Several Tuesdays ago, the Braves, in San Francisco playing the Giants, finished on the wrong side of a walk-off win. Entering the bottom of the ninth, the Braves led the Giants 3-1, but the Giants drove in a run to make it 3-2.
Then Joe Panick came to the plate and worked the count. Three balls, two strikes, two outs, runners on second and third, and Panick hit a hard liner just out of the reach of second baseman Ozzie Albies to drive in the winning runs, giving the Giants a 4-3, come-from-behind victory.
An interviewer asked Panick about the Giants stellar defense in that game. He replied, “Something I learned at a young age, a wise man once told me, ‘The bat may not be there every day, but you can always bring your glove.’”
Great baseball wisdom. Even when your offense is off, defense can keep you in the game.
In Proverbs 3, we find a wise father passing down wisdom to his son. He covers several topics, one of which is trust: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
What do trust and acknowledging God look like? The word trust used here means to stretch out or lie face down. It’s the picture of a person stretched out and on his or her face before God. This position communicates total helplessness and dependence upon God.
Trust always has an object, and the recipient of our trust must be God, the wise father imparts.
Also, trust comes from the heart and must be complete. The father said with ALL your heart. Partial trust is not trust at all. Have you ever seen a half-hearted bungee jumper? Once they jump, they’re all in. Same thing with someone who jumps out of a perfectly good airplane. They trust completely in their parachute.
Of course, trusting is a learned behavior rather than our natural tendency. Yet, we trust every day. Whenever we drive across a bridge, we trust that bridge to hold us up because we’ve learned bridges meet certain standards and pass strict inspections. Whenever we sit in a chair, we trust the design of that chair to support us. Whenever we get on an airplane, we trust everyone involved in preparing that airplane for that flight and trust a flight crew we’ve never met.
Yet, we have a hard time trusting God. Why is that? Because we’d rather trust in ourselves. So we become self-reliant instead of fully reliant on God. How does self-reliance work out for you?
Leaning on your own understanding keeps us from fully trusting God and leads to a false sense of security in ourselves. That’s why the father told his son to rely not on his own understanding. Proverbs 3:7 reads, “Do not be wise in your own eyes . . .”
What else hinders trust? Worry, fear, doubt and the distractions of daily life can undermine trust. When Peter was walking on the water, he was fine as long as he kept his focus on Jesus.
Suddenly, he felt the wind blowing and the waves slapping his shins and water splashing against his ankles. He started looking around at the storm instead of fixing his focus on Jesus. He became distracted and started to sink.
What is the bottom-line of trust? Complete surrender: acknowledging the Lordship of Christ in every area of my life. Every area. No strings attached.
When the Germans surrendered to the Allied Forces to end World War II in Europe, the surrender document read, “The German Command agrees for all German forces to lay down their arms and to surrender unconditionally . . . The German command to carry out at once, and without argument or comment, all further orders that will be issued by the Allied Powers on any subject.”
The German forces laid down their arms and said, “Whatever the Allies tell us to do, we will do.” (https://gabc-archive.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/s010905.pdf).
That’s unconditional surrender! And that’s the key to trusting God with all our heart.
“God, whatever you tell me to do, I will do. I acknowledge you in all my ways and totally rely upon you!”
[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past McCurry Park, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them online at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook.]