My nine-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, has hands that get so dry, they crack and bleed. I feel her pain; the same thing happened to me when I was young. I soon learned to apply lotion to my hands every time I washed them, even when they didn't seem dry. It eventually became a habit, and the issue no longer exists for me. I've been trying to teach Jocelyn this proactive approach. But when her hands aren't dry, she thinks it isn't necessary. Of course, within a matter of days, her hands end up cracked and bleeding once again. I finally got so frustrated, I found myself saying, "You know the answer. You're the only one who's in charge of your choices. If you don't make the choice to fix it, I can't help you." It sounds a bit harsh, but I think it's the same truth God speaks to us. I have so many issues that I know the answers to. When I can't see straight from exhaustion, I have to quit staying up late and go to bed. When I'm achy all over, I need to find the time to stretch and exercise. When I'm cranky and impatient, I need to go to God and be filled with His peace. The list goes on and on. Over the years, I've come to realize: God is not going to wave a magic wand to fix all the little problems in our lives when He's given us the know-how to fix them ourselves. He's not a God who encourages laziness and passivity. Instead, He empowers us to do the hard work of fixing things ourselves. Ever the loving God, He'll always be right beside us, offering guidance and support. But it's for us to put some boots on our prayers and take the necessary steps to fix things we're perfectly capable of fixing. Of course, I'm not talking about the devastating problems that bring us to our knees. Those are the times we have to put it all in God's hands. Just like I will take on any and all big problems on my daughter's behalf, God is waiting with open arms to shelter us, and take on our burdens. I'm talking about the day in/day out annoying issues that chip away at our joy. When God gifted us with that joy, He also gave us the knowledge of how to preserve it. We need to honor that, and honor ourselves. Consequently, when we face any and all small issues along the way, it's time to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and march ourselves into the solutions.
Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin. (James 4:17)
Copyright 2019 Claire McGarry
About the Author
Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.