Are you a do-it-yourself type of person? Do you subscribe to the old adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself?”
Charles-Guillaume Étienne, a French dramatist, penned the phrase, in French, in his 1824 work Bruis et Palaprat. The literal translation is “One is never served so well as by oneself.”
While it is not my intention to cast aspersions on or to judge Étienne, I could find no evidence in researching him of a connection to Christianity. But “one is never served so well as by oneself” is certainly a tell-tale phrase. It indicates a deficiency of trust in anyone beside himself—including God.
Joyce Meyer says she wasted many years “being upset about things I couldn’t do anything about.” When people hurt her, she found it difficult to trust anyone except herself.
This caused me to believe, If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself,” she once wrote. “If you don’t ask anybody for anything or open your heart to them, they can’t hurt you. But this mindset just kept me from trusting God. It was a bad habit I had to break.”
Haven’t we all been guilty of that at one time or another? I certainly have, without question.
Think about that. I actually had the audacity to think, for even one second, that the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and the Creator of the universe could not solve my simple little life issues.
Much to my chagrin, I soon discovered that I couldn’t either. Imagine that.
It’s a lesson that both my wife, Patty, and I have soberly learned during the 18-plus years of our marriage. Sure, we would pray to God and set our problems at His feet. We brought our prayers to him fully expecting a favorable answer, believing the words of 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (MEV).
The problem was, in many instances, we were too impatient to wait on God’s timing. And when the results didn’t come when we wanted them, we would begin to complain and whine, effectively snatching our problems from God’s feet and not allowing Him to take care of them. This specifically happened early in our marriage when we were trying to have children.
While you can read the specific details of that ordeal in this article from 2013, needless to say the reason why our fertility problems stretched out over three-plus years—including a miscarriage—is because we didn’t leave it at God’s feet. We picked it up and felt we could take care of it better than God could.
“But there simply must come a time of surrender, a time where you finally realize that God is the ONLY solution.”
But there simply must come a time of surrender, a time where you finally realize that God is the ONLY solution. We were exhausted and couldn’t fight it anymore, and we decided to give it ALL to God and trust Him.
Two months later, Patty became pregnant and God gave us our daughter, Rachel. He later gave us our son, Joshua. Indeed God is good, but He waited for us to mature in our faith before He answered our prayer.
While God is faithful and constantly answers our prayers in the little things, I can recall two other instances involving what we believed were mountainous life issues. One arose when we first moved to Florida, and I was unemployed. While I did freelance work for little money, I remained unemployed for my first two years here.
I had interviews—two which I thought I had nailed and was sure the jobs were mine. Both times, the door closed in my face. Throughout the process I prayed, and I laid the problem at God’s feet, only to complain and continually pick it up again. Believe me, God will NOT honor that. It’s a slap to His face.
Finally, after another major disappointment, we gave it to God and let Him keep it. A month later, I was employed again, by International Speedway Corporation in Daytona.
The second instance is more recent. We were hit with a huge payment to the IRS, one (more than $7,000) we certainly couldn’t afford. This time, we immediately gave our situation to God and asked Him to handle it without complaint. We remained in prayer, and God found a more manageable way for us. Indeed, God is good.
In each instance, I felt like King Jehosophat and all of Judah when faced with a daunting impending battle against the Moabites and the Ammonites in 2 Chronicles 20:17, “It will not be necessary for you to fight in this conflict. Take your positions, stand, and observe the deliverance of the Lord for you, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be filled with terror. Tomorrow, go out before them, and the Lord will be with you” (MEV).
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6, MEV)
- “Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, MEV)
If you find yourself in similar situations, know that God doesn’t not want you to take those burdens on yourself. He wants to help. Patty and I know we will continue to be presented with life challenges in our marriage, with our children, our finances, our home and other areas. But we now know what to do about it; and you can do the same.
Go to His Word; go to Him in prayer and leave it at His feet. Only don’t take it back upon yourself. Put your trust COMPLETELY in Him. You will learn, as Patty and I have, to do it for the rest of your life.
And as I always like to say, “there is that.”