The last couple of weeks have been very interesting in the Manne home. Many scenarios have arisen that continue to point Jake and I in the direction of growth. Whether it's an issue in our marriage, in parenting, or in our ministry in the church, we have found that these last few days have hit us hard with conviction after conviction. In a world where everyone is "always right," and humility is hard to find, it can be very difficult to receive these conflicts with grace and with true reflection on why these issues have come up and what we need to do in order to resolve them. In every case thus far, the solution depends on us changing something about ourselves, which we all know is not an easy task. It could seem that getting defensive and fighting back would be easier, but it's really not. Taking things personally and out of context of the spirit they're intended only brings dissension and even more hurt. So I am working on having a spirit of humility and discovering the amazing grace that God provides in situations such as these.
Proverbs 3:7 says, "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil." How often do we think we're doing the right thing - and that the right thing automatically means it's the wise thing? I am learning through these difficult times that me acting out of my own wisdom is still me acting out of foolishness. Only God's wisdom is true wisdom - and if I act according to His knowledge and wisdom, then many problems in my life wouldn't occur. However, this takes much change on my part. I have to learn what it means to listen to God and to find His wisdom. I don't even know what wisdom looks like, let alone how to find it in all situations. But - that's where another common Scripture comes into play.
Proverbs 3:5-6 say, "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." This is such a commonly used piece of Scripture. It's printed on pretty paper and matted in beautiful frames, stitched on pillows and etched onto many a coffee mug. We've all heard it and we can all recite it. But in my Bible study the other day, I found something about this verse that no one ever told me and it makes this verse that much more important and powerful. The Hebrew word used for "paths straight" means more than guidance. It means that God removes the obstacles, making a smooth path or way of life or perhaps better, bringing one to the appointed goal. So applying this to the above-mentioned conflict of me battling myself in order to change, God does that for me when I acknowledge Him and seek His wisdom for my life. Isn't that amazing? God removes the obstacles - and in this case, I am my own obstacle as I try to be wise in my own eyes. I am encouraged now and excited to see the growth the God brings as a result of all of the "messiness" around us right now. And I encourage you to see how God may be drawing you in to see His wisdom all the more closely as well.