There is a frustration that descends on me when I find I can’t do a job as easily as I thought. I don’t know how many times I have started a project with the thought “this shouldn’t take long” only to find that the job takes the entire day. It is often hard to judge the variables a job will bring about and the process some jobs take us through.
Right after my 5-year-old was born, we purchased a swing set for our yard. This came with the standard “some assembly required” statement, which didn’t bother me because I had tools. It was only a handful of pieces after all. Things went fine for a long time, until I needed to put two metal pieces together that didn’t want to go together. I spent an hour trying to make these two pieces fit together. I used larger hammers, fire, and even contemplated drilling some new holes into it. Then, in what was a moment of “ah ha”, I decided to flip the two ends around, and instantly they fit. I couldn’t believe it! I felt defeated and elated at the same time. My hands were sore, my pride was wounded, but I emerged victorious.
It would seem we realize our limitations as we step back and gain some perspective. I find this to be true in many areas in life. I know I can very quickly try to figure some problem with my children or with my ministry, when the solution is much more complicated than my quick fix. Then there are people who struggle with addictions or other destructive cycles, trying anything to fix the situation. Maybe there are insurmountable obstacles to a career goal that seek to dissuade you from that. These leave us wondering, “why is this taking so long?”
No matter what it is, all of these come down to an understanding of who are and who God is. Who in their right mind would struggle for hours on something when there is someone who knows and can help you right there? Of course we wouldn’t push the help away. Yet, how often do we do this with God?
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are put into prison. They were beaten and fastened for their proclamation of the gospel. The guards took tremendous care to make sure this was done properly. God let them do this and then in an instant took it all away.
“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.” – Acts 16:26
These guards could have spent years setting up a prison around these guys only to watch God tear it down in an instant. God doesn’t struggle with these things. He speaks and it is done.
I was watching a program recently about drug addicts and their road to recovery. One by one I listened as they told their story of pain and struggle. I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for them because their stories were so sad and complicated. I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if they were to entrust their burden with God instead of trying to hide it with drugs. God doesn’t need a recovery program. In an instant prison doors come open and chains come off!
It might not be addiction for you, so what is it? We are all up against seemingly impossible things. I know I am encouraged knowing that no matter what challenge I face, God is able to instantly handle it. We need to take it to Him and watch what He can do.
This reminds me of the first verse of the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. It would seem like we do forfeit so much peace by not taking things to God in prayer.
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
What A Friend We Have in Jesus. Words by Joseph M. Scriven (Public Domain)