Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
I read an article recently by cycling coach Jim Rutberg, entitled: 5 Expectations Your Coach Has of You. The list was: “Be Engaged; Be Truthful; Have Trust; Listen; Do the Work”. Having coached for many years myself, I can say that this list sums it up pretty well. If you get that from an athlete, and you yourself as a coach adhere to similar commitments, that competitor will likely perform to the highest of their capabilities. While each expectation is important, I want to concentrate on the third expectation: “Have Trust”.
“Trust has to be earned and a coach earns yours through a combination of our work with athletes before you and our work directly with you. It takes a little time, but that trust is necessary so you gain confidence in the direction of your training and can turn your focus to the execution of workouts, nutrition strategies, recovery routines etc. Trusting your coach doesn’t mean you shouldn’t question your coach. You should have spirited discussions about your plan and hold your coach accountable to show you how you’re improving. Just as I don’t expect you to blindly follow my directions. I don’t expect blind trust, either. In the end, though, if you don’t trust your coach’s choices you’re never all-in. You always hold something back because of doubt. And ironically, the only person it hurts is you because you’re not achieving all you could.”[i]
Trust is absolutely critical when it comes to a successful athlete-coach relationship. Without it, you may as well have no coach and just be out training on your own. Likewise, in our spiritual walk it is critical that we have trust, and this begins with trusting our head coach, our Lord in heaven.
Years ago I was struggling through some challenging times. I had no idea where God was taking me, or us as a family. I recall sitting down one evening and praying: “God I don’t understand what is going on, and I don’t feel I have any direction for me or the family you have called me to lead.” That night I woke up at about 2 am and I couldn’t sleep. I felt God encouraging me to read my Bible. I reached over to grab the Bible by my bed, but it wasn’t there. I quietly crept around our room looking for any of the 4 or 5 Bibles that were usually there, but found none. I went downstairs and looked all over the main floor and I couldn’t find any. This was ludicrous because we would easily have a dozen Bibles scattered all over the house. I remember looking up, laughing and saying: “You have a great sense of humor God. You ask me to read the Bible and then hide them all”. I passed by the dining room and I saw a small travel Bible that my wife had bought me years ago; I recall bringing it on one trip. I grabbed it and immediately it opened to a page with a bookmark in it. Much to my shock, as I only used it once and never recalled marking anything up, it had two verses highlighted in color (flipping through, no other verses were highlighted in the whole Bible). It was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Tears immediately ran down my face and I began to sob uncontrollably. While there was not a sound in the room, it was the clearest I had ever heard God speak to me. Only hours earlier I had prayed for understanding and direction, and his answer was: “you don’t need to understand, you need to trust me, and I will make your paths straight”.
My life changed significantly after that early hour. God took me and our family on a crazy adventure, ripping us from our rural family roots and moving us to the heart of a big city, changing jobs, changing churches, everything was thrown on its head. But God gave me peace because I chose to trust him in the midst of my lack of understanding. As I look back today, ironically nearly back where we started, I now understand much of the path he took us on and the reasons for each step. Had I not had faith and not been open to his leading, just because I did not understand at the time, I would have missed out on so much spiritual growth and I would have missed out on all God had for me and my whole family.