Stand back, I’ve got this!
How many times in life have we all desperately wanted to be the one who said that phrase at the perfect moment and been the hero? I know that I personally have had a savior complex for YEARS. I have sneaking suspicion I’m not alone. Sometimes, that self-reliance shows up in the small things, but sometimes it shows up in the BIG things, and our nature is to find a way over or through an obstacle that might be in our way.
And then there are times when the circumstances seem to render our cute little marketing phrases, (“Just Do It” -NIKE ), and self-help guru’s, (“If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can.” – Tony Robbins), advice worthless. Do those phrases mean anything when you face cancer? No, not really. When you face a divorce? When you face financial crisis? I’ve heard it said throughout my life that God will never give you more than you can handle… which is another way of saying, “You should be able to handle ANYTHING that life throws at you.” Hmmm. I’ve just not found that to be true in my life at all. I have also not found that to be the case in scripture either. One of the great struggles of life is the fight with self-reliance. We are a people not designed for independence from God, but total dependence upon God. We have to get that straightened out in our lives or we will find ourselves constantly frustrated and resentful as we try to face the burdens of life alone.
Imagine that, somehow, my dream came true and I made the roster of the 1996 Chicago Bulls NBA team, (that would NEVER happen, but for the sake of this exercise just humor me, ok?). I then spend the entire year telling Michael Jordan that even though the team is in a tight game, I don’t need his help. Down by 5? No problem… Naaa, MJ, I’ve got this. Down by 15? Nope, I’m good, I’ve got this. Down by 25? You get the picture. I didn’t want the game changer to come in and take care of business because, well, I’m good enough and things will eventually turn around. Then, to top it off, I have the audacity to actually begin to resent MJ for being the game changer and stop talking to him altogether even though I’m on the same sideline with him every game. (BTW… MJ is not God and I know that… but you get the point right?)
Many of us live our lives like this. The odds are not in our favor and we are hopelessly out of control. The wise would turn to the Lord but many turn to themselves and things get ugly. If we were to take a look at scripture we might see a different plan on full display to us over and over again.
When Moses and the Israelites crossed over on dry land:
Exodus 14:13-14: 13Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid! Stand firm, and you will see [ra'ah] what Yahweh will do to rescue you today: the Egyptians you see [ra'ah] today you will never see again. 14Yahweh will do the fighting for you; all you need to do is to keep calm
Exodus 14:15-17a: 15Yahweh then said to Moses, Why cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to march on. 16Your part is to raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, so that the Israelites can walk through the sea on dry ground, 17while I, for my part, shall make the Egyptians so stubborn [harden the hearts of the Egyptians] that they will follow them, and I shall win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, chariots and horsemen.
What about when Gideon’s army was too BIG to defeat a 135,000 man army?
Judges 7:2: The Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’
Judges 7:7: The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.
I find it incredibly interesting that in each of these and COUNTLESS other scenarios the good guys are hopelessly outmatched and the odds of devastating and life threatening results are HIGH. In both cases, the outcome would perplex and continue to amaze people to this very day. I also find that God’s way of handling all situations required 100 percent dependence upon him, which, of course, is something that is extremely hard for any of us to handle. In the case of the Israelites, he actually spelled out the extraordinary ways He was going to drive the people out of the promised land and make way for their occupation of it:
Exodus 23: 27 – 30:
I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. I will send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.
“I will drive them out little by little.” My reply to that part: “I mean, really God? Not ALL AT ONCE?” I feel like he’s saying to me, “No, son, because you couldn’t handle it if I did.”
Today, I encourage you to trust in the Lord wherever you are and whatever you face. Finally, don’t be surprised if the outcome doesn’t make any worldly sense at all. God sent hornets to confuse an army… that doesn’t make sense. God parted the sea and then closed it on top of the Egyptians… that doesn’t make sense! I mean, come on!
Let this verse sit on your heart as you wait on His miraculous hand to move.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Isn’t it funny how much that verse is a mirror of Exodus 14:13-14?
Be anxious for nothing… the Lord will fight for you!
Let this be your prayer as you face whatever today might bring.
I can’t walk on the water
Can’t stand in the fire
Unless I look into Your eyes
Unless I have you by my side
Can’t conquer a giant
Or shut the mouth of a Lion
I know that I am just a man
But I am in Your hands and