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I am constantly running thru the possible solutions to any given problem I am having. Be it finding more space in my house, figuring out how to better homeschool a kindergartener and high-schooler at the same time, or how to survive on the remaining $50 in my checkbook for a week. I am a doer–when there are problems I take action. But, sometimes, God tells me, “Cease Striving! Be still and know that I am God. Trust me and I will take care of it all.” That is a hard thing to do! It goes against everything logical. It goes against my nature.
So I mentally go through all the possibilities. What can I do to fix this problem? I pray and cry out for a solution only to hear the still, small voice, “Be still. Wait.” Ugg. This is not what I wanted to hear! But arguing with God is futile; so I let go.
“Ok, I will trust you.” I breathe out the troubles of my world, and breathe in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
Well, this lasts for a couple days, but God didn’t tell me when He would get me thru the trial, just that he would. So just about every week I will try and figure out solutions to my problems and God has to rein me in. Like a toddler who is serving his time out in the corner and whose patience is wearing. They keep getting up and the parent has to keep sitting them down and telling them it’s not time yet.
Recently, I was reading in 2 Chronicles 28, and God taught me about striving. Ahaz was a king of Judah who did not follow after the Lord. He had problems too. Because he burned incense and sacrificed his sons to false gods, God gave him over to devastation from other nations. They came in and took over his kingdom. Well, as you can imagine, this made him pretty upset. Somehow, however, he didn’t realize that all this destruction was because he was following after other gods. He said in his heart, “the Assyrian’s gods helped them beat me, so I will sacrifice to them and then they will help me too.”
So he started running around frantically building high places for idol worship on every hill and in every city. He took the utensils out of the Temple and used them in building altars to other gods. He even boarded up the Temple so no one could get in. He was desperate, yet for all his running around and trying to do the right thing, nothing was accomplished. His country was not blessed and when he died he was not buried in the court of the kings. His running was in vain — striving after the wind!
Sometimes we do this same thing. We may not be building places of worship to other gods, but we are desperately seeking solutions to our problems. We are not communing with God (which causes problems already) and we get ourselves into difficult solutions. We feel hopeless and at the end of our rope. We get into a frenzy trying to solve our problems on our own. Even when we are reading the bible and praying, “Be still and trust” is a very hard thing to do.
I imagine what life would be like if I tried to solve my solutions myself. I would probably get a part-time job because money is very tight right now. As a result of that, I would put my two youngest in school because I can’t do school with them and the older kids can’t do school and watch them. I might put Abi in school as well, because she also needs more time than I can give her. Everything flows on a downward spiral from there. Soon family life is not what I want it to be, and I wonder why things aren’t getting any better. It looks like I’m doing all the right things, but I’ve taken God out of the equation. Like Ahaz, I’m trying to solve my problems using what seems right in my eyes, I am striving in vain.
“I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2