23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)
Large crowds flocked out to watch Charles Blondin walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He did this over three-hundred times. He walked across on stilts, did back flips, and stood on his head. Once he stopped halfway to cook and eat an omelet.
One day a group of dignitaries attended his act. They watched him push a wheelbarrow back and forth across the rope. Blondin stopped and asked one of his guests, “Do you believe I can take a man across the tightrope in this wheelbarrow?” The man replied, “Yes, I do.” Blondin said, “Hop in!” The crowd gasped and the man declined. He believed Blondin could do it, he just wasn’t willing to trust him with his life.
Many of us believe God is able to “order our steps,” but we’re not willing to trust him with our lives. As a result, we never experience the life God intends, and we continue to struggle with a lack of stability.
Trust in the Lord is the first step to a stable life. We need to get into the wheelbarrow and trust God. Solomon asked us to do just that in one of his most memorable proverbs.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh,
And refreshment to your bones. (Prov. 3:5-8)
If we’re going to hop in the wheelbarrow and trust God we need to make four decisions.
I must know the Lord is trustworthy. We will not trust in One we do not know. This is why Solomon couples “Trust in the Lord” with “Fear the Lord” (Prov. 3:5,7). We will only trust in the Lord when we examine Him and find Him totally awe-inspiring. This requires an inspection of God’s word and an experimentation with His truths that yields an unshakeable confidence in His character.
There was a man who knew Charles Blondin better than anyone else. He watched his act hundreds of times. He was Blondin’s manager, Harry Colcord. He was confident of Blondin’s strength and stability. So, when Blondin motioned to him, “Jump on!” He did, and Blondin took him safely across.
When Jesus was on the cross He cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; Psalm 22:1). How could Jesus maintain His trust in God at the point when He seemed most abandoned? The answer is found in Psalm 22, from which Jesus was quoting. The following verses read,
4 Our fathers trusted in You;
They trusted, and You delivered them.
5 They cried to You, and were delivered;
They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. (Psalm 22:4-5)
Jesus is saying, “I’ve seen this before. You don’t let anybody fall out of the wheelbarrow. So I will go on trusting in you.”
Have you seen God act so many times in history, in Scripture, in your own personal life, that you have come to say, “You don’t let people fall out of the wheelbarrow, so I will trust you with all my heart”?
I must know I am not trustworthy. I wish trusting the Lord was easy. The problem is we constantly think we know better than God. In terms of our Blondin illustration it is like we get half-way across the tightrope, jump out of the wheelbarrow and say, “Thanks, I’ve got it from here!” Before long we are plummeting into the next crisis.
That is why Solomon warns us, “Do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). We must see the weakness of our wisdom or we will fall. Our knowledge is short-sighted, insufficient, unreliable, and always changing. God’s wisdom is not!
We must learn to view our knowledge with a bit of suspicion. “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:7). Trusting in our wisdom is like leaning on a worm-eaten staff—it may hold us up for a while, but it will leave us with a hand full of splinters.
Yet, people constantly develop their own plans in religion, the home, and society. We think we can build a better mouse-trap than God designed; until it springs on us, and it will spring on us, because our wisdom is unreliable and dangerous. That is why we should always have God’s word for what we believe and practice.
Then I must completely submit to the Lord. Blondin gave his manager Harry Colcord these instructions before taking him across, “Look up, Harry.… you are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. Be a part of me, mind, body, and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself. If you do we will both go to our death.”
Trusting in the Lord requires a total surrender. This is seen in Solomon’s use of the word “all.” We must trust with “all our heart,” and “acknowledge Him in all our ways” (Prov. 3:5,6). Every activity on my schedule and every relationship in my life is there because of the Lord, and they are directed by His will.
I must completely reject my sins. Every sin I allow to remain unchallenged in my life becomes a worm that eats away at my stability. Therefore, Solomon says, “Fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Prov. 3:7).
We long for stability and peace in life, but it only comes when we learn to trust in the Lord. For those who live with such trust, God promises, “I will direct your path” (Prov. 3:6). Or literally it means, “I make your paths straight.” In other words, God will make sure you get to the other side safely. There is no one else who can make such a promise and follow through. So, trust Him. It will be “healing to your flesh, and refreshment to your bones” (Prov. 3:8).
“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Cor. 16:14)