I’m smart enough to realize certain tools are made for doing specific tasks and not others. I’ve never tried the nail a screw into the wall with a hammer, or play a CD on a turntable. Only one key on my key ring starts my car, and only one unlocks my front door. For some jobs, only the right tool will work.
In the account of Jesus healing the boy in Mark 9:14-29, the disciples try on their own to heal the boy. They fail. When they ask Jesus why, Christ explain some things require prayer and fasting. In other words, some jobs require using the tool of submission: turning control over to God.
God provides us with many tools, such as intellect, energy and skills, which we may mistake as our private resources – all we need to manage life. However, these tools are imperfect when in our control. As the story reminds us, our tools are limited. We need God.
Like the boy in need, we are afflicted with trials that can only be alleviated through prayer. Many of our struggles would see relief if we would, like the disciples, recognize our weakness and come to God for help.
Perhaps we believe our predicaments do not merit His attention, and mistakenly believe we should keep them to ourselves. Maybe we fall too easily into cultures trap of relying solely on the individual and rejecting the hand another offers. We often insist on using all the tools at our disposal before we admit our other weaknesses. When our resources are exhausted, we are forced to turn to God.
How much better if we could run to God at the outset rather than trying to solve our problems with our own broken tools? Why can’t we, as the old hymn advocates, “ carry everything to God in prayer”?
We must admit our constant need for God. We must join with the honest prayer of David: “I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows weak within me, it is you who know my way. And the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me” (Psalm 142:2–3).
Read Romans 6:13. What is your go to tool? Your humor, intellect or power? Take the tool out. Ask God what you should do with it.
God, I am troubled. I am overwhelmed. God, only You know what I should do. Only You can meet the need I face. I lay it in Your hands.