Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV 1984
Recently Jesus gave me a bit of rescue in the phrase “Trust Without Understanding”. It surprised me. To be honest it shocked me a bit.
Like most of us, I have grown up in a world of reason and understanding. Science and proof. Mental ascension as the arbiter of truth. I mean, that’s what we do right? That’s how most of us live day-to-day. Even in the midst of post-modern relativism, our day-to-day lives are bound by our own understanding.
Yet, I have come to realize that most of the fear in my life has been driven by the limits of my own understanding. Fear of losing my job. Fear of illness. Fear about the economy. Fear of politics. Fear of … fill in the blank.
I am mortal. Finite. Limited. Living in the natural world, I can only see and understand what occurs within my field of view. And, the more fear is involved, the narrower that field of view becomes. Like a police officer or a warrior in a gun fight, the greater the fear the more limited the vision.
Our bodily fight or flight response naturally causes us to focus more on the perceived threat and tunnel vision occurs. The greater the perceived threat, the narrower our vision.
But we are amphibians. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we live in two very active worlds; the natural and the spiritual. All of us readily acknowledge the natural world. It’s the world in which we breathe, rain falls, and we skin our knees. It is what most people call “real”. But, as Christians, if we are to fully step into the abundant life Jesus speaks of, we must acknowledge and engage the spiritual world. The world in which angels and demons collide. The world where the Spirit of God moves with everything from physical healing to a tweak of the heart in the middle of the night that changes the course of your life. The crossover of the two is where we hear God speak. Feel God move. Experience the “peace that transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Jesus, knowing how conflicted we are as people living primarily in the post-Eden natural world, spoke boldly about fear and, thankfully, the antidote.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” – John 14:1 NLT
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NIV
Jesus himself is the antidote to fear; accessed through trust. When we begin to fear he tells us to look to himself and trust. We may not see a solution or a way out. But Jesus tells us to trust in him no matter what. To trust in him without understanding.
Paul learned that lesson and shared it with the Philippians when he said, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Paul learned that in his natural experience of the world around him, there were things he could not see which limited his vision and threatened to create fear and anxiety. His antidote was to tap into the spiritual world for clarity. To lean into Jesus, without being able to understand rationally what was going on in his circumstances, for strength, courage, and rescue.
A long time ago now, years apart, Jesus asked me two questions that have defined my life as an amphibian and my walk with him … “Do you trust me?” and “Is your fear greater than my love?”
So today I hold them out to you for your response to him. Regardless of the circumstances in your life. No matter what is going on in and around you in this natural world. I encourage you to lean into the reality of your amphibian life and trust. No matter what.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10