In Our Own Understanding?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Lord's Prayer"1 (Lyrics)

Proverbs 3:5-6 – 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. (NIV)

I think that I have been doing things backwards! I often seem to struggle with understanding — or more precisely not understanding — why people do what they do, why life seems such a challenge at times, and why I can't seem to figure out how to navigate through all the pitfalls that seem to keep opening up.

Now, it is one thing to understand what to do when we are driving a car or operating some kind of equipment, but that really does not apply when dealing with people! People, and life in general, don't come with instruction manuals, and every time I think that I have something figured out, another monkey wrench seems to throw my "understanding" askew once again!

However, realistically speaking, there is no way for any one of us to know or understand why people do and say what they do and say, why they behave in certain ways, what their background is and how that background has affected them, why they don't seem to understand what we are about, and why they make the assumptions that they do about us or anything else. We are all unique and so different! The variables are endless, and our experiences, beliefs, interpretations, views, and yes, baggage (positive and negative), are all unique to us personally!

Therefore, trying to understand people and their behaviour (including our own, at times) can often be an exercise in futility, creating frustration and even anger, not just within us, but also possibly for those around us. The more we try to understand, the more frustrated we may become, the less we will understand, and the more confusing life seems to be.

No one can truly know what others deal with, feel their hurts, or really understand what they struggle with. No one can experience the same joys or sorrows in the way that others experience them.

No one, that is, but God! He knows! He understands!

That is where doing things backwards comes in: it is not in seeking our own understanding, but in seeking God that we will find peace. In seeking God, we can learn to trust Him to lead us through our lack of understanding into His peace! Putting our faith and trust in God will lead us to a peace beyond our understanding! That is God's promise and His gift to us because of His love for us in and through Jesus Christ! Leaving understanding in God's hands is never easy for any of us, but it is something that we need to remind ourselves of constantly!

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

When it is our faith in God, not our own understanding, that justifies us and makes us right with God, then we will have peace with God.

Prayer: O Lord, thank You for the gift of faith and for Your promises. Use that faith to help us overcome the need to lean on our own understanding rather than seeking You. Help us each and every day to place our focus on seeking You, to see You more clearly, to love You more dearly, and to follow You more nearly — in and through Jesus Christ. In His name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Jan Korvemaker
Parksville, British Columbia, Canada

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you for writing.

    Thanks, Jan, for the encouraging word.

    Thanks Jan for sharing this instructive devotional with us. Blessings.

    Your prayer was most timely. Last Sunday we sang the “Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester” written by Malcom Archer which had these very same words set in beautiful music! Thank you.

    This is my daughter’s favorite verse.
    Mine is Ps 25: 4&5. I say it every morning and dwell on it but be sure to listen. I taught is as a song when I was teaching a LONG time ago

    Dear Jan,
    What a powerful devotional to help us when we are struggling with understanding. I struggle with this often and also with understanding some of the Bible. I will definitely look at this from a differently point of view and lean on my faith and trusting God to help me understand. Thank you.

    I know you don’t have any idea how much God has used you today through your devotional and His word, Jan, but He does and I am very thankful as I am trying to deal with understanding of people and this devotional puts my thoughts into perspective and Who I need to turn too as my understanding. Will copy this and read often thankyou.
    God Bless you Jan!!!!

    This is a lovely devotional Jan. Thanks for sharing. On another note, I rather prefer the KJV translation in Proverbs where it uses the words “direct thy path” rather than “make your way straight”. There may be times when we experience His direction through twists and turns on our journey, and it can be exciting. (just a thought).

    I read this just as I was waiting for someone to pick me up to take me to my chiropractic appointment.
    He had told me last night how frustrated he was at trying to meet the needs of everyone
    else while he has issues too.
    Your wisdom was just the right thought to address HIS issue!
    Thank you.

    Hi Jan
    Thanks for the devotional today. I went through a terrible time last Christmas and New Years because of a family member and I made the mistake of trying to understand why they did and said what they did instead of letting go and letting God take over. I would be in prayer but this situation was too much for me to understand. But as I kept in prayer and forgiving them asking God to change me and bless them things turned around for the Christmas just passed and then some. Amazing what changes are made by our heavenly Father when we let Him do what He needs to do.
    God bless!

    Your words “to see You more clearly, love You more dearly and follow You more nearly” bring me to my ever present goal day by day. Thank you for bringing those words back to my mind.

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