Scratch that…I KNOW I need it. :)
Really, the truths laid out in this Proverb are a major part of one of the things the Lord has been working in me over the past two years. But things have gotten more intense since around February and, since then, I have often found myself in this proverb or reading verses similar to it in content and intent, as well as having many opportunities to apply it to life and be reminded of what it says.
For example… Recently I was involved in an outreach ministry at my church called Alpha. One night, our table leader asked us to turn to Proverbs 16. He then asked me to demonstrate praying scripture back to the Lord. I almost chuckled out loud as I read the verses he asked me to use. They were:
Proverbs 16:1-3 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
What I think when I read that passage and what I prayed that night was something like this: Lord, you know the plans and hopes that are in my heart. You know how long they’ve been there and how dear they are to me. Please help me to submit them to your will and respond accordingly. Help me not to strive after anything other than knowing more of you and being pleasing to you and trust you to order my steps. Help me to trust your ways and hope for your plans, because you promise that they are good and perfect. You know there are times when I can deceive myself into thinking that what I want is what you want…and you also know in those moments the true condition of my heart…that it is to have what I want and not to necessary to submit to you and your ways. Please help me to see that motivation clearly and repent of it. Help me to submit my hopes and dreams to you and not hold them so tightly that I can’t see what you have or be glad for your plan for me. Help me to desire only that which will bring glory to you and trust you to deliver a hope and a future full of good things.
For me those hopes and dreams are and have always been about marriage. Until about a year ago, I was obsessed with the thought…and equally obsessed with beating myself up with all the reasons I was not yet married. But, in His kindness, the Lord has shown me that I am still single for a good and perfect purpose and NOT because I am too fat or too ugly or too immature or too shy or too silly or too annoying or too anything else bad I can think of...or because I am not enough or something else. I am still single because that is His plan and can honestly say that I am thankful for what He has done in me through this time of extended singleness (I am sure my future husband will be very thankful too). I am also thankful for all that has gone before (hurts and all), because I know that that too was purposeful and meant for good. As this proverb also says:
The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the
wicked for the day of trouble (Proverbs 16:4).
Isn’t that amazing?!?!
Even the most painful things in our lives are intended for our good.
Only God can do that!
I know that I would not be who I am, were it not for the years of hurt and rejection and hopelessness…I might not even know the Lord. Certainly, He used my past to draw me to Him…to help me realize my need of Him. And yet, I know I still don’t always look and sound like I really believe what this passage is saying. But by God’s grace, I don’t look and sound the way I did a couple of years ago, either.
He is good and faithful...even when we are not!
To be continued…