Words of Hope: Next Steps

The news of Ukraine and Russia is everywhere, with images of war, suffering, and trauma. Just watching it is unsettling to a high degree. It can overwhelm. I start to search for survival gear, financial recommendations during recessions and crises, or essential emergency prep. I can OD on trying to be prepared. I like preparation. NBC Camps is an event planner’s dream! But this planning can go awry quickly when I start to fret. I love the verse, “Do not fret; it leads only to evil.” This can be me, but I also know that planning is wise. The Bible celebrates the diligence of the ant and cautions those who do not take measures to work hard and to prepare.

How do we hold the wisdom of Solomon to labor and prepare in seeming contrast to Jesus’s calling to consider the birds of the air who do not reap or store away in barns? I prayed for this wisdom the other day, and this verse immediately came to me like a gift, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” These events are too great for understanding, too much to prepare for without entering self-centered preservation and desire for ultimate control. When I think of this, I remember holding my Dad’s hand as he died and re-experiencing this truly beautiful and holy moment. Nothing mattered, and everything mattered; life was quick like a candle flame and full of eternity, my Dad was dying, and yet all was right with the world. This is the courageous crucible– wisdom is available to me, the next step will be evident in light of God’s grace, and all the planning in the world is naught if God isn’t directing the steps.

“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.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.” – Proverbs 3: 5-7