Proverbs 3

Trust in the LORD with All Your Heart

For some time I’ve been wanting to write about the various Proverbs. I remember reading them when I was a young woman, and while I thought the concepts seemed wise, I didn’t always understand them. It’s my intent to explore Proverbs and give a modern account of what I believe is their meaning, in a way that I hope can be interpreted in today’s world.

There are so many lessons and such wonderful advice in Proverb 3. I had thought about relaying several stories to help illustrate. But I think this one event gives such modern-day meaning to the Proverb, that it stands by itself.

I recently dreamed about an event I experienced when my two sons were very young that I had basically forgotten happened in real, not dream, life. We lived in Kansas, near Kansas City, at that time. My oldest was 5 and my youngest was only about 3 months old. They are both grown now, and my oldest has two children of his own who are about the same ages now. Time, she moves quickly.

Being from Texas, I’m used to grocery stores that provide bagging services, and people to take your cart to your car and load it. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this was not a common practice in the area where I had moved to in Kansas. In fact, the norm there was that you were pretty much on your own. You bagged your groceries and pushed the cart to your car and placed the groceries in the car yourself.

At the time of this event, I had lived there about three years, so I was accustomed to this lack of bag service. I had grown very used to this situation, and had even found a grocery store that, while they didn’t push your cart to your car, they did bag your groceries and provide an area where you could drive up your car and an employee who had kept your groceries would then load your groceries for you.

But that store got very busy at times, and this day was one of those times. School was out for the day and it was the hour that most moms in the area did their shopping. So I decided to go to the grocery store near the Interstate. They usually weren’t busy. They didn’t provide any of these services, but I could get in and out of there fairly quickly, and get my baby home for his nap right away.

My baby literally looked like an angel. He had the blondest hair, bright blue eyes, and the fairest skin I’ve ever seen. He was lovely. My oldest was also a beautiful child, with dark copper colored hair and brown eyes like mine. I was blessed by having such lovely and such very sweet children. So I wasn’t surprised when strangers would stop and give compliments about my kiddos. Such happened that day and I didn’t think much about the man who said, “What nicely behaved children you have.” No, I didn’t think about it because I agreed. Silly me.

My nonchalance changed, however, once we left the store and that man followed closely behind us. He approached and tried to take my cart from me—the cart that held my groceries, but also both of my children. I yanked it away. “I’ve got it.”

He stepped back and nodded, so, again, I thought all was good. I was wrong.

As I approached the car to unlock it and load the groceries, he again approached. “I’ll help.”

“No, thank you.”

He reached toward my cart and I yanked it away from him. “I’ve got it.”

“You need help.”

“I don’t.”

His eyes were on my children, and the coldest dread came over me. Holy Spirit warned me, in a loud internal voice, “Beware.” I said a quiet prayer for God’s wisdom and assistance. I was scared. But I knew I had the Lord with me and watching over all of us.

My car had a window in the rear that would open (rather than the entire back door), so I placed my body between the stranger and my cart, then reached forward to open the window. I asked my oldest to climb inside, which he readily did. I think he knew the man was worrying me. I handed the baby to my son, and asked him to climb over the back seat and put the baby in his car seat, which he quickly did.

I turned back to the man. He reached for my jug of milk. I pushed his hand away and slammed the window shut. “I’ve got it.”

“I’m just trying to help.”

The man simply wasn’t taking no for an answer. Holy Spirit’s quiet voice instructed me to get loud. Make myself known. Don’t let him get away with bullying me.

I faced the stranger, ready to do battle, and raised my voice. “Go away.” I was kinda loud. Normally I would be embarrassed about making a scene, but I wasn’t this time. I was becoming angry and there was Holy Spirit guiding me.

My kiddos, a little older, but looking very kewl

The man raised his hands in surrender, but didn’t leave, saying, “I’m just here to help.”

Right. The only help I wanted was in getting him to leave us alone. I took a step back. You see, I’m not even five feet tall, and the man now leaned toward me in a menacing manner. He was much larger than me.

Again I raised my voice, making sure a woman I noticed at the far side of the parking lot could hear me, “I. Do. Not. Want. Your. Help. I. Do. Not. Need. Your. Help.”

When he realized the woman and another person who had just parked two rows over had overheard, he raised his hands again and finally walked away, but still faced me as he departed. “I only wanted to help.”

“I didn’t ask for it. Leave us alone.”

That was enough to get him moving, with his hands now in his pockets as he fled.

I was so upset that I realized my hands were trembling. But I knew I had heavenly assistance and my boys and I were safe. I did not leave the parking lot until the stranger left first. Then I didn’t drive directly home. Instead, I took a circuitous route to make sure we weren’t followed.

At the time, I wondered if the man had wanted one of my children, which terrified me, or merely my groceries. Had he been hungry? Was that why he reached for the milk? I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now. But I’m confident that he intended harm, otherwise he would have asked for food and wouldn’t have stayed around trying to convince me that he was harmless when his very actions signaled the opposite.

Thankfully, God is always with me. He’s with all of His followers. Holy Spirit has given me many warnings throughout my life and I’ve come to completely depend on Him. As the Psalm says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” I’m blessed to be able to do so. May the Lord watch over you and yours, and make all of your paths straight.

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