Proverbs 3:5 is a very familiar verse of Scripture:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5 ESV)
In this proverb, we are told to trust or have confidence in God with all of our being. In fact, we are to trust God instead of relying on our own understanding (insight). Does this include our understanding of God? Can we trust God even if we cannot depend upon our beliefs about God?
I know God. I also know some things about God. However, my understanding of God is not perfect. There are some things about God that I do not understand. I do not know what those things are, but I know that I do not know God perfectly. I believe that God through His Spirit will continue to reveal himself to me using various methods. Hopefully, like Paul, as I mature I will also grow to know God more and more. But, there will never be a moment in this life when I will be able to say, “I understand God completely. All of my beliefs about God are correct.”
So, what happens when God seems to act in a way that is contrary to how I believe that he should act? Can I trust him anyway? Can I trust God when my beliefs about God are wrong?
Suppose we recognize God doing something, but he’s working a way that is contrary to our beliefs about him. Do we have to rationalize what God is doing so that it matches our beliefs about him? If so, are we truly trusting in God, or are we trusting in our beliefs about God? Why do we feel the need to explain and rationalize everything? God is God. We can trust him even if we cannot understand him.
Through Jesus, God showed himself to be faithful to his promise to redeem his people. He demonstrated that he was able to overcome sin and death. He showed us that death is not the end and that abundant life is possible here and now. Through the Holy Spirit, God continues to work in us and through us. He applies the righteousness of Christ to us. He continues to reveal himself to us. He continues to change us and draw us into himself and into that abundant life that Jesus made possible. This is good news! We can trust God to do what he said he would do and what he says he will do.
Now, how do we ensure that we are trusting God, and not trusting our understanding of God?