A Word from the Lord ... and from Nancy

On my All-Time Favorite People List is the name Nancy Johnson. Nancy was married to Senior Vice President Ted Johnson for many years. Near the end of her life when illness attacked her body, it also took a piece of her mind. She remained her enthusiastic, energetic, loving self but everything she said was not quite as clear as it had been previously.

There was, however, one thing she proclaimed — many times as a matter of fact — that was as clear as a bell. Nancy loved Proverbs 3:5-6 and she would quote it often and loudly, anywhere and everywhere. Once we were leading a group of Young Life friends to the Holy Land. We were standing on Mount Nebo, the same place that Moses had stood many years before. The last chapter of the book of Deuteronomy describes the scene. Moses climbed Mount Nebo and there the Lord showed him all the Promised Land. But all Moses got to do was see it; he was not allowed to inhabit it because of his disobedience. So there we were, thousands of years later, standing in the same place. The guide explained all of this and then paused before going further. In that pause, Nancy loudly proclaimed from the top of the mountain, Proverbs 3:5-6.

“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.”

I will never forget it. It was not the first time on that trip she would say it; it was not the last. But the Lord spoke to us on Mount Nebo through the mouth of His servant Nancy.

When Nancy prayed in Israel, or wherever else, she would invariably quote these verses. This passage was on her heart, on her lips and in her mind and I never think about Nancy Johnson without remembering her proclamation of Proverbs 3:5-6.

Nancy has been gone for quite a few years but her favorite verses are ones that I would recommend for us as our promise from the Lord for 2007.

Facing today’s challenges
We live in a very difficult time. Our culture seems to be disintegrating. A post-Christian age seems more of a possibility. Wars rage. Anger abounds. And in the midst of all this, we must live out our lives with family members, coworkers, friends and those who seem to be our enemies. How can we be the spouse God wants us to be? How do we parent kids? Adult kids, even? How do we grandparent? How do we face the declining years of our parents or our own declining years? How do we survive in a rugged marketplace? What do we do when people turn on us?

I say in 2007, let’s listen to Nancy. When we’re on the mountain or in the pits, let’s quote Proverbs 3:5-6. When we pray, let’s remember Proverbs 3:5-6. When we walk, talk, sit down and rise up, let’s keep Proverbs 3:5-6 ever before us.

Let’s trust in the Lord with all our hearts. Let’s bet our lives on Him. When we face anxiety or fear or challenges way beyond our resources, let’s trust Him even though we may be reluctant to do so. Let’s make our first reaction to trust rather than to complain or collapse or rant and rave. Let’s rely on Him; place our confidence in Him. Lean into Him. Put the weight of our lives on Him.

God’s guarantees
Let’s not rely on our understanding alone. We’ve been given a sound mind but that’s not enough. Let’s propose to make no major decision without coming to the Lord in prayer. In all our ways, let’s acknowledge Him. Let’s not be afraid to give a reason for the hope that is within us. Let’s not be secret saints. Let’s proclaim by our lifestyle and our words that we believe in the God of the Universe and that we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

And, finally, let us know without a doubt that nothing makes God nervous. The whole world is in His good hands. He is not surprised by what transpires on this earth. He is loving and wants the best for us. And, let us remember, as Nancy would shout, “AND HE WILL DIRECT OUR PATHS.”

I’m going to feast and focus on Proverbs 3:5-6 in 2007. It’s a word from the Lord … and from Nancy.