“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret––it only causes harm.” (Ps.37:3-8 NKJV)
I want to speak to you on a topic, which constitutes, as I often call it, «The Verse of my life». This verse is: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Ps.37:5). This verse, written in big characters on a sheet of paper, is hung on the wall before me in my office. This God’s word is my spiritual compass… A spiritual chorus!
Before speaking to you on this theme, I would like to tell you just a few words on my conversion to Christ: When I was still a student at the University, the following question preoccupied my mind and hindered my soul to be in peace: “If what the Bible says concerning salvation and eternal condemnation is true, then where are you, John, and what is going to happen to you after death? You are called a Christian, but you are not a true Christian, because you don’t believe and don’t obey what the Bible says. Besides, your life, although relatively moral in relation to the human “norms”, doesn’t have anything to do with true Christianity. Why then don’t you take the necessary steps, for the word “Christian” to be deleted from your identity card? You must, you must, you must, at least, try to find out what is true and what is false. It is very important; don’t postpone the moment to find the truth and take a position.”
I started immediately an arduous research that lasted more than six months. That research was so intense that I began to disregard my academic studies. It was the Messianic prophecies that finally drove my soul to faith and to salvation. My faith was based on them: men of God, some among them kings, others priests, others shepherds, etc., who lived in various places and different centuries, pushed by the Holy Spirit prophesied, during a period of about one thousand years, concerning the life and Christ’s ministry in detail, that is: His miraculous birth, the place of His birth, His life, His words, His works and His miracles, His crucifixion, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension etc.
My major difficulty was focused on the authenticity of the Bible and Christ’s resurrection because it is written: “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty (…) And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1Co.15:14, 17). When, I was finally, persuaded about the authenticity of the Bible and Jesus’ resurrection – it is not, however, now to speak on this subject in detail – my soul was seized by admiration, reverence, fear and trembling. The historic facts united with the “bona fede” of a good willed man helped me to seize the object of my faith, that is Jesus Himself. I realized that it required more faith to be a foolish unbeliever and an atheist than to be a serious believer. Then I fell on my knees and I asked God for the forgiveness of my sins and the salvation of my soul. This event took place in November, 1952. My research turned into certainties… and into works of faith!
Now, let me explain to you why, after my conversion to Christ, that verse has become the most important of my life. I consider verse Ps.37:5 as ‘The verse of my life’. On the basis of this verse I started the journey of a real and deep spiritual life and it became my spiritual compass during all my life until this day. This verse tells me: ‘Take your problem, leave it in the hands of the Almighty, All-knowing God that loves you; wait patiently, in peace and in silence for His intervention: He will work for you… for your account… for your good!’
When I am before a dilemma and don’t manage to discern the voice of the Lord in order to do or undergo something; when I am in a puzzlement, unable to see the relation between God’s wonderful promises and the painful and dangerous events of my life; when I am judged unjustly and the just indignation against evil pushes me to react in a manner that risks to dishonor God; when bad people try to harm me or when I feel the breath of the Devil that tries to discourage me; and when I hesitate to take a step, fearing that a false step could create a disaster; then, I am reminded of this verse, I deliberately confide my problem or myself, or both of them to God, I hope in God and I wait patiently and in silence for the intervention of my celestial Father… I wait for Him to act…
I am well aware that I am not telling you something new! It is also your experience! It is a spiritual exercise of every true believer. The non-believer cannot exercise this faith to God’s words and cannot trust His character because it is written: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint” (Pr.25:19). I don’t know how you face your problems and what your specific difficulties are in similar cases or what your major difficulty is. As for me, the most difficult moments are the moments when I can get rid of my problem by giving myself the solution! The reason is that, at these moments, my heart is seized by fears concerning the possible spiritual consequences of my act or even of a word coming out of my mouth. A false step and the name of the Lord risks to be blasphemed… “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1Co.10:23). Not having confidence in my wisdom and being afraid of Satan, my deadly and artful enemy, I wait that God acts in my place and for my account… I dare not to choose my trail, even though I can. I tell the Lord: ‘May your will be done and not mine, independently if I must pass by darkness; it is sufficient that your hand holds me and guides me.’ This attitude is, actually, my true wisdom, that is: to have confidence in God and to let the results in His hands…
Is this a passive behavior? No, not at all! It is God’s fear in my heart, the faith in His words and my confidence in His character in action! Nevertheless, when I am persuaded that it is the Lord who calls me to say or to do something, then the doubts and the fear disappear and I become strong: “…the righteous are bold as a lion” (Pr.28:1). When the certainty enters in my heart, then I become patient and quiet and firm. It is a sin to act without having the ‘green light’ from the Lord, from His written Word. Paul said to the Romans: “…whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Ro.14:23).
In general, when God’s Word says: “Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established” (Pr.16:3), it doesn’t mean that men should be inactive and lazy, doing nothing and leaving all to be done by the Lord. No, they must be assiduous and hard-working, they must look for God’s guidance and must ask for strength and for help to do their duty, persist and depend on Him for success. In other words: God will do what He has promised: everything that will be for your good but also for His glory. Your Lord will do for you what you cannot do… The man, who waits patiently to receive from God’s hand what He would judge good to send him, whether prosperity or adversity, has won the spiritual battle and has given to God the honor that belongs to Him. It is an act of humility that drives man to obedience. Man must commit, by fervent prayer, his problems to God’s good will and must wait for a blessed outcome from His part. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Ps.139:17).
As for me, have I always succeeded? No! But, … my conviction and my determination are to let the Lord Jesus act… I don’t have confidence in me. I depend on Him. I prefer that the Lord chooses for me the way and the moment… Then I know that, the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance, as the Psalmist says (Ps.16:6).
Of course, according to the cases and the circumstances, God’s Spirit recalls me certain promises or principles of the Bible that illuminate my mind and encourage me. When the people of Israel came out of the country of Egypt, the Lord told the Israelites: “Yet there shall be a space between you and it (the ark), about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before” (Jos.3:4). It means that I must follow ‘the ark’ and not to precede it, not to go before it… It means, in reality, that it is necessary to discern the voice of the Lord before acting! Every day, every instant, is a new experience, a new test, a path in which I must walk for the first time… The Bible says: “That You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment” (Job 7:18). Then, prudence, dependence and fear of God. “It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows” (Pr.20:25). Yes, The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty surely to poverty” (Pr.21:5).
A very short parenthesis: I have known in my life many people who were much more prudent than me but their prudence concerned their own interests and not God’s glory. This prudence is useful from man’s viewpoint but it doesn’t contribute to man’s salvation… May the Lord open their eyes and may they learn the fear of the Lord so that they become wise and consider their end and not their material interests.
One of the difficulties of my soul is that I want to see the solution immediately and in my way! Then, the Lord recalls me something that He taught me when I was still young: “John, if your watch is broken, you confide it to the watchmaker. Do you remain at the watchmaker’s to show him what is necessary to be done? If you bother him with your impatience, he is going to return it to you and he will show you the door… Why do you permit your arrogant impatience to stop Me from taking care of your problem? Don’t you trust Me? If yes, let Me act”. In Psalm 106 there is a phrase that has greatly edified me: “…They did not wait for His counsel” (v.13).
It is not the only verse that confirms to us the necessity to have the same attitude towards the Lord. The Bible contains a whole arsenal of exhortations accompanied by promises. I, having believed with all my heart that, Heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus’ words will by no means pass away.” (Mt.24:35; Mrk.13:31 and Lu.21:33):
Ø When the Lord tells me that, if I commit my way to the Lord, He guarantees me that He will sustain me; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved (Ps.55:22);
Ø When the Lord tells me that, if I commit my works to the LORD, He guarantees me that my thoughts will be established (Pr.16:3);
Ø When the Lord tells me that, if I am anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, I let my requests be made known to God, He guarantees me His peace (Php.4:6-7);
Ø When the Lord tells me that, if I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He guarantees me that all the things I am in need of will be added to me (Mt.6:33; 1Pi.5:7);
Ø When the Lord tells me that, if I fear the LORD and obey His voice but happens to walk in darkness and have no light, He guarantees me that I can trust in and rely on the name of the LORD (Isa.50:10);
Ø When the Lord tells me that, even if He sends me to captivity, He guarantees me that it will be for my good, because all His thoughts for me are thoughts of peace and not of evil to give me a blessed future (Jer.29:11; Da.9:2; Ps.105:17-19);
Ø When I know that, if someone wronged me or wanted to destroy me, the Lord guarantees me that it is He who reigns and that vengeance and retribution belong to Him;
Ø When the Lord tells me that, if I love Him, the Lord guarantees me that He will make all things work together for good (Ro.8:28)
Why not commit all to Him and not trust Him and wait for Him to act?
The same verse made me understand something else very important: The Lord will not act for me, He will not give me what my heart desires, if I don’t trust Him, if I don’t practice the good and if I don’t live in faithfulness. Yes, if I don’t make God my delight or if my heart is not aligned to His will! In other words: He will not act in my favor if I don’t commit my way and myself to God!!! Complete resignation! His love is always there so that I can go boldly of the throne of grace, that I may obtain mercy and find grace, to be helped in time of need (Heb.4:16).
I would like to finish this message with an experience that has marked all my life. Thirteen months after my conversion to Christ, my consecration took place on January 7, 1954, on the basis of Romans 12:1-2 that says: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. The following day, the night of January 8, 1954, I had a spiritual dream: I dreamed that I was alone in a small boat with veils in the middle of the sea. There was an auspicious wind to travel, nor too impetuous to create a danger for my life nor too weak to prevent the boat to advance. Suddenly, I asked myself the question: “…But what am I doing? Where am I heading to?” Anxious, I went to seize the rudder, but I saw to my astonishment, that there was no rudder… My anxiety increased… It was then in the middle of my confusion that I have ‘heard’ a voice – without, however, being able to say where that “voice” came from: “Do not be frightened, let the wind blow on the veils of your boat. It will guide you into a good harbor…” Then, I woke up. I understood that it was a message from the Lord, by means of a dream, for all my life: It meant that during all my life I would not have the possibility to seize the rudder of my life and guide it but that I would always be driven by the wind of God’s Sovereign Spirit in good harbors!
It was a confirmation from the Lord relative to the principle of His love, His providence, His Lordship and His intentions of peace and not of evil, but also of my inability to govern my life… A confirmation that has been addressed to me in a particular and personal manner. When I glance at my past life, I can only visualize the accomplishment of that prophetic dream… All that God was asking me to do was to WAIT PATIENTLY, FAITHFULLY AND IN SILENCE for the result of God’s actions… (Jer.3:25-29). No rudder but security! Therefore, nothing for which I could ever boast! In the book of Jeremiah it is written: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jer.10:23). Later the Lord taught me that God’s acts do not remove my own responsibilities! God helped me understand that it is not in me to direct my own steps but it is in me to make my own willful choices on which depend the evolution of my life. It is not written in vain, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Pr.4:23). May the Lord give us the necessary capacity to discern how these two spiritual principles are applied in our life!
That event of January 1954 has left indelible traces on my soul! Next, an avalanche of problems fell on me. It was then, a few days later, that the Holy Spirit gave me the verse we are studying: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Ps.37:5). To the measure my spirit consents to God’s will, the Holy Spirit explains to me the significance of that verse, in all its dimensions, and my soul little by little ripens… God bless you!