I feel like I’ve been punched in the face. No wait, the face isn’t exactly right. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the bank account. I was in Wal-Mart the other day and saw Christmas stuff. Seriously. Wrapping paper, garland and cheap, plastic, robotic snowmen that dance along to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” were adorning the aisles of the lawn and garden center. Christmas!? How in the world am I going to afford Christmas presents?! It feels like we just finished buying 700 birthday presents last month and Jack is going back to the doctor this afternoon where they will probably prescribe his second $200 antibiotic ear drop in as many weeks. As soon as a little spot of cold weather hit last week, our trusty mini van started making some strange sounds and it looks like replacing the tile in our bathroom is going to be a must. Today I took Norah to her first dentist appointment only to have the dentist smile and say, “Well, you better start saving up for braces, ‘cause they’re in your future!” Future?! What future?! AHHHH!!!
Now, we all have money problems, (unless of course Kanye is reading this, in which case, do you have a tile saw I can borrow?) and we’re all going to keep having those problems. The Scripture promises troubles and problems and says that the first thing we’re supposed to do in the case of hard times is to “count it all joy.” I know this. I knew it when I woke up this morning and immediately felt my mind wandering down the all too familiar and enticing pathway to worry and fear; but I didn’t quite know how to count it all joy. All I could think of was the wall of problems surrounding me and a host of impossible solutions that flitted in and out of my mind; each scheme more ridiculous than the last and all of them about as solid as a puff of smoke. There I was frantically trying to invent ways out of my various troubles, and instead of counting them all joy, I just simply counted them.
Then I read Psalm 44. Have you read it in a while? It is awesome! Check this out:
“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.”
Can you believe that?! My reflex in the midst of a problem is to fling myself onto my mental rolodex of possible solutions! It is in a moment of crisis that my mind works the hardest. My wheels crank and my blood pressure rises. Is this me at my best? No way! It may even be me at my worst! My brilliant ideas and solutions are like the swords and bows of the Israelites. They may seem effective and sometimes even impressive, but God is the One who solves problems and wins battles. When a problem arises, instead of flying into a fever pitch of brainstorming a way out, I just need to stop. I need to stop where I am and say, “I don’t trust in my own wisdom. I don’t know the way out of this. I can’t solve this problem, but Lord, You know what to do. In You, oh God I will make my boast.” I need to reprogram my reflexes. I don’t need better ideas or perfect solutions or even more money; I just need God. I need Him in order to make it.