When my husband and I lived in Nepal, he worked as a civil engineer on a hydro project for a couple of years. Then he was asked to oversee a renovation project at a mission hospital. One day he leaned on a brick retaining wall at the construction site. To his shock, the wall collapsed. He fell backward and down several feet, and he suffered a broken wrist. He came home from work that day sporting a plaster cast.
I’ve been mulling over Proverbs 3:5 for a couple of weeks: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding” (NLT). Other versions use the word lean rather than depend.
A few days ago, as a friend and I were discussing this verse, the memory of Gene and the retaining wall suddenly came to mind. It seemed a perfect illustration.
Like the faulty brick wall, our understanding about difficult people and situations is more-often- than-not faulty. It’s influenced by a number of different things including our emotions at any given moment and the lens through which we generally view life. That lens is influenced by our upbringing, past experiences, belief system, and more.
Our human understanding is sadly incomplete and often inaccurate. Leaning solely on it will bring disappointment. It may even yield painful results. That’s why God gives us the caution: Do not depend on your own understanding. He wants us to lean instead on His Holy Spirit for wisdom and direction because He knows we’ll flourish as a result.
Let’s ask God to show us whether we’re leaning on our own faulty understanding in regards to a particular situation or relationship. If so, let’s heed His caution and learn to lean on His wisdom instead.
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