We are doing a small kitchen remodel and I decided that I would help my husband by installing the new hardware. This seemed like a simple task that I could accomplish to help him out. I grabbed a screwdriver, summoned all of the elbow grease I had available to me, and got started. I had only finished one door when Eric came in the kitchen and viewed me skeptically. He left and returned a few minutes later with his drill. Now I could get going! Who needs elbow grease? But as I busily started using my new tool, I realized that it takes a bit of skill. I wasn’t used to the drill and ended up breaking and stripping several screws. I looked at the screws hopelessly. Now what? I felt totally inadequate. Sure, I could do the job if nothing untoward happened along the way. But when things started going a little awry, I was a bit lost. I decided to worry about them later and kept working.
When Eric came through the kitchen, I told him of my dilemma a bit shame-facedly. He picked up the drill and removed the stripped screws immediately (I still can’t figure out how he did that!) but it sure did make me think.
Why do I always think I can fix things? Why do I always think I have to? If there is an expert around (in this case, my very handy husband), why not ask for help?
Aahh. Yes. The same thing goes in life, too. If God is there waiting to help us, all-powerful and all-knowing, why do I want to rely on my hopeless, measly skills to remove myself from a jam or a problem? I have a few ideas why we do this–
1. Pride – I don’t want to admit that I need help. I can do this on my own. We behave like little two year olds who scream “I can do it myself!”. It sounds silly to write, but many of us think it, even if we have learned that it is socially inappropriate to speak it.
2. Arrogance – A word very similar to pride, but just a little different. We have been taught that we can do anything we want to do. We are amazing and talented and beautiful. We can do anything we set our minds to and we certainly don’t need supernatural help to do it. This common theme is heard across this great land. You can be anything you want to be and nothing can stop you. What a rude wake-up call when we find out we can’t do everything and Someone certainly can stop us!
3. Biblical Illiteracy– Most of us are not spending much time learning more about God’s Word and filling our minds with godly sermons, songs, and exhortations. We are letting ourselves starve spiritually and instead focused on feeding ourselves with the world’s food. We don’t really think about the ramifications of this until we find ourselves in a place of suffering. All of a sudden, we realize we aren’t close to God at all and we have no idea what to do or how to pray.
4. Misplaced Focus – When we are trying to figure out a problem or work out a relationship, we spend most of the time focused on ourselves. I need to fix this because I am hurting. This needs to change to make my life better. I can’t bear this pain. How could God let this happen to me? But the Bible tells us that trials produce patience and perseverance and character and hope in us (James 1, Romans 5). We need to remove the focus off of ourselves and place it on to God.
As I write, I know that I am guilty of these four things so very often. Unless I take time to check my heart and mind when I am going through a trial, I am very apt to fall prey to one or more on this list. But I realize that, unless I turn to God in my hoplessness and devastation, I will end up with the impossible. Only God can fix the “stripped screws” of my life. If you aren’t a believer, you may be skeptical. But I am here to tell you that I have seen God do amazing things that can only be attributed to Him. If only we would turn to Him sooner and more often! May we be teachable and focused on God. May we be thirsty for His Word and growing spiritually in the good times, so that instead of hopelessness and frustration in trials, we can instead turn to Him with confidence and patience.