Can’t I fix my problems on my own?

by Wendy on July 28, 2015

Trials come in different shapes and sizes, but are a certainty in life. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

What do you do when you have “necessities and distresses”? Infirmities?  Most of us try to solve our problems, and remove circumstances that are distressing to us when we face them. I think that is human nature.  In fact, Paul in the preceding verses says he prayed earnestly for the Lord to remove the thorn in the flesh that was troubling him. We’d like to get rid of trouble and pain.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary on these verses, says, “The apostle prayed earnestly to God for the removal of this sore grievance. Note, prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh we should give ourselves to prayer. Therefore we are sometimes tempted that we may learn to pray.”

I don’t think God is telling us not to try to eliminate distresses and infirmities, and certainly not telling us not to ask Him to remove them. Rather, He’s saying not to deal with them in our own strength. Going to God with everything in prayer is Scriptural. Do we go right away, or after we’ve tried to solve it ourselves first? Ah, there’s the problem.

There have been times in my life when I didn’t recognize a situation as a trial, but rather thought, “I should be able to handle this.” I have in the past had a habit of beating myself up for being distressed. Sometimes I have felt guilty for going to the Lord for help, but that’s not what the Lord wants. He is ready to help, and wants us to come to Him. Right away. Every time.

He is ready to help, and wants us to come to Him. Right away. Every time.

We may think a trial has to be some big thing. And what is an infirmity anyway? That isn’t a word we use every day. One of the reasons I like the King James Version of the Bible is because it forces me to look up words and study deeper, not assuming I know what it means! I was surprised by the definition of the word infirmity: “physical or mental weakness.”  Synonyms are illness, malady, ailment and disease, but also complaint, frailty, and weakness. It’s not my normal thought pattern to “take pleasure in physical or mental weakness,” so I know this isn’t done in my ability. I need to go to Him for help with this. I’m reminded of words from a hymn we sang in church on Sunday.

“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
Recently I’ve been dealing with increasing pain in my feet, reason unknown as yet, causing me to have to limit my regular activity. This limitation and the pain have been very distressing to me. I might have called it a malady or ailment, but never would have put it in the category of infirmity, and what the Bible is talking about here.

Mental weakness conjures up something very negative, too, but perhaps shouldn’t. I recently experienced the death of my mom, after a very difficult year in which she was going downhill fast. It’s only been four months since she passed, but the path of grief has not been an easy one. Is grieving ever easy?

God knows His own strength, but I don’t. God knows His own faithfulness, but I have to go through trials to realize how faithful He is. I have to be weak, to even begin to recognize and experience His strength. It is too easy to rely on myself, to try to be strong myself, to handle things in my own way, with my own thinking, and my own capability, and that isn’t what God wants. Who gets the glory then? That is perhaps one reason why He allows trials in my life. That I might come to Him in prayer and find Him and His grace perfectly sufficient.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
by Joseph M. Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

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Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

So, I’ve been talking about how to help our sons to become confident men of God.  Here is Part 4 of the series.

Hold Up Godly Examples for Them to See

Read biographies of Godly, courageous, decisive men and talk about and praise the positive Godly character traits you see in them.

When you see a person in real life, or read about a character in a book, name the Godly character traits you see in them. “He showed true courage when he spoke up about his faith, didn’t he?”

Praise your husband’s and grandfather’s Godly character to your sons, and specifically name the Godly character traits that you see in him.

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Look for Character Traits to Praise in Books, Movies and Real Life

Here are just some character traits to look for:

  • faith, trust, courage, humility
  • obedience to parents, submission to authority, a strong believing prayer life
  • hard work, industriousness, perseverance, honesty
  • kindness, compassion, a servant spirit
  • a desire to make one’s authorities successful, a desire to please God, obedience to God when it cost the person something
  • a desire to see men saved, a willingness to suffer persecution for Christ
  • meekness (not responding in anger), a pure heart and mind, hatred of sin
  • not loving money, loving others sacrificially, generosity
  • treasuring God’s wisdom and opinion above other people’s

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Call Character By Its Biblical Name

Anytime you see Godly character in a boy or man, point out and praise these character traits, and refer to the traits by their Biblical names as much as possible. (Beware not to make your son–or husband–hate that person, because you have made them jealous of them!  See further thoughts on this below.)

Call foolishness, foolishness, and wisdom, wisdom.  Don’t say, “That was really stupid.”  Or, “That wasn’t very smart.”  Or, “Now you’re using your head.”  Instead, say, “That was a wise decision you made to get up early to read your Bible!”

If you are correcting laziness in your son, call it slothfulness.  Read about slothfulness in the Bible.  Your son will identify his actions with what the Bible says every time he reads those verses.

If there’s a trait you’re working on in your son (or daughter, or yourself), do a word search on that character trait in the Bible.  Find out what God thinks about that character trait, (both good and bad), and read about the people who displayed that character.  Make it clear that the reason to have good character is to please and obey God, and His Word.  Though you want your children to desire to please you, their real motivation in life to do good should be out of love and gratitude and to please the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Remember that when they obey their parents they are obeying God’s Word, so there is a place for saying, “Because I said so.”  But you must be careful to base your training on the Word of God.)

Be careful not to praise other men to your husband, or other boys to your sons, in a way that says to them, “Look at so-and-so! Why can’t you be more like THEM?!'”)  All that this will accomplish is to make your son or husband hate that person!  What I have in mind is when you’ve read an article or you’re reading a book aloud to your children, and a boy or man does something heroically kind, for example, to commend his character.

Give Your Sons Opportunities to Make Decisions and Allow Them to Fail

Our sons learning to make wise decisions and to be confident and decisive requires that we let our sons make some unwise decisions, and allow them to fail.  Talking about it afterwards without beating them up verbally, is important.  Start young, and in small ways, and give them opportunities to take responsibility more and more.  A son of 9 or 10 who can start his own business of some sort provides a great opportunity to begin making decisions, and taking on responsibility for his customers and how he runs his business (with appropriate supervision, of course).

Praise Your Sons for Wisdom

Our sons need to see the character trait of wisdom praised, especially, because that’s what God says is the principal thing.  Praise them immediately, lavishly and joyfully when you see wise behavior in them.  Don’t add the negative comment afterwards (“You made a wise decision, but it’s too bad you don’t always do that.”)  Be specific in praising, and do so as soon as you see it, so they know what they’re being praised for!  Let them see your smiling face looking at them when you praise them, too. Let your praise and positive reinforcement of praiseworthy behavior guide them. They will begin to look for ways to act wisely, just to see that smiling face and hear that praise again.

Praise in Words and In Your Prayers

In your prayers out loud, thank the Lord for their wisdom, discernment, and other Christlike behavior.  If you can’t do this naturally and from the heart, wait until you can, and work on it!

Look for the good character.  It is there.  Find it!  The more that you look for the good, the more good there will be to find!
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