The Seduction of Knowledge

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.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones. – Proverbs 3:5-8

Water Lily at Mercer Botanic Gardens

I recall the first time I encountered this passage in a meaningful way. The message that was shared pointed us to the final phrase of the passage: “It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” I loved the thought: trusting God is a physically-healthy thing to do. 

Years later I began to unpack the first part of the verse: “do not lean on your own understanding.” Those words call for trust in God, not reliance on being able to answer the question, “Why?”. 

There is so much in me that revolts against the idea of not being able to understand why something is happening. If I can understand it, I think I can control it. Or at least I can manage it. But such an approach to life never works in the long term. We end up tying large weights on thin wires. One by one they break and fall to the ground. Ping! Plop. Ping! Plop. Ping! PLOP.

Faith in God provides strong cables for the heavy weights of life’s burdens. God’s shoulders are broad. His strength is boundless. He has crushed sin, Satan, and death under the feet of his Son.

When we trust in God we don’t try to figure out how to deal with the problems he alone can dispatch. Nor do we imagine that if we just understood we’d be OK with the trouble we’re experiencing. 

Recently I became aware of a significant problem to which I had previously I been unaware. The only thing that changed, however, was my awareness. And although I am able to begin a battle against the trouble I now know, my knowledge of it didn’t make it worse. It simply alerted me to its presence. 

That knowledge can take me one of two ways. I can be drawn to try to  understand and manage it. Or I can hang it on the strong cable of God’s goodness, love, mercy, faithfulness, and strength. I look forward to the health that such trust will bring to me and all who trust in him. 

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