Proverbs 3:7-8 indicate that our bodies don’t do well when we rely on own understanding. Trusting God and purposely loving him in all that we do brings health. Trusting your own understanding will lead to a lack of health. This is not a magic formula. Loving God in every area of your life means an intentional awareness of loving him. Recall God’s instruction in Deuteronomy 6:5-6. A deep love for God is followed by God’s commands being woven into the heart. This is one example of acknowledging God in all of your ways.
Merely reciting God’s word will not keep you from being wise in your own eyes. The book of Judges is full of apostasy, because everyone was wise in his own eyes. But as you read Judges you will quickly realize that God was often talked about, is if he were some sort of magic charm to protect personal interests. No, Proverbs is talking about much more than just saying God’s name when things get challenging.
Trusting God, fearing him and turning from evil brings peace to our minds and health to our bodies. Stress can indicate fear of man instead of fear of God. Let me add one qualifier here. Challenging situations can be stressful, but the stress is in the situation not in our minds. In my youth I served as a lifeguard at pools and lakes. Seeing someone in distress in the water is indeed a stressful situation. But when those moments came, there was never a moments doubt as to what I should do to rescue that person. There were times when I had to clear the pool when lightning was imminent, but the danger was not obvious to everyone. Being yelled at by angry folks who did not think it was necessary to clear the pool was, in some ways, stressful. But, again there was never a doubt about what I should do. I was not stressed about the decision that I had to make. I trusted the safety guidelines that I had promised to enforce. If I had not trusted those guidelines, the stress and lack of bodily health that Proverbs 3:8 speaks about would have befallen me. Even in stressful situations, I did not experience stress, but peace.
It is the same with trusting God and the guidelines for spiritual safety that his word provides. God calls us to trust his wisdom and not our own. Stress leads to confusion. Trust in God and his ways leads to peace. Like oil and water, trust and stress do not mix. When you attribute short, curt answers and a contentious spirit to stress, you are demonstrating that the stressful situation has overcome you. Fear God, shun evil and know peace.
Model this for your children. If you see stress and uncertainty in their lives consider whether or not your lack of trust in God may be a contributing factor. The promise of Proverbs three is a rich one. Show its beauty to your children and to those God brings into your life.