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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

This verse is one of my favorites. At first glance, it seems like a logical formula for getting God to do what I want him to do. It works like this:

+Trust in the Lord
+With all your heart
+Lean not on your own understanding
+In all your ways acknowledge him
= and the Result will be straight paths

A+B+C+D= a straight path

When I think of a straight path, I think of the one that is the most direct, downhill, and no effort or sweat. We say, “God, I did my part, now you do yours. Make it easy.”

However, as I listen to God through the Bible, what I learn is the straight path that he promised is a straight path where we go on a journey with Jesus. It’s not about the destination. It’s all about the journey. On this journey, we will climb mountains and we will trudge through valleys. The valleys are the place where God builds our faith and character. It seems like we are more receptive in the valleys. Every problem has a purpose. God does not cause evil, but he can and does use even the evil done to us by others and turn it around to accomplish good.

Our natural reaction to problems is fear and discouragement. You probably have several items on your list right now.

Jesus promised us that there will be valleys. In John 16:33 he said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

I know that he has never been closer to me than when I have been in a valley. His promise is to walk with us and lead us straight to God. I have learned that trying to control and manipulate God is not a wise idea. God is very uncooperative. Instead, I want to do the journey with him.

Every day, I need a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world and that his light will always overcome the darkness. When we are in dark valleys, remember that his light never stops shining.

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