JULY 6, 2018

Just Trust Me

(Today’s Friday Letter comes to us from the desk of Ray Ondrejka, a member of First Reformed Church.) 

Dear Church,

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)  “All that you do.” That part is the hook.  That’s a hard commitment. At least for me it was.  More so, a difficult teaching to understand.  It was a teaching that took many years for me to come to reality with. 

I didn’t go to a four-year university; instead, I worked full-time as I went to junior college, and eventually applied and was accepted into ISU to continue on and receive my B.A.  Little did I know that the year I went away to school was one of which I would have little memory.  I was the cliché epitome of a “college party student.”  I was there, but not committed.  Well, I was committed to other things, none of which included me spending time in the library, going to class, or turning in projects.  Fast forward nine months.  ISU asked me to leave. I had literally failed out of college. I got the letter in the mail sometime in early June of that year.  While sitting in my car on my lunch break, I read that letter and felt defeated.  I still hadn’t realized how bad of a “life” decision I had just made, which was to not commit to my studies and activities as a student, and to seek my own selfish desires above all. 

I don’t really remember what my father and mother said to me at the time. Some years later, after I put two and two together, I realized that I had just wasted an entire year of my life. Prepping, packing, moving, going to class, (feeble attempts to learn), and driving back and forth from home to keep a part-time job at home, all for nothing.  On top of all of that, I had wasted close to $22,000 of my father’s hard-earned money. Almost a decade later, I still feel the guilt about my time at ISU, not because of my lack of care for the low grades I received (not all of which were horrible), but because of the financial stress I had put my parents through.  I didn’t commit to God then, so it’s safe to say I didn’t ‘…remember the Lord in all that I do…’ I acted foolishly and He was the furthest thing away from my mind at that time.  I had failed. About a year ago, I went to my dad and apologized to him.  He looked at me and all he said was, “It happens.” I know he was disappointed, that he knew I was better than that.  When I started to come around First Church, it was hard for me to let the Lord drive my decisions.  I was always one to quickly make irrational decisions and not think about the ramifications to follow.  I thought only in the moment.  Now, when I am faced with a difficult decision, I do remember the Lord.  I trust that He’ll give me the guidance needed to make the right choice.  

We allow anxiety, doubt, and fear to creep in when we lean on our own understanding. We must seek God first in prayer and in reading His Word.  I love the following quote, because it ties in perfectly with the Proverbs verse - “We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available.  But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally.  It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.” (Charles R. Swindoll.) We have that choice, to listen and FULLY trust, and when we do that, God gives us a beautiful promise: that he will give us success. 

Grace & Peace,

Ray Ondrejka