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. -- Proverbs 3:5-6
It is a familiar couple of verses, ones that we have all read and heard, perhaps quoted or added to some young person's birthday card. If I am not careful, though, this wise spiritual counsel will be overlooked, consigned to the shelf where I keep all the things I know too well. Can a thing be so central that it is forgotten?
What I need is not always what I want. Certainly what I want is not always what is best. As I have noted before, I don't have much trouble obeying God so long as His will and mine are in agreement. The old nature, like the proverbial broken clock, will point the right way now and then. Or, as my brother once said, I'm easy to get along with if you let me have my way.
We have probably all had the experience of wanting something that we thought would be the only thing we would ever want only find little satisfaction when we finally acquired it. It is almost a law of human nature that everything we do get, no matter how wonderful it seemed when it was not ours, loses some of its allure and attraction once we possess it. I have found that is one of the best features of surprise and unsought gifts we receive. Something I had no idea I ever wanted can become one of my most prized possessions.
Most all of us Pentecostals have a special understanding of Romans 8:26-27, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." It can be hard to know how to pray in every situation. Yet a believer doesn't have to be Pentecostal or Charismatic to yield to the Spirit of God, to say with the Lord, "Nevertheless, Thy will be done." It's so easy a Primitive Baptist can do it.
As I have matured - a little - I have come to realize that socks and drawers and t-shirts are actually pretty good things to get for Christmas or one's birthday. The latest electronic gadget may be fascinating for a day or two, and it may be handy on occasion, but underwear, like the mercies of God, should be new every morning. Or at least clean every morning. It is nice to have new socks to replace the ones I've worn holes in or to pull out a t-shirt that isn't stretched, threadbare and stained.
God gives us wisdom so we can act righteously, sensibly, and courageously when we are under pressure. Sometimes He gives us relationships that are one-sided, where we are doing a lot of giving, serving, supporting, and encouraging because the more we give out, the more He can pour in. We find ourselves in places that hurt so much we want to fall apart, but we need to stand, so He gives us strength.
We say, "Trust God. Have faith in God." It sounds trite and not terribly helpful, but it is the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel. Do you think it is possible to forget what I want for a while and be happy with what God gives me? I don't know, but I want to find out.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, ... who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's (Psalm 103:1-5).