end up wasting time and energy, but the journey is also more difficult.
God’s straight path isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s always best. Even the difficulties we encounter fit into His plan because they teach us to trust Him. Looking back over my life, I can see His hand protecting and directing me in so many ways. When I left home to go to college, I had only 75 dollars in my pocket. However, that wasn’t a problem for the Lord. He simply provided a scholarship. He had promised to provide for my needs and gave me exactly what I needed at precisely the right time.
The Lord wants us to realize that He is the supreme, omnipotent Ruler of the universe, who is capable, ready, and willing to deal with every situation. One of the verses that has repeatedly reassured me of His watchful care is Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” What is concerning you today? Is it health issues, financial needs, a job situation, or a broken relationship? The only way to have peace in these situations is to trust the Lord and let Him lead, knowing that He’s always working for your best interests.
A disciple accepts the Lord’s discipline. If we’re going to let God direct our path, we’ll also experience His loving discipline. Think of it not as punishment but rather as correction. He sees when we’ve gone astray and loves us too much to let us continue down that path. Discipline is necessary because without an incentive to change course, we’ll miss the blessings that result from following Him.
When discipline comes, we generally respond in one of two ways—we either rebel against it or embrace it. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” If we choose to see our troubles from this perspective, our moaning and complaining will become praise and gratitude to God.
I’ve often had to say, “Lord, I don’t understand why this is happening. It’s painful, and I don’t like it. But I know that You are wiser than I am, so I’m going to thank You for loving me enough to correct me.” The most important thing is that I end up in the center of God’s will and can accomplish what He wants me to do, according to His schedule.
I would like to challenge you to let Proverbs 3:5-6 become an anchor verse in your life. It will encourage you to let God lead you according to His perfect will. I’ve been a Christian for many years, and not only has He gotten me down the hill safely every time, but those moments have also been the most exciting ones in my life. So when He asks you to do something that seems beyond your abilities, decide to trust Him, and say, “Okay, Lord—let’s go!”