What do you think of when you hear the advice in proverbs that we should not lean on our own understanding:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Does this come naturally to you?
I wouldn’t suppose so.
Not just because it goes against my own nature.
I believe it goes against human nature itself.
We like to have it all figured out, don’t we.
Like to be in control even, but at least like to be in the know what’s going on.
“Knowledge is power”
This quote is attributed to Francis Bacon, who lived in the 16th century and was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. His works are seen as developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution. Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. He argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued science could be achieved by use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. Although his most specific proposals about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have long-lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon the father of the scientific method. This method was a new rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, whose practical details are still central to debates on science and methodology (source: wikipedia).
This is in my take a significant description of how the world likes to view itself.
Of how “we” like to view our world.
We like to understand everything and like to exclude misleading ourselves by using “science” and “proof” and also, we believe that we can exclude being mislead by others by educating ourselves, accumulating more knowledge, reading more and knowing more than others – even in bible believing settings did I notice these attitudes – when the group first comes together and people like to talk about Christian books they are currently reading or have recently read, sort of names dropping… as if it will qualify them “more” for a better understanding of GOD or for a more proven theology, as if they cannot be wrong, as if they have the purest doctrine….
Or sometimes, some people would quote scriptures all the time to gain approval within the group, which I can relate to more and which I have a greater love for, at least they are not quoting human authors, but GOD HIMSELF and it does show that they are acquainted with HIM, which makes me personally more prone to listen to what they have to say, but it also depends, because sometimes, I find the quotes very much taken out of context or at least am I of the opinion that you can prove almost any point with scriptures (even satanists use the bible to prove their points!!!) and quoting the bible alone doesn’t make a pure doctrine in my view, but it is a good sign when a believer knows his or her bible.
See, that also shows my own desire to understand everything!
Me, I am perfectly aware that I am not the most skilled bible scholar yet and that there is a lot I yet have to learn. And I admire people who know their bible and I have often noticed that I can find some inspiration from those people – perhaps more than from those who mainly read Christian books or watch Christian films…
But do I understand everything GOD does?
I don’t even understand all of HIS thoughts I have come across in the bible, or all the principles HE has laid out there for us.
For me, it definitely seems like a life long process to understand GOD more – as I sometimes come across things which I did not know or did not understand before or did not understand as deeply and then, I have a revelation, or hear a word from a pastor, or read another scripture which will help me to add another piece to the puzzle.
That still is the human / knowledge gathering / “scientific” approach though.
And if you have ever spoken to an unbeliever about your faith or to someone who is wavering or doubting GOD, you might have had the same experience I regularly have, which is that I am coming to the end of being able to explain reasons…. this can happen quite quickly…… and I can feel their turmoil and sometimes they are angry and defiant and are accusing GOD of being indifferent or even wrong in how HE handles matters.
And then, I don’t know what to say.
I have even been there myself.
When I thought GOD “should” or “should have” done or said something or should have ruled over a matter in a certain way or should respond to me or to a situation or to someone else in a certain way.
And yet, HE does not.
Nobody will tell GOD what to do!
Nobody will change GOD.
Like it or not.
HE is GOD.
And HE will say, do and think what HE will.
When I come to this point, either in my own life or in a conversation, I find that there is no sense in continuing this line of thought or reasoning or in trying to figure things out more, because it normally doesn’t lead anywhere.
Have you been there, my friend?
There are examples in the bible, too, of course:
For instance the man who was born blind:
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
There are not only examples of characters in the bible not understanding why GOD did what HE did, there is also a lot of content in the bible when I don’t have a clue why GOD did what HE did and then there is also a lot of stuff happening in my own life and in other people’s lives when I don’t understand HIM at all.
But can I figure it out?
Sometimes – when I can identify a sin which led to this situation or consequence… or when I can find something I (or the person concerned) had done wrong to displease GOD or to grieve the HOLY SPIRIT or to open the door for evil spirits to enter them or their lives or to bring a curse upon themselves….
Often times though, I have no clue why GOD is dealing with this in the manner HE does.
And trying to figure it out will not get me anywhere.
The next thing I can do is pray and ask – and sometimes, THE HOLY SPIRIT will teach me or show me something… but not every time.
There are times when all my efforts will not lead anywhere.
When I have no questions left to ask.
No idea where to look, what to pray.
When all I can do is admit that I don’t understand, when I can only acknowledge that my understanding is too limited to grasp what is going on and what GOD is intending or thinking.
When I can only leave it to GOD, when that’s all I can do – and trust HIM.
Sometimes and depending on how close this matter is to my heart, it can take a long time for me to get to this point.
In some matters, I have not arrived there yet…
I do know that I don’t really have control over many things, I do know that control is just a concept and that we like to think we are in control as it gives us the sense of power, but deep inside do I also know that GOD is the only one truly in control.
Over my life and over everything and everyone else.
Because HE made us and made everything that was made…
Trusting HIM makes it easier – once I CAN…
But it is still hard to trust when I don’t understand.
So this is one of the pieces of advice I struggle to take.
To lean not on my own understanding…
And yet, from when I managed to take it an do so – I also know that it is the only way to proceed and progress – ESPECIALLY in those matters where I don’t understand why GOD has dealt with them the way HE has…
Not sure if this makes any sense to you, my friend, or if this is helping anyone – but I came to see that NOT trying to understand, not to lean on our concepts, on our findings and conclusions and on our ways of thinking and reasoning and arguing and seeing a “thing”, a matter, a situation – can actually open up a new opportunity for this situation or matter to actually shift – letting go of our limited view and perspective can actually open new aspects, ways and make room for new outcomes.
In my understanding.
If you will…
It can give GOD the opportunity to take over and to move in the situation.
And if it is HIS will, HE will make something beautiful out of it, out of us when we trust and do not lean on our own understanding, do not hold on to our concepts and views and interpretations…
I find it easier to let my views and thoughts go and open this door for the SPIRIT to move in this matter when I also leave the realm of words and enter the different sphere of relating to GOD via music… this is one of my favorite worship songs and it is about this topic – I hope it will bless you:
I hope and pray that this will inspire, encourage, heal and bless you.
And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life, that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.