Proverbs 3: 1-10…Wisdom Bestows Well-Being…”My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commandments in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
The picture above is one of the two bibles that rest on the altar just steps away from where I write. One of them is my own study bible that originally drew my heart into hearing God’s words for me. The instrument that began to explain in detail to me why he created me. The other is the one pictured that belonged to my wife’s grandmother. A simple and devoutly faithful woman who lived in rural Kentucky her entire life. My wife Lisa holds her in the highest esteem. Her grandmother was God’s bedrock placed in her life as she grew up. The one who instilled the promise of salvation within her as she stumbled her way to eventually finding that promise to be true. When I put together that altar in the process of enormous change in my life to keep me grounded in relationship, and to display to my own family the vital importance of God’s daily presence in our lives, she quietly placed that bible along with mine. One day it wasn’t there and the next it was. When I pray daily, there is a symbolic piece on the altar where I ask to be made good soil for his word to be sown. There is a rock that I brought from the summit of Mt. Pisgah in an exercise of obedience, where I ask for just that…to be given strength to be obedient, and there are the 2 bibles. I place my hands on both, and I ask that his wisdom and knowledge be poured into me, so that it may come back out correctly for his will, his purposes, and his glory. Then I say, “And say hello to Lisa’s grandmother for me.” I do this mostly every day.
I never knew her grandmother. I only attended her funeral. She died from Alzheimer’s disease. I never got to meet this woman my wife holds in such high regard. But I know where her trust was. It was in her Lord. My wife has conveyed this to me repeatedly over the 20 years of our togetherness. Lisa, her mom, and her brother, pretty much fought the world alone as she grew up, with a faces coming and going, and her father abandoning her when she was too young to even know what that meant. But her grandparents provided home base. Grounding. God. I see these people I never met all over the 3 of them even today many years past their leaving the world. They were that strong of Godly presence. It was her grandmother that was God’s vessel for her husband and the three of them.
I want to be that for my family. I want to be so transformed by him that my family for many coming generations will thrive from the rock placed within our blood. I was the least likely and poorest person to pick for such a position. But God has plucked me from my wretched nature and continues to shape me how he desires. It’s an ugly process. Some days I feel like I’m already walking in heaven, and other days I feel like my soul is ripped up into an infinite shred of shame and tears. But as time has moved, my trust has grown strong in my creator. I do not trust my worldly instinct any longer, and when I need a reminder why, God provides it with mirrors into the horribleness of what that worldly instinct created. I recoil at the sight of it when I recognize in the moment what’s going on. As if for a split second, I get to see myself as he does. That altar I put up has a wood surface. My tears flow upon it. Just before typing this they flowed and I squeezed my eyes as hard as I could…as if wringing out a soaked towel. My tears to my hands and absorbed into the wood. I offer them to him in worship. My weakness turned into his strength. And maybe…he can use this soul for something good. Something righteous. Something holy.
In God we trust? Solely. Wholly. He will make our paths straight.