This post is extremely long, however, I DO encourage you to read it. I think that no matter the situation that you may be in, this will lift you up and help you look forward to brighter days ahead.
This past year has been a challenging one for my family. We have lost loved ones and felt many pains of sorrow. I personally have struggled with my physical health, and many questions have been left unanswered. Through all of our trying times, we have had the blessing of family, friends, and the promises from the Lord to buoy us up. I am so thankful for the truths that I have in my life. I was given the book “Personal Promises from the Lord to You” by Matthew O. Richardson for my birthday, and have recently been reading from it with Cody. This message calmed many of my fears and uncertainties of the future for me and my family. It is so comforting to know that each of us have people in our lives as well as a loving Heavenly Father to turn to at all times.
Your Path Will Be Directed
The book of Proverbs is considered a sampling of antidotes, experiences, and divine promises that are written by some of the wisest teachers of the time. More than just catchy phrases, these are statements shared by those who knew the law of God well and provided testimony of practical application of these principles in everyday living. The lord’s promise to direct our path bolsters our confidence in him and enables us to endure difficult times as well as to enjoy the goodness of life. Joseph Smith Wrote, “An actual sure knowledge to any person, that the course of life which he pursues is according to the will of God, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God without which no person can obtain eternal life. It was this that enabled the ancient saints to endure tall their afflictions and persecutions and to take joyfully the spoiling of their good, knowing (not merely believing) that they had a more enduring substance.”
Solomon is attributed by many to be the sage teacher of this particular proverb. To qualify for this promise, Solomon taught that we must “trust in the Lord with all thine hear; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” He also stated that we must “in all our (ways) acknowledge him”, “be not wise in our own eyes, “ and “depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).
Learning to trust in the Lord with all our hearts is not an easy task. We must not that this form of trust requires all of our hearts. We must trust in the Lord even when the Lord’s counsel is not convenient or does not makes sense to us. Wholehearted trust surpasses both our personal understanding and conventional wisdom. There will be times when the Lord directs us to paths that seem far too simple, too improbably, or downright foolish. As a result, we may not be able to see “how this is all going to work out” or we may feel that it “just doesn’t make any sense.” But remember Isaiah’s warming, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, an prudent in their own sight” (Isaiah 5:21). Think of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who laughed to herself when she overheard heavenly messengers telling her husband that she would bear a child (Genesis 18:12). To think that she, a woman of ninety-one years, could bring forth a child was not only improbable according to her own wisdom and the wisdom of others, but it was outlandish. However, with a change of heart, Sarah did bring for Isaac and was filled with laughter of joy (Genesis 21:6). In many ways, I am certain we have all felt a certain kinship with Sarah. I can think of personal times when there was drought of divine direction and it seemed divine guidance may never come. As a result, doubt and fear began to set in. I also remember times when God’s promptings did come and they initially seemed so out-of-touch that I felt embarrassed to share the plan with anyone else. But like Sarah, with faith, time and a willingness to enact God’s plan, I too have been filled with joy and find myself laughing about the uncertainty of the past.
Trusting in God more than trusting in our own wisdom, habits, traditions, culture, and thoughts requires more than a dedicated efforts. The central core of this type of trust is an abiding sense of humility. Such humility was modeled in Gethsemane as the Savior humble declared, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Fortunately, a direct outgrowth of this type of humility is patience. This is necessary for while God’s promises will certainly be fulfilled, they will be fulfilled “in his own tie, and in his own way, and according to his own will” (D&C 88:68).
Solomon taught that this promise of divine direction is contingent upon our willingness to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. He suggested that we acknowledge him by fearing him and departing from evil (Proverbs 3:7). Thus obedience to the Lord’s commandments is a natural requisite in trusting him and in recognizing him in all we do. It is also important to understand that as the Lord directs our paths, we must continually “confess his hand in all things” lest we offend him and kindle his wrath (D&C 59:21).
It is important to consider Solomon’s experience regarding this divine promise. When he trusted the Lord with all his heart and lived righteously, his paths were directed in ways that led to unprecedented talent, wisdom, and favor with the Lord. Although his methods seemed a bit unconventional at the time, the outcomes proved to be providential. Unfortunately, in his latter years, Solomon “turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11:4). As a result, he directed his own paths-according to his own ways-which ultimately led to ruin.
If we can muster the courage to keep God’s commandments tour very best ability, we ill begin to see God’s hand in our lives and qualify for companionship with the Holy Ghost. As we feel the spirit, we learn to recognize the Shepherd’s voice and his methods. This builds confidence and trust in him. So the next time you are prompted in ways that defy your own desires, wisdom, logic, or design, you can proceed with confidence. You have trod this path before and, with faith, you begin to recognize familiar landmarks from your previous journey. You recognize the Lord’s voice as it encourages you to go forward, you remember how he brings about his might works, and you recognize his patterns and understand his methods. When we allow Christ to direct our paths, we can feel a calm assurance as we forsake our own wisdom and embrace his. We may even face the crossroads that will require us to emulate the Savior in saying, “not my will, but thine be done” As we trust in him and embrace righteousness, we too with laugh with joy like Sarah and reflect gratefully that we didn’t trade his way for ours.