The Last Resort
“Do you have other children?” The sales lady at my local maternity shop called through the curtain as I wiggled out of a top that was undersized and overpriced. “Yes, two,” I called back, “they are five and seven. We thought we were done, but – surprise! – we weren’t.” A snicker made its way through the curtain as she processed that information.
“I have an eight-year-old. He’s in second grade,” she shared as she shoved her hand through the curtain with more clothes. “Mine is in second grade, too,” I told her. “He just has a late birthday.” “Well, does he do well in school?” she wanted to know. “Academically, he’s right on. We struggle a little with behavior. He’s young, and he’s all boy,” I grinned as I told her. She went on to share how her son had been struggling with his grades. When I told her I was a former second-grade teacher, she was full of questions. What should I do? How can I help? Do I need a tutor? Should he go to third grade?
I answered as best I could, trying to give encouragement when I heard her sigh. “I just keep wondering what I did wrong.” I heard the desperation in her voice and recognized it as an old friend. “I felt the same way when my son started school,” I told her. “I expected him to be the smartest and the best behaved in class – after all, I was a teacher. But that didn’t happen.” I recalled the hopelessness I felt, wishing I could control my child better. “I asked myself the very same question – where did I go wrong?” She was silent on the other side of the dressing room, waiting for answers.
“I’m going to tell you the best thing I did that changed everything,” I said and took a deep breath. “I gave it to God. I committed to pray for my son and laid it all at God’s feet. I like to control things, and I learned through this situation that I am not in control. He is.” I waited for a response, as I could hear her folding clothes. “Oh” was all she ever said.
Whether or not, that lady will choose to take my advice, I’ll probably never know. But the conversation made me wonder why I didn’t tell her that first. Was I afraid of her response? Or did I use God as a last resort?
When problems arise, I do all I know to fix them. When that doesn’t work, I go to God. I did it in my conversation with the sales lady. I did it in the situation with my son. I threatened, spanked, and took away toys and privileges. But the situation didn’t improve until I gave it to the Lord.
If I know God holds the answer to everything then why is it I always choose Him as a last resort? Shouldn’t I run to Him first? So often, I mistakenly think I can do things on my own merits. When I fail, I turn to my Heavenly Father for answers. He alone has the answer to all things. He should have been the first stop.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
Lord, I don’t know why I always think I can do things on my own. Please empty me of myself and fill me with You. You alone have the key to solving all the situations that arise in my life. Help me to remember to come to You first. Amen.