I couldn’t believe my ears.

“You told your dad, no??” I was as shocked as my friend was unfazed.

“Well, my husband and I prayed about it and felt God said no. So, that was that.”

Although my friend’s response made sense—she really believed in trusting God with all of her decisions—I still could not get over the fact that she had the nerve to tell her father that she would not co-sign a small loan he needed to buy a used car. She was very close to her dad, and he did not have the means to qualify for a car loan on his own. Without the loan, her dad was truly stuck; his old car had died, and he needed new wheels to maintain some independence in his life. Sure, he lived a pretty simple life, but as a non-English speaker without much support, he had limited options if his daughter did not help him.

“How did your dad take it?”

“Not well,” she responded. “He piled on the guilt and stormed out of my house.”

Eeek. I could not imagine how she stood her ground; I think I would have caved. Still, I was in awe of her commitment to what she sensed God was telling her. I’m fairly certain that I would not have even prayed about that decision; I would’ve assumed the right thing to do was co-sign the loan without a second thought. (It was for less than five thousand dollars, for goodness’ sake.) Listening to my friend made me realize that I still had a long way to go when it came to trusting God.

What would you have done?

If your faith is like my friend’s, you would have witnessed a miracle that only God could have orchestrated. This is what happened: When my friend went to church the following Sunday, a man she hardly knew handed her an envelope with instructions to give it to her dad. He said, “I sensed God telling me to give this to your father.” Inside the envelope was a check for the exact amount of money he needed to buy that used car. It turns out her father didn’t need the loan after all😮🤯. God provided what he needed in the most unusual of ways. Wow.

Of course, prior to that moment, my friend didn’t know why God told her not to co-sign the loan for her dad, but she trusted that God knew what He was doing. Although she lacked knowledge of God’s plan, she was determined to obey because she had long ago figured out that God was God, and she was not. His ways are higher…and better.

When my friend told her father she couldn’t co-sign the loan, he had reached the limit of his faith. He was angry and frustrated: “If I can’t count on my family, who can I count on?” Now, that’s a good question, Pop.🤔

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I will never forget this story, and I hope you won’t either. It perfectly illustrates why God’s Word tells us to lean not on our own understanding. Although my friend’s dad loves God and dedicated his life to serving Him, he didn’t trust that God would take care of him or provide for him. He depended on his family to do so. (Granted, God uses family as much as He uses other things, but the point is not to depend on our families as a substitute for God.) I suspect that when it comes down to it, many, if not most, of us do the same thing. We’d just as soon work out our problems without God.

a blue question mark on a pink background

While it’s not wrong to believe that your family (job, government, savings account, or investments) will be there for you in times of trouble, that is not always going to be the case. People can let you down, government policies often change, and sometimes the economy crashes. While life is unstable, God is not.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;” (Lamentations 3:22)

Because my friend listened to and obeyed God’s instructions, her father learned that he could trust God to meet his needs (in whatever way He saw fit). He also learned that God saw him and knew exactly what he needed. Let’s face it: As exciting as it is to get a new car, it’s life-changing to realize that the creator of the universe sees you and is willing and able to meet your needs. That is what I like to call a game-changer.

man in pink dress shirt standing on gray concrete pavement near body of water during daytime

I often wonder what life would be like if we stopped trying to figure everything out on our own and trusted God to “make our paths straight.” If my friend’s example is anything to go by, our lives would be much better, bigger, exciting, and creative because God is leading the way, not you. I have experienced that to be true as well.

As I have mentioned before, when Jeff’s job ended in 2020, we had no idea that we would end up living in an AirStream for more than three years. That was never our dream, nor a thought that ever crossed our minds. Yet, we couldn’t deny that God had led us in that direction. I had little understanding of what God was doing at the time, but as I look back, I can see countless examples of Him making our paths straight (even as we zig-zagged across the country.) It truly was extraordinary.

Just because that worked out well, however, doesn’t mean I’ve perfected what it means to trust God with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. As I already mentioned, I almost certainly would have co-signed the loan without giving it a second thought (and I suspect many of you would have done the same). If you would like to grow in this area—and to be honest, who wouldn’t—I have a few suggestions to help you move in the right direction.

  • Memorize and meditate on Proverbs 3:5-6.
    • Ask God questions like:

      1. Is there any part of my heart that doesn’t trust you? How does a lack of trust manifest in my life?

      2. Where in my life am I missing out because I insist on understanding everything you do?

      3. What does it mean to submit to you? What keeps me from doing that?

  • If God shows you areas of your life where you don’t trust Him, ask Him to show you if there are lies that you believe about Him. Who taught you those lies? Who might you need to forgive for not representing God well in your life?
  • Pray. Make it part of your daily prayer time to ask God to help you trust Him with all your heart and to guide you in all your decisions, big and small. Remember, Jesus only did what he saw His Father doing (John 5:19-20), and we should aim to do the same. God’s ways are higher than ours.
  • If you begin to second-guess yourself, ask God to confirm what you think He is saying. One way to do that is to ask a friend (or spouse) to pray as well and see what they are seeing, sensing, or hearing from the Lord.
  • Ask God to give you the courage to do the things that don’t make sense to you. When Jeff first mentioned buying an Air Stream trailer, I thought he was crazy. Sometimes, God’s ideas can feel like that 🙄.
  • Write down examples of times in your life when you submitted to God instead of leaning on your understanding. What happened? What did you learn from the experience? Commit to reviewing those testimonies on a regular basis.

I would love for you to share if you have testimonies of any times in your life when you trusted God instead of leaning on your own understanding. What happened? What did you learn? 👇🏻

I’d also love to know what keeps you from trusting God and submitting to Him. I’m sure we all can relate! 👇🏻Please reach out if you would like help growing in this area.

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