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 (NRSV)
During the early days of my first hospitalization in the spring of 1969, I looked for some solid ground upon which I could stand. As a boy I had attended Sunday School regularly and had often committed to memory various verses of scripture. In the midst of everything else that was going through my mind at that time, there came through loud and clear the words of the verses above. As soon as I heard these words, I wanted very badly to locate them in the Bible I supposed my mother had left with me in the St. Joseph Hospital psychiatric ward.
Ordinarily I would have relied on a concordance, or someone else’s memory, to assist me in this type of a search. But I was by myself and I didn’t want to wait until my mother came during visiting hours. What I did was this. I simply opened my Bible and looked at the left-hand column of what turned out to be the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. My eyes immediately spotted the verses I was looking for. A great reassurance came over me. A reassurance, that while sorely tested over the years, has never left me.
These verses have a warning and a promise. They were telling me not to rely on my own understanding of the very confusing events that were then taking place in my life. I was the intellectual type. I had always earned good grades in school and had tended to try to figure out the meaning of life on my own. Every now and then I still take this approach to life. This had been particularly so before I started to read the scriptures seriously at the beginning of 1998. Reading the scriptures has been the death sentence to my efforts to save myself.
These verses have a promise as well. If I trust in the Lord with all my heart and acknowledge His leadership over my life, He will guide me each day.
You may pray a prayer like mine: “Dear Lord, thank You for all the scripture verses which I have committed to memory. Thank You for the Bible with all its wonderful promises. Help me, too, to heed its warnings and never again stray from Your path. Amen.”