“…and i do not have the understanding of a man [for i do not know what i do not know.] every word of God is tested and refined [like silver]; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him. do not add to His words…” – proverbs 30:2b, 5-6a (amplified bible)
something i have really been pondering the last few weeks – God’s way has NEVER failed, and my way almost ALWAYS has failed (caused drama, disappointment, issues…maybe not immediately, but always eventually)… and yet, somehow, whenever i am faced with a choice, i still contemplate between my way and God’s way, as if the choice isn’t already obvious. i am choosing between perfection and flaw, yet i take time to consider both….?!? it is so clearly foolish and yet i find myself there all the time.
i love that this scripture says “i do not know what i do not know.” how true is that of us? we have no idea what tomorrow holds, what even the next few minutes hold! we plan and trust and hope, but the truth is, we really have no idea – we don’t even know what we don’t know! life changes in split seconds, and most often, we never see those changes coming. yet, the God Who is the end from the beginning, Who sees the whole plot and every detail of the story, Who is not bound to space or time like we are, Who has a flawless track record… somehow, we aren’t so sure about trusting Him – better to trust in ourselves. us, who know nothing, who are totally bound to the present moment, who can’t see into the next five minutes, whose track records are littered with failures…WE seem to be the best option. (it doesn’t make much sense, but i find myself reasoning like that too often.)
the scripture says that God’s Word, every word, is TESTED and REFINED…His way has been tested. it’s been proven. time and time again, generation to generation, His Word has been tested. “He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him.” this tells me that God protects those who have the faith to trust Him – and He IS His Word. we so often say we trust God, but then we go opposite direction of His counsel, and when things don’t work out, we feel “betrayed” by God…but, in truth, we never really put our trust in Him because we didn’t do it His way. the outcome was determined by our decision to go our own way. if i truly trust God, then that faith will cause me to take Him at His word, no matter what…and those who trust in God will be protected! His Word, His way, His time…it will keep me safe. the only danger comes when i remove myself from them!
my pastor was challenging us a few weeks ago to “stay steadfast in all seasons” – regardless of the season we are in, to stay the course, stay obedient, stay faithful. i like how the scripture above ends with “don’t add to the Word of God.” i don’t know about you, but i find that i often add “my season” to the Word. i know what God would want me to do, what the Bible tells me to do, but “what i am going through right now” gives me a good enough reason to adjust that Word or to ignore it altogether. i add my feelings to the Word. i am led by my feelings instead of using the Word to lead my feelings.
i think of Jesus – when He had fasted for 40 days, the Bible says He was “extremely weak and famished.” (matt. 4:2) when satan came to take advantage of Christ’s hunger, Jesus did NOT lean on how He felt at that moment. He kept using the Word as His response. i learn so much from that – no matter how i feel at the moment, no matter how easy it would be to justify “turning this stone into bread,” i just lean on and depend on the Word and stick to it, no matter what, and that is how i stay safe. i cannot depend on how i feel in the moment!
“feelings follow the man.” this is a POWERFUL statement that we all need to learn. we have become so mastered by our emotions that we so often allow them to lead us, to decide for us. yet, feelings WILL (eventually) follow the decision. using my marriage relationship as an example, the day i married my husband, i FELT IT. i felt it DEEPLY. he was dressed to kill, i was in beautiful gown, we were surrounded by family and friends on a PERFECT day… it all went so well and so beautifully and i felt butterflies and joy and happiness and all the feels!! since then, we have had some days where i have felt frustrated, angry, disappointed, hurt, bored, irritated (as he has as well!) – does that mean our marriage is over? that we are finished? because the feelings from the wedding day don’t match the feelings on a rough day? no. we are not following our feelings. we follow the Word (we try to!). sometimes i make the foolish choice to give into my feelings of frustration at the moment, and every time, it ends badly. EVERY TIME i do it “my way,” it ends badly. and EVERY TIME i stick to the Word (in spite of how i feel), it ends so well. when i choose patience and humility and wisdom… it always ends well. not just in my marriage – in every area of life, i have found that my feelings will follow my choices, eventually. instead of following my feelings, i am learning to let my feelings follow me!
feelings are temporary. they change, they swing, they fade, they stop, they grow… they are so, so undependable. but the challenge with feelings is that we FEEL them! what i mean by that is that they are so strong and powerful and convincing when they are there that we can be so fooled into thinking they are correct just because they are strong! don’t be fooled by feelings – jeremiah 17:9 says, “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things…” – my own heart will deceive me! but the Word never changes, never fails and will never lead astray. when the storm comes and the winds blow and i am so strongly feeling what i’m feeling, what keeps me grounded and safe and secure is the Word. feelings are terrible masters and treacherous leaders – on Christ, the Solid Rock, i stand. all other ground is sinking sand!
can i encourage you today? trust God. trust His Word. trust His time. make the right choice, no matter how you feel. the night will pass, the darkness will end, the hard season will be over…and you never want to look back and realize that you made such bad choices because of such temporary feelings. use the Word to measure, the Word to guide, the Word to decide. it is proven. it is tested. God has never failed. He never will.