From Handbook to God’s Promises
PROVISION FOR GUIDANCE
Lean On Him
Many people believe that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest American president. His faith in God, both public and private, caused Count Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian novelist and playwright, to call Lincoln “a Christ in miniature.” Lincoln seemed like Solomon in the way he viewed his responsibilities as president (1 Kings 3:7–9). He was totally dependent upon the Lord for wisdom, especially during the terrible years of the American Civil War. Compare Lincoln’s statements with Solomon’s:
“Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well.”1
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”2
“I trust that as He shall further open the way, I will be ready to walk therein, relying on His help and trusting in His goodness and wisdom.”3
“I have always taken counsel of Him, and referred to Him my plans, and have never adopted a course of proceeding without being assured, as far as I could be, of His approbation.”4
From a background of poverty, self-education, and failure in the pursuit of public office came a man whose job it was to lead the country through the greatest crisis in its “four score and seven” years of history. Had he approached that task in a spirit opposite that of Proverbs 3:5–6, he would have acknowledged God in nothing, established his own paths, and made his own decisions. Where might America be today had that kind of person been leading the country?
Instead, Lincoln humbled himself before the will of God as best he could discern it, sought God’s guidance at every turn, yielded his understanding to what he read in the Bible, and sought godly counsel. Then he humbly made bold decisions, trusting the outcome to God.
Whether seeking guidance for ourselves or for our nation, we can rely on God, who promises to direct the paths of those who lean on Him.
He will straighten all your paths if you will trust in Him.
- Lincoln’s Farewell Address (February 11, 1861; Springfield, IL).
- Quoted in Michael Burlingame, ed., Lincoln Observed: The Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 210.
- Reported by James F. Wilson, “Some Memories of Lincoln,” The North American Review 163 (1896): 669.
- Quoted in John G. Holland, Life of Abraham Lincoln (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Library, 2005; orig. 1866), 440. Accessed November 16, 2020, at http://name.umdl.umich.edu/ABX9856.0001.001.