Blog #36- God, I Just Can't Do It
When my son was 4, he examined the broccoli on his plate and announced that he “just couldn’t eat it.” To emphasize his point, he gently placed his hand on the small of his back, slightly winced and explained it made his back hurt.
Disclaimer: His first decade of life, I dealt with severe, chronic back pain. It was commonplace to see me hunched over, limping or lying down. My son had learned that spinal issues earned you privileges in life (lots of lying down and people waiting on you) and he thought that might translate into vegetables.
As ridiculous as his reasoning was, his sincerity was heartfelt. To the core, he was convinced that floret could not be swallowed. As a parent, I knew otherwise.
I think that’s how God feels when we face a situation and tell Him we “just can’t do it.” Our reasons are compelling! We aren’t strong enough or smart enough. We have too much anger or sadness. The issue is just too big.
Yet God knows otherwise. Unlike an unpopular vegetable conversation, He isn’t tickled on the inside by our reasoning. Rather, He agrees with us.
Yes, it’s big.
Yes, it’s hard.
You are lacking.
You will need more.
Then He whispers what we might miss due to the volume of our loud inadequacies:
We are in this together.
Oh, how cliché! We’ve read that He will never leave us or forsake us, but when faced with difficulty we suddenly feel very alone and forsaken. How do we face the death of a loved one, a season of unemployment, or a teenager spiraling out of control… together?!
Suddenly, witty Bible verses and age-old platitudes fall flat. This is more than I can handle, and please don’t let one more person say it’s happening for a reason. That I cannot do.
These I-just-can’t-do-it situations bring us to a fork in our road of faith. Is He really close to the broken hearted (Psalm 34:18)? Is He really with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9)? Can He really give me peace (John 14:27)? Are these just religious phrases or actual lifelines?
Ironically, they can be both.
We can read them, listen to them or even stencil them our walls, but unless we interact with them, they will remain words. Words that create phrases, but no life change.
God’s Word invites us to connect with Him. Within this relationship, we find ourselves doing what we thought we couldn’t. But, the power is not in the words themselves! It’s in what we do with them… with Him.
Take the well-known, often recited, commonly framed passage from Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
We want Him to make our paths straight. And we believe He will, until we find ourselves in crooked situations that don’t budge. Then we read this passage, wag our finger and wonder (read: demand) why He’s not doing His job.
Your Word says You will make my path straight!!
But what about trusting Him with all our hearts? Leaning not on our own understanding? Acknowledging Him in all our ways?
So often we want the benefits of the Word without actually living them out. We want to hit the Jesus button and watch our suffering evaporate. Our paths don’t naturally straighten out because we read it in the Bible. They straighten out because we (not-so-naturally!) trust Him, lean in the right direction and acknowledge Him.
It is the interaction that matters.
Unfortunately, when we read His promises, while negating His instructions, we find Him lacking. What is lacking, though, is our participation in the process. God’s Word is always meant to be lived out.
My son did eat his broccoli that night. The whole family ate their bites simultaneously with him. Afterwards there was lots of cheering.
He did it! Rather, we did it.
Consider how can you live out Proverbs 3:5-6 in reference to what is difficult in your life.
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