Foolproof Discernment

By Alan Wright — April 01, 2019

Acknowledging the limits of your own understanding is freeing!

Text: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, ESV)

Have you ever considered how limited the scope of your understanding is?

Not long ago I was driving alone on an interstate highway when a tractor-trailer truck abruptly pulled in front of me seemingly for no reason. He was travelling slower than I – so why shift from the right lane to left? I could understand if there had been a construction zone ahead with a lane closing indicated or perhaps a highway patrol vehicle ahead on the right hand shoulder. But, no, I saw no reason for him to have pulled into my lane. So, I threw my left hand into the air in disgust. He saw my gesture in his rear view mirror. I saw him make a gesture back toward me (which I assumed to be obscene).  I had two simultaneous thoughts: 1) he must have thought that I had made an obscene gesture toward him (which I hadn’t!); 2) I remembered that I was going to pass him in a few moments and my license plate reads “GRACE2U!”

Once the truck had pulled fully in front of me, I gulped as I realized that there was a slow moving car in the right hand lane that I hadn’t been able to see. There was a good reason after all for the truck pulling into my lane! Once he passed the slow moving vehicle, the trucker dutifully pulled back to the right hand lane. I did not dare look at him as I passed him on the left.

The story gets better.

Not much further down the road, the highway slowed into a business district with several stoplights. I was stuck at the light behind a big, slow moving truck (who would take forever to get going when the light turned green). I wished I was in the left lane but there was a slow moving tractor-trailer in the left lane. Resolving to sit behind the slow moving truck in front of me, I heard a truck horn and realized that it was the trucker I had angrily gestured at before! He’s furious at me, I supposed. But then, the trucker did an odd thing. He paused, tooted again, and I realized that he was graciously letting me back into the left lane.

It suddenly made sense. When I had raised my left hand miles earlier, the trucker thought I had cordially waved him in front of me and he had kindly waved back. Now, he was repaying the favor. I had assumed the worst of him but he had assumed the best of me. It just proves you can’t trust your own understanding. It’s too limited. Admit that your understanding is limited and trust the Lord; He’ll make your paths straight. And that’s the Gospel!

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