By Shari Hervold
Proverbs 3:5-6 admonishes us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” To trust in someone means to have assured reliance on their character, veracity, and strength. Here we are told to trust in the Lord whole-heartedly. Specifically, what does that look like to the widow?
Most widows have lost the one earthly individual they trusted enough to share their lives with, expose their emotions to, bear the children of, and to whom they have looked to for carrying out the jobs around the house requiring physical strength. In addition, for those more serious decisions, the widow was part of a team, weighing pros and cons before arriving at a decision. Now she finds herself cast in a solo role where decisions still need to be made, children may still need emotional, if not physical, support, and those jobs requiring physical strength still need to be completed. In addition, not only is the widow now alone, she is often very lonely and dealing with a myriad of emotions, often overcome with tears when she least expects them. While dealing with all of this, she is acutely aware that life must go on and she is the one to maintain control over hers. Often, not wishing to bother others in her life, she slogs along, keeping herself busy to avoid coming to terms with the void in her life…until she realizes that she has been performing empty motions.
In this scripture God invites you, precious widow, to trust in Him with the entire of your life, withholding nothing from Him. He realizes that you are a frail mortal with only a fragmentary view of your life. Your understanding is limited; His is limitless. We often harbor the misconception that if we understand, then we will have peace about a situation. So what happens when we don’t understand or perhaps even worse, we think we’ve figured something out only to realize we were mistaken? God here lets us know that our peace is contingent on Him and our trust in Him. His thoughts are far above ours. I especially love the line that invites us to acknowledge him in all our ways – yes, even those day-to-day, seemingly inconsequential decisions, hurts, disappointments –give them to God and He will direct you. God knows all about your frailties, your grief, your frustrations, even your anger, so He invites you to trust Him enough to commit your life into His keeping because of His great love for you. He doesn’t shake his finger at you to shame you for your feelings, your failings, your inadequacies and inabilities. His love for you has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do. That’s why this scripture is so precious to the widow. He knows that you’ve lost your life’s partner. He understands the turmoil you feel at times, even better than you do, and wants you to trust Him to make your life secure in His love and protection. Verse six gives us the promise that when we trust in God and forsake our efforts to figure out everything for ourselves, then He will direct our paths. He’s a God who is smart enough to figure out anything; nothing confounds Him! If you are experiencing some personal pain or turmoil in your life right now, I encourage you to meditate on the words of this scripture, and rest well tonight knowing that your life is in His hands.