I wonder how many chapters history will devote to the early 21st century. Simmering problems, like climate change, racism, and the fate of democracy, have come to a head in the wake of this endless Covid pandemic, and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. We are at a crossroads to be sure, and the future of America and the world hangs in the balance. Will our grandchildren’s lives be better or worse? We know they will not be the same as now. History marches on.
Years ago, people who “sat on the fence” about issues were called “mugwumps” because their mug (face) hung on one side and their wump (rump) on the other. Mugwumps no longer exist because even no decision is a decision. Whom will you vote for in 2022? Will you vote at all? Either choice will lead to an outcome.
And that’s just about exercising our rights as citizens to point America toward a conservative, middle of the road, or liberal direction over the next few decades. What about those everyday decisions we face every day? What you put on the end of your fork will affect your health, so what’s for supper tonight?
A menu is not a frightening choice compared to the conundrums we face when walking through life’s darkest valleys. We crave wisdom, direction, and a sense of peace when, instead, all we experience is mounting confusion and anxiety. What medical treatment would be best, or should I have surgery to save my life? Should we let Grandma die without pain, or fight like the blazes to keep her alive another year?
Those crossroads plague every one of us. They are many and relentless, making us feel like we’re constantly playing whack-a-mole with our future. That is why my favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will guide your path.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
What a relief to know that I can trust completely the mighty God who spoke the universe into creation. There is no ambiguity in Him, no self-interest or ulterior motive, other than loving me beyond words because He is who He is, and worthy of all glory. I have trustworthy friends, but we are all flawed. God is not. I imagine myself leaning into his sovereignty as I would rest against His chest.
“Lean not on your own understanding”
That’s a tough one. God gave us brains, and as we use them, we learn more about the world He created. We’ve discovered antibiotics and other “wonder drugs,” and now civilians can take a costly jaunt into sub-orbital space. Yet Jesus, through Whom all things were created, entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Seems asymmetrical to me. There’s something I’m not getting, here. Well, there’s a lot I don’t “get,” even though I’m the Queen of Nerds.
I can’t tell you how many pearls of wisdom I thought I possessed, only to discover years later, that I was dead wrong. It’s humbling and I’ve learned the hard way to not put all my weight on my own understanding.
“In all your ways, acknowledge Him”
A person can acknowledge only someone they know or know something about. I meet you on the street, and I know who you are, so I greet you. I don’t run up to greet strangers, lest they cross the street quickly. (Something I said, mister? ) But if I’m introduced to a stranger, it is only polite to acknowledge him or her. Usually, the person introducing us will say something like, “George is the head librarian in the town of Greece,” or “just moved into the Smith’s old house, down the street.”
In order to acknowledge the Lord, I need to learn about Him and the best way to do that is to study Scripture. The pastors at our church often say, “Don’t believe me. Be like the Bereans.” The Bereans were a skeptical bunch and checked everything St. Paul said with their Scripture. Only when Scripture backed Paul up, did they believe him. Thus, they grew in their knowledge about God and knew they could trust what Paul was telling them.
“And He will guide your path”
That brings me to all those thorny decisions I would love to avoid but can’t. Knowing I can trust my Lord, that He is gazillion times smarter than I (like an ant’s brain vs. Einstein’s), I will ask Him for guidance by sticking my nose into the Bible and prayerfully hunt for guidance. (Sometimes I end up hitting the side of my head with a big DUH!)
If I were to paraphrase these verses I would say, “God’s in charge, not me. Thank you, God!”