Several months ago my husband was working on a woodworking project in our garage. He was restoring an antique sewing rocker – a beautiful piece of furniture that was no longer functional. As he worked on his craft, I stood beside him, coffee in hand, trying my best to offer my help and assistance.
“Can you hand me a Phillips screwdriver?” Ron asked.
“Screwdriver, check.” I replied, handing him the requested tool.
“That’s a flathead screwdriver. Not a Phillips screwdriver. Remember, a Phillips screwdriver has a point that looks like an X.” With that, I set down the coffee and start rummaging through the tool box.
“Here you go,” I say, handing him yet another tool.
“Jiminy Cricket! That’s a polydrive screwdriver, Goofy” he replies, shaking his head.
“If I asked you to go through my makeup bag, could you pick out the difference between an eyebrow pencil and eyeliner?” I ask.
“You know what would really help me out the most?” he counters, ignoring my question.
“What?” I question, already knowing the answer.
“If you will just take your coffee, go in the house, and read a book or something,” he responds sarcastically, with a mischievous grin.
“Are you sure you don’t need me?”
“Uh, I’m positive.” We both laugh, I give him a quick kiss and saunter back to the house, letting the man work in peace.
Even though Ron has a college degree in Industrial Arts and I have absolutely no experience in woodworking, nor have any knowledge of tools, I’m still certain I can find a way to do it faster, better, or more efficiently. Yet in reality, I’m not equipped to help. I don’t know Ron’s plan, the direction he is going, his method, or even his desired result. So the best thing I can do is get out of his way and let him do his work.
A PROMISE FROM GOD
In Genesis 15, we read about a promise the Lord makes to Abram. Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” A decade later however, Sarai, Abram’s wife, had still not conceived. Thus, she and Abram decided to take matters in their own hands. Sarai sent her Egyptian servant, Hagar to have relations with Abram. The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur…“You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” – Genesis 16:7-12
God had a plan, but Sarai thought her plan would be faster, better, or more efficient. She didn't know the details, the timing, of the method of God's plan, yet Sarai thought she could handle it better. Ultimately, Sarai got in God's way. Because of that, we are still dealing with the consequences.
How many times have I acted just like Sarai in that I believe my ways are better than God’s ways? I barrel ahead, taking care of things on my own. I’m certain if I step in and help God, my prayers will be answered faster, better, or more efficiently. Yet then it’s almost as if I can hear God say, “You really want to help? Just get out of my way and let Me do my work.”
Here are three easy steps I have to stop and remind myself when I tend to get in God’s way.
1. Remove Pride – Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. James 4:10
2. Relinquish Control – Give your worries and cares to God for He cares for you. 1st Peter 5:7
3. Remember His Ways Are Higher - "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. – Isaiah 55:8
GOD’S PLAN IS ALWAYS SO MUCH GREATER
As I’m sure you know, God kept His promise to Abraham and Sarah, and blessed them with a son. And just as He kept his promise to them, He will keep His promises to us. He will protect us and provide for us, we just have to get out of His way and let Him work.
As I type this post, it’s a beautiful June afternoon. I’m sitting outside on the back porch, across from my husband, rocking in the antique sewing rocker he finished just a few weeks ago. I’m so thankful I stepped out of the way, for Ron’s handiwork is far more beautiful that what I had in mind, exceeding my expectations. In fact, Ron went out of his way to make it even more beautiful than I could have dreamed. How much more is true for our Creator? We just have to trust, get out of His way, and let Him do His work. He will go OUT OF HIS WAY for us.