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What You May Not See

It is officially spring! Many of us are beginning to think about planting flowers and getting things ready for our gardens. Thankfully, you can plant many fruits and vegetables right now, watch them grow, AND reap the harvest in the same year! Most of the time in just a few months.

Although, I once read about the life of a Chinese Bamboo Tree and its development is not quite the same story. Once planted, the tree takes FIVE years to develop its root system. In the fifth year, the tree shoots tall into the sky and looks as though it quickly flourished! What everyone didn’t see in the five years of growth that took place under the ground as the roots dug down deep.

Trusting in Jesus is often more like the Chinese Bamboo Tree than it is like our typical summer gardens. In Proverbs 3:5, the scriptures say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭

Our understanding is very finite and often based on what we CAN SEE. But, God calls us to live a life of FAITH. Faith is believing though we have not yet seen (see Hebrews 11:1). People often say "let me see it and I will believe it!", but God calls us to believe even when we have yet to see it.

We often struggle to have faith in the following situations:

1. When something is taking place that we don’t understand.

2. When we are praying, but not seeing changes.

3. When things take longer than we expect.

4. When we place our focus on the problem (instead of on Jesus).

Do you see yourself in any of the above scenarios? If so, then you’re not alone. Many people throughout scripture faced similar struggles. Gideon wrestled with fear about his calling and questioned why. Moses struggled with many “what ifs” when God called him to lead the Israelites out of captivity. Martha & Mary wrestled with trusting Jesus' timing when Lazarus died. Abraham was commended for his faith in scripture, but he struggled to believe God’s promises at first... and the list goes on!

Here are a few reminders when you are wrestling with leaning on your own understanding:

1. Lift your eyes to Jesus. When we focus on the problems, we are sure to sink (just like Simon Peter when he took His eyes off of Jesus while walking on water). Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to “TRUST in the Lord” instead of leaning on our own understanding (on what we see and what makes sense to us).

2. Trust God’s timing. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬). God knows the end from the beginning. Trust His timing and know that His ways are always best.

3. Remind yourself of God’s character. Remembering WHO God is will be one of the biggest faith boosters in any struggle you face. Our faith in Him is not based on what is happening to us, but on who God is! God is faithful, gracious, omniscient, eternal, omnipresent, kind, good, just, infinite, love, great, holy, wise, merciful, righteous, and immutable. God is more than I can even list or place in my finite words. (Scriptural references: 2 Timothy 2:13, Psalm 116:5, Psalm 139:1-4, Revelation 1:8, Psalm 139: 7-10, Romans 2:4, Psalm 100:5, Deuteronomy 32:4, Romans 11:33, 1 John 4:8, Psalm 77:13, 1 Samuel 2:2, Proverbs 3:19, Ephesians 2:4, Psalm 7:11, Hebrews 13:8)

If we base our faith on what we see, we will often be disappointed. But if we base our faith on who God is and on what He has promised, we will never be let down. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, trust His timing, and remember WHO He is, we have no need to fear or doubt.

If we judge a Chinese bamboo tree by what we see, we will think nothing is happening. However, an amazing plant is being hemmed together at the roots below the surface. What we often do not see is what God is doing in the waiting, in the praying, and in the in-between.

Do not lean on your own understanding of your circumstances, but as Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord”.

We can get our hopes up today because we serve a God who is who he says he is! Our faith can arise because he is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Believe.

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