“Don’t forget to lean forward,” said my ski instructor as I sped off down the biggest hill in the world <possible hyperbole>. But as my speed increased, my control decreased. So I leaned back and was promptly given the opportunity to enjoy the view from a prone position. After several similar attempts, the instructor said, “You’ll never get down that hill unless you trust me – lean forward.”
Learning to trust the Lord is like learning to ski. When things seem to be spiraling out of control, my tendency is to manage the situation by leaning on my own understanding. And guess what? I frequently end up on my caboose scratching my head trying to figure out where I went wrong.
Sometimes it is even more difficult to trust God when things are going well than when we are in crisis. Doing everything in dependence on the Lord is very challenging for us independent sorts. “I know what I want, and I am willing to work hard to get it.” That is the American way, isn’t it?
Walking by faith is counter-intuitive in our society. I used to live as though walking by faith meant making my own plans and then trusting God to do the heavy lifting so I could reach my goal. But walking by faith means surrendering everything – our goals, our opinions, our desires and even our strengths.
Jesus reminds us that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He provides us with everything we need to live lives that have eternal value … when we abide in Him. Those are the keys: surrendering our own control and abiding in Him. Surrender is what gets your roots into the soil. Abiding it what keeps them there.
Just like when I was learning to ski, it is okay to start small and build your trust. Let go of the reins on one of your goals. Give it to the Lord and then take a step back. He may change your path. He may change the goal itself. Resist the temptation to lean on your own understanding. And he will make your path straight.