I love this tree. It’s a constant reminder to me to trust, to lean. Lean hard into Jesus, His strength, His grace, His understanding.

Here’s what I know: Leaning involves trusting. You can’t lean on someone without trusting that they will hold you up.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

All of my heart. It’s so hard to give over all of your heart isn’t it? It feels impossible to give over all my ways. And yet, it’s far more difficult not to, to try to navigate the circumstances of life by my own strength.

Recently, I’ve been staring down the road at situations that seem utterly impossible. I don’t have what it takes to press through it. I can’t lean on my own understanding, because truthfully, I just can’t wrap my mind around it. The weight of it is crushing. My heart aches.

There has been a new lesson for me to ponder as I look out at “my” tree. See that circle of green surrounding it? When the temperature recently dropped below freezing the green pastures withered. Dry, dehydrated, parched.

But under the shadow of that tree, the green grass grows. Each tiny blade found refuge from the cold under the canopy of the tree’s branches. Sheltered, protected until the “storms of destruction passed by,” i.e. warmer weather returned.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”

Psalm 57:1

When I find myself in the midst of a storm of destruction — the impossible — I rouse my heart to remember that I trust the God who makes all things possible.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

Psalm 91:1-6

Trust. Lean. Abide. Take refuge.

His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

I love how the New Living translation puts it: “His faithful promises are my shield and protection.”

And this is what I know to be true: “God doesn’t break His promises, He exceeds them,” (Tara-Leigh Cobble).

So how do I trust? How do I keep leaning when the way ahead feels impossible?

Spend time with Him.

It’s not possible to rely on Him without talking to Him. Pray. Approach His throne again and again, knowing absolutely that He will meet you there and give grace to help in your time of need, (Hebrews 4:16).

Hold resolutely to His promises.

We’ve already seen that His faithfulness is like a shield. He can be trusted. Return again and again to His word of truth. Wear His faithfulness like armor, because He who promised is faithful, (Hebrews 10:23).

Take your worries to Him.

The overwhelming thoughts will come. It can feel like an assault. Rein every anxious thought in and make it obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5). Stop the overwhelm in its tracks before it takes root and say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” (Philippians 4:6).

Let God lead.

His leadership is certain. He is a rock and a fortress. For His name’s sake He will lead and guide us, (Psalm 31:3). His leadership is gentle, (Isaiah 40:11), and His leadership will always take us down the righteous path and comfort our hurting hearts as we face the impossible valley ahead, (Psalm 23:3-4).

So there I will lead my heart again: dwelling in the shelter of the Most High, abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “You are my refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust!”

By His faithful promises that far exceed my expectations, I will hold high His shield that protects me from flaming arrows. I will hold up His buckler against the blows of the enemy. I will rest in His protection, sheltered from the storm as it passes by.

He is merciful and gracious. He delivers. His love covers over. He protects.

I will not be afraid of the terror of the night or the arrows that fly by day.

I will put one foot in front of the other down the path of impossible because He directs my steps. Each footfall a declaration of trust in my Most Faithful God.

Pray with me:

Holy God, You are so faithful! So merciful, so kind, so good, so true to Your Word. You never break Your promises, You far exceed them! You know the heavy weight on my heart, how impossible the road ahead feels to me. But even when I am overwhelmed, You are a shelter to my heart, my refuge when the storms of destruction come. Help me to lean hard on You, to give you ALL of my heart, ALL of my ways. I am not afraid, because You are with me! Lead the way! I trust You!


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