We all face difficult situations throughout our lives; the kind where wake up in the middle of the night asking yourself, "what am I even supposed to do?" I had a difficult situation this week, there were no middle of the night episodes, but I did find myself thinking about it several times a day trying to think of resolutions and ways to work through it. In the midst of all of this I read Proverbs 3 (I've decided to start reading Proverbs the other week and am only in chapter 3...) and found it to relate quite well to all of this. You can read the whole chapter if you like, but I'm going to write up a few things that I found to be especially helpful to me this week as I tried to discern the best approach to a situation that may not have a best approach.
"Let love and faithfulness never leave you." Its easy when addressing something or someone to only see the bad in it/them and to therefore treat it/them as a problem. However, even when someone has screwed up or when a situation is a mess we must approach it with love and faithfulness. Are you treating those around you, even those you don't like or those who annoy you, with love AND faithfulness? Do you just stick around for the good times, do you only love in the good times, or are you consistent no matter how others treat you? According to this passage when you live in this way you will win favor and a good name from both God and men.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" If you've been in Christian circles for any period of time you've probably heard this verse multiple times, you may even have it memorized. But this really took on new meaning for me this week in dealing with something that was beyond my own understanding. Interestingly, though, not only are we to trust in Him, but when He comes through we are to "acknowledge Him in all our ways" and if we do that "He will make our paths straight." It takes a lot of pressure off when we realize that if we trust God and acknowledge that we can't handle things on our own that He will take us up on that and give us straight paths to walk in.
"Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil." Sometimes its easy, when faced with a difficult situation that we don't know how to deal with, to bend the rules a little or to act in ways we wouldn't normally act. Sometimes, when we don't know how to address a situation in a healthy way we can come up with these terribly creative ideas of how to handle it that in the end do more harm than good. But God wants us to know, it is better to fear the Lord and refrain from evil or crooked ways of dealing with things and appear a fool, than to look wise and handle things in a perverse way.
What are you facing today or this week? Are there things that you don't know how to address or work through? Are there difficult situations or difficult people that you have to deal with? Well remember these things, keep them in the forefront of your mind. Trust in the Lord rather than yourself. If there's something that you think would be a good idea, or a good way of dealing with it, take some time to pray and reflect on what the Bible teaches in relation to your actions. And overall, be sure to live and act in a loving and faithful way that ultimately brings the glory back to God, not you.