Are you tempted to help God by doing things in your own strength? Do you find yourself making a mess out of things by being impatient and not trusting in God’s ability and timing? I find myself struggling in this area quite frequently and need to be reminded that God doesn’t need my help.
Recently I read two accounts in the Bible pertaining to this subject. Two different men experienced contrasting results of their choices in this area. The first man was an Israelite named Uzzah. God had given the command for no one to touch the sacred ark of God. However, after the oxen stumbled, Uzzah reached out to steady it. (2 Sam. 6:6-7) Because of his disobedience, God instantly took his life. Uzzah had good intentions, but he over stepped his bounds by trying to help God.
In contrast, Elijah lived a life of faith that challenges me. He was commanded by God to live beside the Brook Cherith, during a severe drought in the land. God sent ravens to feed him, and the water from the brook sustained him. However, week after week, Elijah watched the brook dwindle until it completely dried up. This brook was Elijah’s source of survival. Elijah patiently and faithfully waited until God gave him instructions on where to go next. (1 Kings 17:1-9) Many of us would have anxiously fretted long before God spoke. Before the brook actually dried up, we would have made other plans and asked for God’s blessing as we headed somewhere else. Is this faith in God or faith in ourselves?
When we entrust God with something, we need to learn the lesson that Uzzah should have learned…to keep our hands off! God is capable of guarding His possessions better than we can, and He doesn’t need our help. A life of faith often requires that we leave things alone. Psalms 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
I know from personal experience that this is NOT easy to do! I remember the specific time when I struggled the most with this issue. It was during the time when our son, Austin, was in critical condition because of being in congestive heart failure. His only chance of survival was to receive a second heart transplant. Political issues and personal choices of our family caused the transplant center where he was at, to refuse him the care that could save his life. There was personal discrimination and lack of integrity demonstrated while our son’s life was at stake. We were infuriated! We knew we could seek professional and legal help to fight this decision, but God prompted us to allow Him to handle this problem. It totally went against our natural response, but God performed a wonderful miracle when we allowed Him to work it out. It wasn’t until we took our hands off the situation that God was able to move, and we were in awe of His timing and perfect plan. (Our book, “Big Mountain, Bigger God” gives the complete story.)
Elijah had to wait and hear from God when the brook began to dry up. He could no longer depend on it. Are there situations in your life that seem to be going wrong? Do you have “brooks” of self sufficiency, financial status, or intellectual abilities that you have been trusting in? Is God allowing these “brooks” to dry up so you learn to completely trust in Him? God knows your circumstance better than you do. If you trust God to handle it in His own time and way, you will see that His way is perfect. Sometimes there is nothing as harmful as action and nothing more godly than inactivity.
The only way we can experience peace in our lives is when we place all of our perplexities and anxieties into God’s capable hands and leave them there. “Wait for the Lord…” (Ps. 27:14) Allow God to work when you are completely inactive. This is the life of faith!