Can’t I fix my problems on my own?

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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2 Replies to “Can’t I fix my problems on my own?”

  1. I like that hymn too! Have you ever read the bio of Joseph Scriven?

    ….His fiancée accidentally drowned in 1845, the night before they were to be married. The grief-stricken young man moved to Canada.

    About 1857 he moved near to Port Hope, Ontario where he again fell in love and was due to be married, but in August 1860 the young woman suddenly fell ill of pneumonia and died.

    He then devoted the rest of his life to tutoring, preaching and helping others.

    The words of the song were originally a poem that Joseph wrote to comfort his mother when she was terribly ill. He did not have any intentions nor dream that his poem would be for publication in the newspaper and later becoming a favorite hymn among the millions of Christians around the world….

    1. That is an amazing story, Lisa! I have heard his story before, but I had forgotten all about it. What could have been for evil in his life, God took and turned into something good. That hymn has such a special place in the hearts of so many. Thanks for sharing, Lisa:)

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