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Summary: When we are desperate about what to do with our families, we need to identify our central concerns, see that guilt shakes our weak faith, and use prayer to partner with the healing Christ.

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When there is a problem to be solved, we will do everything to solve it except the most obvious and most effective solution. Have you noticed? When something needs to be fixed, we will try all sorts of elaborate, complicated, expensive approaches. But the simplest, most direct, and most effective approach: that we don’t want to try. And there’s a reason.

The reason is we don’t like to admit that we don’t know how to do it, Usually, the simplest, most direct, and most effective approach is to call in an expert, the guy who really does know how to do the job. But we hate to look stupid, and so we don’t call in the expert. We’d rather tinker and fuss with the problem ourselves and hope we don’t look stupid!

A number of years ago the furnace in our house started doing crazy things. The thermostat would call for the furnace to come on, we would hear the blower blowing and the gas hissing, but there would be no heat. Then maybe two minutes later there would be a terrific bang, and the furnace would start to heat. Well, I looked at it the next time that happened, and just about got blown out of my shoes when some built up gas caught fire all at once. But, hey, it did catch fire, didn’t it, and it did work, so, what’s the hurry to do anything about it? Besides, I didn’t quite know what to do.

After that happened a couple more times; and after my wife called me at work to complain about it, I decided that, yes, I would deal with that furnace, so I took it apart, I got the burners out, I gave them all a good cleaning, quite confident that that would solve the problem, and I put it all back together. Well, almost all of it. Anybody need a few extra screws and bolts?

I put it back together, and started it up, and, well, it wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been, so I closed it up and put away my tools and hoped for the best. I hoped to get away with dealing with the problem all by myself.

I almost got away with it. Almost. Still confident of one thing, that I was not going to spend my hard-earned on a service call, because it would be some very simple thing, and I would look stupid and pay out too much money besides, I went to work. Except that when I got home I was greeted by one very upset wife and one singed little boy, who had been a little too near the furnace when it had decided to start, and who not only lost a little hair, but also got scared out of his wits! In fact, he hasn’t been quite right since!

What did I do next? Care to guess? What is the phone number of the heating man? Who is the expert and how fast can I get him here? I no longer cared about looking stupid, because my child’s safety and welfare were involved, and nothing takes precedence over that.

What is our problem? What is our issue? That when there is a problem to be solved, we will do everything to solve it except the most obvious and most effective solution. When something needs to be fixed, we will try all sorts of elaborate, complicated, expensive approaches. But the simplest, most direct, and most effective approach: that we don’t want to try, because that usually means calling in the expert, and we don’t want to look stupid in front of the expert.


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