It was one of those times in my life when the actions and words of many other people were greatly affecting me, my family, my church, and my life. Everything seemed astir.
I went for long runs…for exercise and rejuvenation…but I spent those miles stewing over happenings and events over which I had no control. I mulled over conversations and people’s expressions and things I’d heard second hand as I washed the dinner dishes. And even when I was supposed to be focused on helping my children with homework or playing a game with the family or grocery shopping, I attempted to sort out the details of my confusing life.
I just wanted to understand. I knew I couldn’t change things on my own. I couldn’t fix the problems. But if I could just understand why people said the things they did, how God was working all things together for our good, where this was leading, when it would come to an end, and what was the point of it all…I would feel better…right?
Are you trying to wrap your brain around something today? Is there a litany of questions or scenarios or suppositions playing through the reels in your mind over and over again? Do you find yourself distracted and consumed with your thoughts…thoughts about a puzzle you don’t have all the pieces to solve?
We think that if we just understand, then we’ll have peace. The problem may not go away, we reason, but at least we’ll be ok because we finally understand it all.
But the Bible tells us to quit seeking to understand the puzzles of life. Scripture assures us that understanding is not the key to peace.
In fact, wise King Solomon, the man with the greatest dose of understanding in the history of the world, was miserable. His “understanding” led him to question the purpose of life, to grapple with his own significance, and to feel utterly defeated in the end. God graciously gave him understanding, but that understanding, since it was not coupled with a healthy dependence on God, ultimately led him to turn his back on truth. Solomon’s life ended in disarray, with too many marriages and too many gods.
Still, probably in his younger years before his wealth of understanding eventually drove him to question it all, he wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6:
Today, if you really want peace and the ability to move gracefully through the mess that is your life, choose trusting instead of understanding. In understanding we often find more confusion and mayhem than we bargained for. In trust we find peace, real peace. In trust we find God.
When you’re tempted to try to figure things out, how do you convince yourself to trust God instead? What does trust look like in your life?