“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) A verse that is easy to say, but hard to live out.
We like the idea of it, but IRL it’s way harder.
How can I trust and obey God when I don’t understand what He’s doing or why He’s asking me to do something?
I learned the answer to that from my five and six year old boys.
A LESSON DURING BATH TIME
Last Tuesday night, I was going through the familiar motions of a bedtime ritual at our house. Bath time.
My boys were happily playing boats in the sudsy bath water and it was time to wash their hair with every mom’s go to: Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. It’s not their favorite part of bath time, and because of that, it’s still a struggle sometimes to not get water in their eyes.
Here’s how the ritual goes: I put the golden shampoo on their wet little heads, scrub them clean, and then I cup my hand at the top their forehead and tell them to look up at the ceiling so I can pour warm, clean water from the faucet down the back of their heads and rinse the soap and dirt off.
Being the little boys that they are, they usually don’t listen and instead look down and cover their eyes with their own little hands.
It’s during these times, that they end up crying with soap in their eyes, because they failed to listen to me.
As I went through this particular routine this week, The Lord spoke to my heart and made me see how much trust I was asking of my boys. In their limited understanding, they rationally think, “if water is coming down on me and I look up, I’ll get that water in my eyes.”
And, in all reality, that would be true IF they didn’t have a gentle and loving mama who was shielding their eyes with her hand. At five and six years old, they can’t comprehend that I have more control over the water than just pouring it down on top of them.
WHAT DOES BATHTIME HAVE TO DO WITH ME?
You might be thinking, “Cute story, but what on earth does that have to do with me?”
Here it is: in your walk with Christ, you can be prone to resorting to your own strength to solve a problem.
It’s the adult-version of looking down and covering your eyes to stop the soap from getting in.
I get it, because I’m the same way.
If you asked me, “Do you trust God?” Of course, the answer in my mind is yes.
But my actions speak more of what’s really in my heart.
When I don’t look up and fix my eyes on Jesus, when I, instead, try to fix problems on my own, I am saying that:
- I don’t trust that God has a better, more accurate view of my circumstances.
- I don’t think that He can do a better job of taking care of me than I can take care of myself
- what He has asked me to do couldn’t really be in my best interest.
God is more than trustworthy to handle the circumstance that may be “raining” down on you.
If you saw your circumstances from His vantage point, you may just see His gentle hand directing those circumstances to a place where they would do the most good: to wash away the dirt and grime of our life and bring us out fresh and clean.
And just like bath time, this is a ritual that He chooses to bring into our lives on a regular basis.
GOD IS TEACHING US TRUST AND OBEDIENCE
Why does God bring that ritual into our lives? Because He wants us to learn how to obey. You see, trust goes hand in hand with obedience.
When we’re given instructions or hard circumstances, we may not always understand them. But one thing we know for certain is that we can trust God. And He expects obedience from His children.
When we learn to obey, especially when we don’t understand, we end up happier and safer than if we hadn’t heeded His warning.
When we look up, we can fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith.
And when we fix on eyes on Him, it because easier to say, “Lord I choose to surrender my will and my desire to follow my own understanding, and I’m choosing to obey without knowing why.”
Just like that old song: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.