Do you ever feel like what God is asking you to do just doesn’t make sense? You feel a nudge in your spirit or a prompting in your heart to do or say something, but you can see no earthly reason why?
Perhaps you feel led to say an encouraging word to the woman ringing up your groceries, or maybe you feel the call to a new career. You’re aware of a stirring, an urge to action—then your logic steps in: Why? Isn’t this kind of random? What if people think I’m weird?
When I don’t understand, I often feel uncomfortable, even afraid, as if something is wrong.
But what if it is actually normal to not always know the how or why?
In Proverbs 3:5 (NLT) we are directed to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
Because this verse is so familiar in Christian culture, it’s easy to give it a passing nod of agreement.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about what it’s really saying: If we follow God’s leading and not our own, we’ll be asked to do things that just don’t make sense to us—things that are beyond our understanding.
I see lack of understanding as a warning sign, a cause for distress. I cling to my understanding like an inflatable life preserver, convinced that without it I will be lost in the depths of the sea. I think I need it to survive. But what Solomon’s proverb tells us is just the opposite—if I let go of my own way of thinking, I will succeed.
About a year ago, I learned the counseling agency where I worked was closing. Not long after this news was made public, someone from another counseling agency called me unexpectedly and offered me a job, but I felt a clear sense that I was not to accept it nor seek any other counseling job. I believed that God was calling me out of the counseling field, but I had questions and concerns: How will this impact me financially? What about all the years I spent earning my degree? Was that for nothing? What if I’m hearing God wrong?
I had a choice—trust my logical mind or trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Despite my lack of understanding of how it would work out, I took the plunge and followed God’s direction. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done—it opened a whole new vocation as a writer and coach and brought me to a deeper level of fulfillment, purpose, and life satisfaction. Understanding came eventually, but at the time of the decision there was a lot I couldn’t see.
When anxiety flares up over the “not depending on our own understanding” part of walking with God, here’s a thought to take comfort in: not understanding doesn’t mean there is no logic—just not our kind of logic.
God says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts…And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
God sees a panorama, I see a pinpoint. Like a wise mentor with infinite wisdom and experience, His guidance is always worth abiding by. He is love, and He will never let us down.
As I have spent time meditating on Proverbs 3, I’ve felt a new sense of freedom to trust what God says without having to understand. If he wants me to say a kind word to someone at the grocery store—an act that may seem completely random to me—I’ll remember that He sees the bigger picture. If He wants me to make a change in my business or how I spend my time, I’ll trust He’s leading me down the right path.
Of course, I’m not saying God never wants us to understand or that we shouldn’t seek understanding—He created us as intelligent beings with a desire to know and discover. He also promises that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us into all truth. Yet there is still an element of mystery to our life here on Earth.
In those times of mystery, instead of seeing our lack of understanding as a signal to worry or a sign that something is wrong, perhaps we should consider whether it might just be that something bigger than us is going on, something beautiful and exciting that we get to be a part of.
Here’s one thing I do know: if we trust and follow God, we can be assured the outcome, whatever it is, will be good.
Reflect: Is there any area where you're feeling God's direction but it doesn't seem to make much sense? Could it be His higher way of thinking is at work?
Meditate: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
Move: Is there anything you feel you need to do today in response to God's prompting?
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