Life can be hard.
There are millions of people without jobs. They wonder how they’ll feed their families, pay their mortgages, and make things work. There are millions more who are without food, hundreds of thousands sold into sex slavery, and countless more without any kind of health care.
How do you deal with those things?
This isn’t an academic conversation to me. This is real. This hits home.
I’m out of a job because I acted in faith when God told me it was time to move on. I acted, and now I wonder if that was the right thing. Did I hear him correctly? Or did I eat some bad pizza? Of course at the time I had no idea what was going to happen to the economy. I had no idea how hard it would be to find another job (I’d never had a problem in the past). I acted because I believe that’s what God wanted me to do.
I don’t pretend to understand everything. I’d also be lying if I said I’m not tempted to find a solution “on my own.” Isn’t that the reasonable thing to do?
The world tells us we need to fend for ourselves. And in those quiet moments when we’re alone, isn’t that what we hear whispered from the bottom of our soul? Don’t we hear a voice that says, “this problem can only be solved if you do something!”
That must have been the voice Asa heard.
Asa was a king who was once described as someone who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” (1 Kings 15:11) That was high praise considering the kings before him were pretty awful people. But by the end of his life, Asa had succumbed to that voice. He was being attacked from the south and feared his kingdom would be overrun. So he did what any rational, normal person would do – he made an alliance with someone stronger.
He listened to that voice and “did something.”
You see that voice is right. Our problems won’t be solved if we don’t take action. If we sit around paralyzed by fear, doing nothing, nothing is exactly what will happen. Unfortunately Asa thought action meant bribing a foreign king (1 Kings 15: 18-19) when he should have realized that action meant trusting God.
That’s the danger we all face. We want to take action. But we don’t always want to wait for God to get involved. So we act. But what happens when we’re wrong? What happens when action without God is the worst thing we could have done?
No one wants to hear God say, “Because you relied on man, and not God, your problems will be worse than before.” Asa wasn’t any different. When he was told that, he didn’t say “gee thanks, I didn’t realize that.” Nope. Asa took the man delivering the news and threw him in jail. (2 Chronicles 16: 10)
In the end, things did get worse. Asa died from an infectious disease. In his feet. Not exactly the best way to go out. But even worse, in the end Asa didn’t even bother turning to God to ask for help. He decided it was more important to “do something” then to rely on God. So he sought out the best doctors of the time - and died two years later.
That’s not where I want to be.
No matter how scary it gets not having a job, I don’t want to “do something” if that something means leaving God out of the solution. I don’t believe for a minute that God wants us to sit around waiting only for a miracle to occur. I think he wants us to give problems every ounce of our strength. If you are sick he wants you to see doctors. If you’re facing an invading army, he wants you to seek allies. If you are homeless he wants you find a home. If you’re jobless he wants you looking for a job. But he doesn’t want you to do it alone.
There are times we need to trust God when it seems impossible. Asa failed that test. But we don’t have to.
No matter what our problems are, trusting God is the right solution. Because as Asa discovered, no matter how brilliant a doctor is, they are still limited by time, knowledge, and skill. I’m not saying following God is easy. In fact, following God is tough. It’s even painful at times: the man who told Asa he was wrong, wound up in prison. Yet, there are more important things in this life than having a job, defeating an invading army, and even your freedom.
There is a point to life. And sometimes to get there we have to trust God even when it seems impossible.