Tag Archives: Proverbs 3

Play Ball

Have no fear of sudden disaster
    or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked….

Proverbs 3:25 (NIV)

FYI: Major League Baseball players have reported for Spring Training. It is something that never goes unnoticed on my calendar. As an Iowan who annually guts out a long, cold winter (it was sub-zero when I left for cross-fit this morning) the start of Spring Training is the first reminder that winter’s days are numbered. As a Cubs fan, the opening of Spring Training has traditionally marked the resetting of hope, in which “this year” could be the “next year” that we finally win the World Series.

Of course, it finally happened back in 2016. I enjoyed reliving that moment this past New Year’s as it was regularly listed as one of the past decade’s top stories in sports.

When you spend most of your life cheering for teams who never win the big game and fall short on a perennial basis, it’s easy to fall prey to pessimism. I have written on multiple occasions regarding the fact that I, as an Enneagram Type 4, can easily transform pessimism into an art form. So, when the Indians took the lead in the bottom of the 8th it seemed so natural and appropriate for the dark clouds to hover and the rain to break forth. Here we go again.

But the rain ended. The Cubs came back. It finally happened.

In today’s chapter, Solomon continues to share with his children the benefits of God’s wisdom. One of the benefits that he lists is not having to fear “sudden disaster” or “the ruin that overtakes the wicked.” This is essential encouragement for the artistic pessimist within. But I have also learned along my life journey that this does not mean that bad things won’t happen. In part, what Solomon is saying is that there are natural (and predictable) consequences of foolishness and wickedness that I don’t have to worry about if I act wisely and do/say what’s right. In addition, the Great Story provides example after example of God strengthening and sustaining those who seek Him even in the midst of incredible suffering.

It is absolutely miserable outside the window of my office. It’s frigidly cold. The wind is blustering, and the ground is covered with snow. But, I don’t have to let that feed my natural pessimistic nature. This will not last forever.

They are playing baseball in Arizona.

Play ball.

<— Click on Solomon for an indexed list of previous chapter-a-day posts from this series from Proverbs!

About This Post

These chapter-a-day posts began in 2006. It’s a very simple concept. I endeavor each weekday to read one chapter from the Bible. I then blog about my thoughts, insights, and feelings about the content of that chapter. Everyone is welcome to share this post, like this post, or add your own thoughts in a comment. Thank you to those who have become faithful, regular or occasional readers along the journey along with your encouragement.

In 2019 I began creating posts for each book, with an indexed list of all the chapters for that book. You can find the indexed list by clicking on this link.

Prior to that, I kept a cataloged index of all posts on one page. You can access that page by clicking on this link.

You can also access my audio and video messages, as well.

tomvanderwell@gmail.com @tomvanderwell

Living in the Mystery

A walk in the dark
(Photo credit: Mozzer502)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

I ran into a wise old friend a few weeks ago and asked him how things are going for him. He laughed when I asked and responded, “When I was a young man I thought I had to have all the right answers. Then I got older and I thought I had to ask all the right questions. Now, I’m at a place where I’m just trying to learn to live in the mystery.”

I memorized the verses above when I was a young man, and each time we come back to this chapter I am reminded of their wisdom. Like my friend, I have long ago given up thinking that I understand all the answers. In recent years my life journey has taken me places where at times even my questions lack any potency to ease my heart and mind. I am caught in the mystery of the silence when I mutter “Why?,” “I don’t get it,” and “Father God, I simply don’t understand.”

Today, I am reminded by familiar words not to rely on my own understanding. I am reminded that this journey I am on is a journey of faith and faith requires trust when my own senses and wisdom fail to comprehend the current path nor its true purpose. Today, I am reminded to seek contentment to live in the mystery knowing that neither the right answers nor the right questions are required. Sometimes faith is the only requirement.

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 3

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket ph...
Image via Wikipedia

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

I was inspired back in my college days when I read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, which tells of his days starting out as a writer in Paris. “All you have to do is write one true sentence,” he wrote. “Write the truest sentence you know.” When preparing a message of any kind, whether it’s a sermon or a corporate training session, I start by trying to define the one thing I want to say. If there’s one thing I want people to know and remember when they leave, what would it be in one short phrase or sentence.

As I wrote in my post yesterday, New Year’s Eve was a late night – well, early morning – for Wendy and me. Thus, I confess I didn’t make it to church on Sunday morning. My friend, Matthew, called on Sunday evening and I asked him what the message was about that morning. He was able to quickly sum it up in one sentence: “Approach 2012 with expectancy of what God’s going to do, but with no expectations of what that is.”

It must have been a great message. Matthew walked away with the one true thing planted firmly in his mind, and was able to communicate it clearly and concisely. In once sentence he gave me the message and it’s still rattling around in my brain three days later as I read this morning’s chapter.

The verses above are ones I memorized as a young man. I’ve never forgotten them and they’ve provided me with encouragement throughout the journey. Here at the beginning of a new year I read them again and immediately thought of the message Matthew gave me. Trust God with your whole heart, acknowledge Him in all things, but don’t try to pretend to know what He’s going to do. No worries. He’ll direct the path.

One true thing.