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. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. — Proverbs 3:5-8
Healing Requires Trust
For me, the pinnacle of relaxation is sitting on the beach, listening to the waves and the wind. The ocean is beautiful and soothing. The wind has a way of drowning out all the noise of life. The sun and the sand are rejuvenating. The whole experience seems to have a healing effect.
Have you ever considered that a moment of healing relaxation on the beach requires trust? The ocean is one the most powerful forces on earth. When raging, it can swallow up homes, ships, and people. Hurricanes, tidal waves, and tsunamis are fearsome. When these things happen, the ocean oversteps its bounds, so to speak. The only reason you can relax next to something so frightening and powerful is because you trust the ocean to respect the limits God set for it.
God created the laws of nature that keep the sea in its place, and you never doubt they will work as they should. Proverbs teaches us that the LORD “assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command” (Proverbs 8:29). Likewise, Jeremiah declares: “Do you not fear me? declares the LORD. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it” (Jeremiah 5:22). Therefore, the sea does what God tells it to do. Do you know anyone more powerful than that? Does the ocean listen to you?
What Does Trust Mean?
There are parallel ideas of trust in these four verses, meaning God wants us to have a rich understanding of this call to trust him.
First, trust is a confidence that God’s way is the best way. We should wholeheartedly trust what God says. The opposite of trusting God is trusting yourself. Self-confidence is false confidence.
Second, trust is seeking God’s will and submitting to him in everything you do. This is what acknowledging God means. If you want to know which path to take in life, then take the one God is leading you down. Take the path led by the Spirit of God and aligned with the Word of God.
Third, trust is fearing the Lord. You can read more about the fear of the Lord in my first post in this series. To fear the Lord is to know who God is and then to respond to Him appropriately. God is the one who made everything, who is eternal, whose love for us is faithful, whose justice is perfect. The opposite of fearing the Lord and trusting God is to think you are wiser than he is.
Fourth, trust is turning away from evil. To say “no” to the temptations of sin and evil is one of the greatest expressions of trusting the Lord there is. Repentance and trust go hand-in-hand. When you forego the sinful things you might want to say, think, or do because you believe that God’s way is better, you trust him. When you repent of past sin and turn away from evil, you trust him.
Trust Leads to Complete Healing
Like resting by the powerful and untamable ocean, so trusting in the God of creation and redemption will lead to your healing. This healing goes from your outer to your inner being, your flesh to your bones. What is being communicated here is that “a right relationship with God leads to a state of complete physical and mental well-being, not simply to the absence of illness and disease.”1
What an amazing promise! This kind of healing is only found by placing your faith, your trust, in Jesus Christ for your salvation. Trusting in your own works, your own goodness, or your own power is like thinking you can control the sea. There is no hope in that. Trusting in the grace of God in Jesus Christ, however, is like sitting by the ocean on a care-free summer day: you can rest and heal because you know the line has already been drawn around the sea of sin and death by the one who has authority over all things.
In Christ, your whole being can rest and heal because you are eternally secure in him. Your sin has been paid for on the cross, and your guilt and your shame were nailed to that cross. You now live life by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by the works of the law. You are saved by grace, and you are promised to live eternally in a state of complete physical, mental, and spiritual well-being with a resurrected body. This healing begins now, but there is a future hope for you in Christ that is more glorious than you can imagine in the new heaven and new earth.
Trust in Christ with your whole heart! He is offering you refreshment and healing: he is offering you his very life. There is no wave of darkness, scheme of the enemy, plot of man, or sin that can overcome the boundary of his grace in your life. Come live in healing trust.
1Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 247.