"So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you." Proverbs 22:19
"Talking is not teaching and listening is not learning." I am crediting Alvin Reid with this quote. It is one of those personalized proverbial statements that has a great root system in the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs 22: 19 challenges us to learn that life is all about trusting in the Lord. Putting our confidence, and faith in God is the beginning of wisdom. This reverence, deference and respect we give to His plan for our life is the key to our eternal salvation, and results in a life filled with meaning and purpose.
How do we learn to trust in the Lord? When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God. When we come to the end of our rope, we need to stop making rope. When we lose confidence in our own ability, we are more likely to make ourselves available to Him. This is important to learn. God is more interested in our AVAILABILITY than our ABILITY.
The book of Luke records one of the most comprehensive pictures of the prayer life of Jesus. He made Himself available to God. When He showed up to pray, God showed up in His prayer life. The early disciples came to Jesus and said, "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1) They had never heard anyone pray like Jesus. More importantly, they had never seen anyone get answers to their prayers like Jesus. He was always praying for the impossible. They wanted to know His secret of turning the IMPOSSIBLE into the HIMPOSSIBLE. This ought to be filed under the warning: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR. Everyone knows we pray our best when things are at their worst. If we never had a crisis, we would probably relegate prayer to a level of irrelevance. It would be placed on the shelf with other non-essential devotional disciplines like fasting, and giving.
David came to the end of himself as recorded in Psalm 23 when a "shadow of death" passed over him. The most remarkable thing happened. He stopped talking about God, and started talking to God. He moved God out of the third person singular and started talking to Him one on one, face to face.
Paul came to the end of himself more than once. He had a "shadow of death" experience on one of his journeys, and said that he even despaired for his life. "Indeed we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises from the dead...He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us." (II Cor. 1:9-10)
Are you seeing a pattern here? Listening is not learning. You don't audit class in The School of Prayer. Once when Professor William Barclay was asked to comment on one his students, he said, "He is not one of my students. He just attends my classes." Well put. Showing up for class is not enough. Applying what you hear is where the real rubber meets the proverbial road.
Putting our trust in the Lord begins with an attitude of gratitude for what He has already done for us. In those early days of fatherhood, I felt pretty useless. As long as our baby daughters had no use for me, they didn't really warm up to me. The relationship was all about Dana. She had what they wanted, when they wanted it. How selfish! The good news is that their childish behavior did not last. Today I have a relationship with my daughters that has matured and brings great joy to me. They come to me for what they need, a personal relationship with their Dad. They trust that I will be there for them in the present, because I have been there for them in the past.
During this season of THANKS, I would like to suggest that trusting in the Lord could move from a proverb read to a principle applied. Trust is developed when we give THANKS to Him every day. This is how we begin to learn the meaning of , "I have taught you today, even you."
- Thanking: "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing."
- Him: "In everything give thanks,"
- Always: "for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:16-18
- Nearing: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8
- Knocking: "Knock and it shall be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
- Seeking: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
The season of THANKS is is a great time to renew our "trust in the Lord."