I struggle with a bad habit. It has been a lifelong problem that I still battle with often. It’s an area of temptation where I still fail miserably at times. I know better, but in spite of my knowledge, I still lose this battle more often than I’m happy to admit.
What is this sin that still pulls me down, after all these years of walking in grace? It’s the sin of trying to figure things out. Let me explain what I mean. When big challenges come along in my life, I sometimes move through three phases.
First, I “freak out.” I feel a surge of panic about the situation. The kind of panic that causes a voice within my flesh to scream out, “What if . . .?” The rest of the “what if” depends on the specifics of the situation I’m facing at the time. The end of my “what ifs” always revolve around a hypothetical outcome in which God abandons me to my problem. In this imaginary scenario, He would just ignore me and my situation, as if He didn’t even know about it.
The next phase is where I lapse into sin. I quickly move from “freak out” to “figure out.” This is the point at which I attempt to rationalize my circumstance and figure out what I am going to do about it. I take the problem and turn it over and over in my mind. Sometimes I’ll do this day and night. At those moments, I know there must be something I can do to change the situation and I’m bound and determined to figure out what it is and do it.
After relentless rationalization and frenzied figuring-out, I finally come to the only sane place a Christian can live. I “find out” that there’s nothing I can do, and I turn every ounce of my hopes toward my loving Father. I once again find out that He is my only hope and I cast my cares on Him and depend on Him to be the faithful Father that I’ve always known Him to be.
I like the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. He was at a point where “a great multitude” of his enemies came out against him, to destroy him. He was greatly outnumbered and unbelievably out powered. His best military strategy wouldn’t work. His strongest men and weapons wouldn’t hold them back. He was in a mess. There was no human answer for his situation.
So he prayed and here’s what he said: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” There’s my answer (and yours), plain and simple. What do we do when we don’t know what to do? We acknowledge our helplessness (we don’t know what to do) and turn our eyes to our heavenly Father, who alone can solve our problems (but our eyes are upon you). Then we wait for Him to either solve the problem directly or give us guidance on how to proceed. What we don’t do is go into an impulsive overdrive where we try to solve our own problem.
Are you facing a troubling situation in your own life? Don’t freak out. And you might as well not fall into the trap of trying to figure it out either. Learn from my repeated failures – in the end you will find out that your only hope is resting in your Father’s love and faithfulness. So save yourself the worry and headache and just trust Him. He won’t fail you. I’ve seen that fact proven true thousands of times. I hope I’ll remember that next time!