Summary: We want to manage our own spiritual lives, but the truth is we do not understand,nor do we know enough. Trust God, who has vindicated our hope in Christ the sufferer now victorious.
There is a certain kind of person who seldom trusts anybody but himself to get things right. Some of us want to have our hands in every stewpot, we want to be up to our ears in every enterprise, we want to do it ourselves, or else we are afraid it won’t be done right.
Do you remember that a few years ago there was a TV ad, I think it was for a headache medicine, and it featured a young woman being coached on how to do something by an older woman? Except that the migraine took over and the young woman would shriek out, "Mother, please, I’d rather do it myself".
Well, that’s the way a lot of us are about our lives. "Mother, please, I’d rather do it myself.” I may get it wrong, I may not be a success by somebody’ s standards, but I’d rather live my own life. I may make mistakes, but at least they are my mistakes. A whole lot of us want to manage our own lives without interference and without supervision. Just want to do it ourselves.
And so some of us when we get sick will not go to the doctor; quacks, what do they know? We will open up the medicine chest, and take something that worked on last year’s chest cold and hope it will do the job on this spring’s sinus infection. Just want to do it ourselves.
And others of us -- I’m one of these, I confess -- others of us will face a piece of broken equipment and will say, "Well, I can tackle that. I can try to fix that." Call a repairman? Do you have any idea how much those guys charge? Just rather do it myself.
Never mind that my furnace has been rattling all winter because there is a bent motor shaft that needs to be replaced. I’ll do it, I’ll get to it. Plumbers cost too much.
Never mind that someone who visited our house this week and who had not been there for several years commented with surprise that he really did think I would have finished making those kitchen cabinet doors by now – five years, after all! Well, I’m going to get around to it. I am certainly not going to call a professional carpenter. Why would I get a professional when I can do it myself?
Many of us, I say, would rather manage our own lives than pay the price for someone else to do things for us. We don’t want the professional, we want to remain fumbling amateurs. We want to save money, and more: we want the satisfaction of having done something for ourselves.
Funny how the same attitude carries on over into our spiritual lives. Strange how the same approach applies to our emotional and spiritual management.
For, you see, most of us are dedicated amateurs in dealing with spiritual issues, and the last thing in the world we want to do is to turn over our spiritual needs to the professional. Most of us suppose that we know enough about authentic living; why let the pro do it for us? Why not just look out for Number One on our own’?
Mind you, I am not talking about turning your spiritual life management over to pastors and counselors. I am talking about the real pro. I am talking about God Himself. The primary issue for most of us is that we do not want to turn our lives over to God; we do not want God, though He knows who we are and of what we are made, to manage us. We don’t want to trust God.
Let me give you some counsel. Let the pro do it. When you are sick, call a professional physician. When you have furnaces to repair, hit the yellow pages and ask for a plumber. When you need real cabinets and not botched and battered boxes, look for a carpenter. And when your life, your spiritual, emotional, relationship life needs management, trust the creator. Trust the one who put it together in the first place. Trust God.
At the end of a stormy several days of arguing, complaining, and speech-making, that’s what Job found out. Job who had been such a great man of substance; Job who had managed flocks and lands and houses and family, but who had found it all swept away in one terrible night; Job who had been pitched up in the whirlwind on the garbage heap, where all he could do for a time was wail and cry and demand a hearing.
For several weeks now we in this congregation have been struggling along with Job. We have listened to him insist that his situation is unfair. We have heard him cry out to the heavens to be heard. And we have watched his friends come by and try to help poor old Job, poor, stinking, poverty-stricken, flea-bitten, lice-ridden Job. And we have recoiled in horror at the very thought of anybody in as bad a shape as Job was; but we have also been fascinated as his friends have tried their best to tell Job what was wrong, and he has rejected it all.