Trust in the Lord – Man as Provider
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
The Battle of Mogadishu, more popularly known as “Black Hawk Down,” required me to make a number of difficult decisions as the commander giving direction for that operation. From the time I prayed over my men before sending them into a city with tens of thousands of hostile Somali militia to the aftermath of sending 16 flag-draped coffins on a transport plane back home, there are several moments that are carved into my memory and riveted to my soul. One of those was my exchange with Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, when I denied but ultimately gave in to their request to go help the crew of the downed Black Hawk. They gave their lives to save the life of pilot Mike Durant and earned the first Medals of Honor since Vietnam. But believe me, I have replayed that decision numerous times. Another bitter moment was when the 5-ton truck arrived back to base, crammed with my men, the wounded stacked on top of the dead. When the tailgate dropped and the blood washed out at my feet with the smell of iron in the air, it was almost overwhelming. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.
Most of you have heard my testimony, how I questioned God in the aftermath of losing some fine men, heroes all, that I tell about in more detail in my book Never Surrender. As I pondered what had happened in that 18-hour fight, I grew angry with God for not preventing this kind of aftermath. I even concluded during my weakest and angriest moment that there is no God. However, after God graciously restored me, I asked Him to give me Scripture that would help me understand what had happened. And then I simply opened my Bible for a word from Him to help me make sense of what had transpired. I needed His comfort. I needed His direction. And He came through for me by giving me Proverbs 3:5-6, on the very page to which I had opened my Bible. As the commander of Delta Force operators and Rangers in that tough battle, I had to provide direction. Now, as the Executive Vice President of Family Research Council and leader of Kingdom Warriors Ministry, I am providing direction. As a husband, father, and grandfather, I am providing direction. However, as a servant of the Lord, I look to God for direction. 
The truth is we can’t give what we don’t have. How do we get the direction we need in order to provide it to those we lead? Solomon gives us the answer. First, “Trust in the Lord…” The Hebrew root word translated “trust” means throw yourself down upon your face or lie extended on the ground before a superior. One Bible scholar I read said this word is meant to evoke the image of a servant waiting for the master’s command, ready to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general. If we want direction, that’s how we must come to God, in humble trust, “with all your heart.” As James puts it, we can’t be double-minded or have a divided heart before the Lord if we want wisdom (1:8). We’ve got to be “all in.”
Then Solomon gives a contrast in the second half of the verse that drives home the first principle: “lean not on your own understanding.” Trusting in our own understanding is misplaced, like trying to lean on a broken crutch or sit in a broken chair. Why? Our own understanding is faulty, infected by sin. Our own understanding is limited, while God’s is unlimited. We need His omniscient perspective on our circumstances and for our decisions because our own perspective is unreliable.
Verse 6 takes us further: “In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Basically, this is a call to recognize the presence of God in every facet of life. This became very real to me on the battlefield. However, most believers live as practical atheists. They profess belief in God but live their lives moment by moment as if He doesn’t exist. Acknowledging God in all our ways means actively inviting Him to guide our choices and conduct and then submitting to Him. If we do that, there’s a promise: “He shall direct your paths.” In other words, God will provide unfailing direction forward. 
As Providers, we must then take what we receive from God and learn how to provide that direction to those we love and lead. Sometimes that direction we give can make the difference between life and death. So, trust in the Lord with all your heart and in all your ways acknowledge Him so that He can give you His direction forward.
1. Based on this Scripture, how can we know and do the will of God? How can we know His direction in a matter?
2. Think of an example of a time God gave you direction. How can you break it down and communicate how God led you and thus provide direction?
3.  Ask God to guide and direct your paths, even as you trust and acknowledge Him. Ask Him to help you provide direction for those in your charge.