Are you a do-it-yourself type of person? Do you subscribe to the old adage, "If you want something done right, do it yourself?
Charles-Guillaume Étienne, a French dramatist, penned the phrase, in French, in his 1824 work Bruis et Palaprat. The literal translation is "One is never served so well as by oneself."
While it is not my intention to cast aspersions on or to judge Étienne, I could find no evidence in researching him of a connection to Christianity. But "one is never served so well as by oneself" is certainly a tell-tale phrase. It indicates a deficiency of trust in anyone beside himself—including God.
Joyce Meyer says she wasted many years "being upset about things I couldn't do anything about." When people hurt her, she found it difficult to trust anyone except herself.
"This caused me to believe, 'If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself,'" she once wrote. "If you don't ask anybody for anything or open your heart to them, they can't hurt you. But this mindset just kept me from trusting God. It was a bad habit I had to break."
Haven't we all been guilty of that at one time or another? I certainly have, without question.
Think about that. I actually had the audacity to think, for even one second, that the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and the Creator of the universe could not solve my simple little life issues.
Much to my chagrin, I soon discovered that I couldn't either. Imagine that.
It's a lesson that both my wife, Patty, and I have soberly learned during the 18-plus years of our marriage. Sure, we would pray to God, and we would set our problems at His feet. We brought our prayers to Him, fully expecting a favorable answer, believing the words of 1 John 5:14, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us" (MEV).
The problem was, in many instances, we were too impatient to wait on God's timing. And when the results didn't come when we wanted them, we would begin to complain and whine, effectively snatching our problems from God's feet and not allowing Him to take care of them. This specifically happened early in our marriage when we were trying to have children.
While you can read the specific details of that ordeal in this article from 2013, needless to say, the reason why our fertility problems stretched out over three-plus years—including a miscarriage—is because we didn't leave it at God's feet. We picked it up and felt we could take care of it better than God could.
But there simply must come a time of surrender, a time where you finally realize that God is the ONLY solution. We were exhausted and couldn't fight it anymore, and we decided to give it ALL to God and trust Him.
Two months later, Patty became pregnant, and God gave us our daughter, Rachel. He later gave us our son, Joshua. Indeed, God is good, but He waited for us to mature in our faith before He answered our prayer.
While God is faithful and constantly answers our prayers in the little things, I can recall two other instances involving what we believed were mountainous life issues. One arose when we first moved to Florida, and I was unemployed. While I did freelance work for little money, I remained unemployed for my first two years here.
I had interviews—two which I thought I had nailed and was sure the jobs were mine. Both times, the door closed in my face. Throughout the process I prayed, and I laid the problem at God's feet, only to complain and continually pick it up again. Believe me, God will NOT honor that. It's a slap to His face.
Finally, after another major disappointment, we gave it to God and let Him keep it. A month later, I was employed again, by International Speedway Corporation in Daytona.
The second instance is more recent. We were hit with a huge payment to the IRS, one we certainly couldn't afford (more than $7,000). This time, we immediately gave our situation to God and asked Him to handle it without complaint. We remained in prayer, and God found a more manageable way for us. Indeed, God is good.
In each instance, I felt like King Jehohaphat and all of Judah when faced with a daunting impending battle against the Moabites and the Ammonites in 2 Chronicles 20:17, "It will not be necessary for you to fight in this conflict. Take your positions, stand, and observe the deliverance of the Lord for you, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be filled with terror. Tomorrow, go out before them, and the Lord will be with you" (MEV).
What God tells Jehoshaphat in this passage and what he would remind us of today is this: "The battle is not yours; it's Mine. You don't have to fight in it."
Rick Warren once wrote, "The fact is, if you are God's child, then your problems are His problems. And He is much better at fighting your battles and solving your problems than you will ever be. Your job is to trust Him to work it all out. Perhaps the reason we have so many tired, fatigued and discouraged Christians is because we think, 'It all depends on me.'"
In other words, if you're a Christ follower and you're tired because your problems seem so overwhelming, go to God's Word, and you'll certainly find your answers, including these two Scriptures:
- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5-6, MEV)
- "Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7, MEV)
If you find yourself in similar situations, know that God doesn't want you to take those burdens on yourself. He wants to help. Patty and I know we will continue to be presented with life challenges with our marriage, our children, our finances, our home and other areas. But we now know what to do about it; and you can do the same.
Go to His Word; go to Him in prayer and leave it at His feet. Only don't take it back upon yourself. Put your trust COMPLETELY in Him and wait on Him. You will learn, as Patty and I have, to do it for the rest of your life. Remember:
- "Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa. 40:31, MEV).
- "But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience" (Rom. 8:25, MEV).
And as I always like to say, "there is that."
Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Online Manging Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to helping Christ followers strengthen their faith to get beyond their comfort zone and come to more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling.
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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