Monthly Archives: June 2017

So, What’s a Person To Do?


So, What’s a Person To Do? [DIY?? Series, Part 2]

by Lydia Floren

If you are like me, most of your life you have heard some version of this saying:

“If you want something done right, you better do it yourself.” 

But, guess what?  Those words, and that concept, are not in the Bible, anywhere.  In fact, when we act independently in our lives – apart from God – we are doing the opposite of what the Bible teaches.

But, when things get tough, it is easy, isn’t it, to ditch our faith and take matters into our own hands? Especially, when our difficulties seem to go on and on, without our being able to see any hope or resolution.  When we quit waiting for God and choose self-reliance, our actions can take many forms, including avoiding, complaining, controlling, or self-indulgence. And, invariably, our way of doing things doesn’t make things better. Quite the opposite: it usually makes them much worse.

So, what’s a person to do when things go wrong, and continue to go wrong?

Wait. Patiently wait. Trust the God-Who-Loves-You.  And then, keep on trusting Him.

The Old Testament Israelites whined a lot. Isaiah 40 is a reality check for one of their gripe sessions. In the first part of the chapter, Isaiah answers their complaining by first reminding them of who God is. For example, in verses 12 and 13 he says,

Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?

Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?”

“Really? Are you serious?”, Isaiah seems to be saying, “Don’t you realize who you are talking to?  Listen while I refresh your memory.”

The last part, Isaiah 40:27-31, is one of my all time favorites. I first encountered these verses when I was a first year medical student. I was feeling overwhelmed and very sorry for myself. Isaiah’s words put things back in perspective.

O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles?

O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?

Have you never heard? Have you never understood?

The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.

They will soar high on wings like eagles. 

They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:27-31  

My translation  

This is how I hear God speaking to me through these words:

“Really, Lydia? Really?? You think I don’t know what is going on here?  Newsflash:  I am the God of the universe. Of course I see what is happening. I GET IT.  So keep trusting Me. I will give you the power to move through your painful circumstances, and to rise above them.”

Southern Redneck Translation (SRT)

Or in southern redneck terms Isaiah is saying here:

“Quit yer bellyachin’. God’s got yer back. Hold yer hosses, and hang on to yer britches. Watch and learn, Son. Watch and learn.”  Isaiah 40:27-31 SRT 

So what’s a person to do?

Do you really want things done right?  Really? Then for heaven’s sake, don’t take matters into your own hands.  You have no idea what is really going on, or how to fix things properly. Believe me, you are liable to make matters worse instead of better.   If you really want things done right, trust God, and keep on trusting him. He will give you the strength to walk through your difficulties, and to learn to rise above them.

If You Want Something Done Right… (DIY?? Series Part 1)


by Lydia Floren

We have all heard the saying, “If you want something done right, you better do it yourself.” But is that really true? Are you really the best person to fix every problem?

Think about it.  If your car is mechanically failing, are you going to watch a You-Tube video and pull out your wrench and start taking the engine apart?  If you have appendicitis, are you going to check Wikipedia, climb up on the kitchen table, get the butcher knife out, and whack away? I don’t think so. You, like me, are going to find the best expert available, and trust them to take care of things.

So, why are we so quick to take things into our own hands, when it comes to matters of faith?

Sure, we will trust a surgeon to take out our appendix and handle any post-op complications.  And, we will wait patiently for the best mechanic to fix our car properly.

But in difficult situations, especially those that don’t resolve promptly, we are quick to lose faith in God, who happens to be the best disaster-management expert in the universe.

Here’s an all-too-frequent scenario from my life:

1.  I feel pain.  This may be a physical pain, but often it is an emotional one, such as an unpleasant interaction that leaves me feeling wronged or slighted.  I’m not talking about the momentary unpleasantness that happens, say, when someone cuts me off in traffic. I’m talking about an ongoing dilemma, like a difficult relationship or an uncomfortable work situation, or a chronic health issue.

2.  I get restless. If the uncomfortable situation doesn’t resolve quickly (which for me is more than about 5 minutes) I get antsy. I don’t like pain. It needs to go away.

3.  I pray….maybe. (sometimes I skip this step.) I tell God, as if He didn’t know, exactly what my situation is, and politely ask Him to take care of it.   Before long (say, about 5 minutes), if nothing seems to be happening, I stomp my foot. “Why don’t you do something about this, God? Don’t you see what is happening here?”  Pretty soon, I start demanding, “God, get me out of this!  Make this go away! NOW!”

“…or else,” I whisper to myself, “I may just have to do it myself.”

4.  I decide it’s up to me. Here’s what goes thru my head:  “Somehow, God has missed the boat here. Maybe He isn’t seeing how much pain I am in.  Or maybe He sees it but just doesn’t matter to Him. Fine. Whatever. I’ll just handle it myself. After all, ‘if you want something done right, you better do it yourself.’  Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?”

5.  I do my own thing. I try to eliminate the hurt (or the cause of it) myself. Here are a few ways I might do this typically by reverting to old coping mechanisms:

  • Avoiding. I dodge the person or situation that is causing me to feel this pain.
  • Complaining.  I make sure that not only God, but everyone around me knows how unjustly I have been treated.
  • Manipulating.  I try to manage or control the situation so the pain will stop, or at least lessen.
  • Self-indulging. I “treat myself” with something to take my mind off the pain. (Sort of an adult version of thumb-sucking.)  My favorite “pacifier” is food, particularly chocolate.  For others, it might be alcohol, surfing the net, working, shopping.

As you can imagine, when I take things into my own hands, they don’t turn out so well. Avoiding, complaining, manipulating and self-indulgence don’t make things better – they make them worse.

In Psalm 40:1-3, David said

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.


Are you in the middle of a difficult situation?  Do you feel like God is not doing enough? Not doing anything?  For heaven’s sake, don’t make my mistake and try to take things into your own hands.   You will only make matters worse. Trust me, you will be  sooooo much better off, if you choose to keep your focus squarely on God, waiting patiently for His strength and direction.

Just remember: God is the best disaster-management expert in the universe.

Rest assured: He will unfailingly pull you up out of your mess and put your feet back on solid ground.