Hand Over the Pickle Jar

picklejar1Have you have ever given thought to just how much we “depend” on others? Cj (age 3) isn’t strong enough to open the van door. Regan (age 8) thinks her mom can whip together a girlie tea party in a moment’s notice (hors d’oeuvres and ten friends included). And I still go running to my strong husband with a pickle jar!

In life, dependence is a constant reality.

We depend on other PEOPLE all the time, yet somehow we struggle with true dependence on our God! Is it because He isn’t strong? He spins the earth on its axis. Is it because we can’t see Him? We depend on others we can’t see all the time. (Yes, there really is a guy or gal running those systems that control our disconnected web services.) Is it because we don’t believe Him? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Often, we fool ourselves into thinking that we are trusting God while actually making a CHOICE not to believe Him. Our thinking may go something like this: “I’ll cry to God, and maybe, just maybe, He’ll fix this issue, and if He fixes it, then I’ll believe Him.” And what we really mean by this is “maybe, just maybe, He’ll give me what I want, and if He does, and only if He does what I think He should do, then I’ll trust Him.”

What a tragedy! How far our thoughts are from His plans!

In such a state of thinking, we’ve forgotten that God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Amazingly, while God’s ways are vastly different from our ways, God Himself does not desire to keep us at a distance. In the same passage He invites us to “seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

God knows that His plans–though different from our ideas, actually work much more to our advantage. He has a better, higher alternative for our “difficult circumstances” even if it isn’t the same as our idea of “better.” Despite the disparity, we need to choose to believe His “better” version. When God doesn’t seem to answer us, there still really is an answer—just a better one.

When I hand my husband the pickle jar, I don’t demand how he opens it. His opening technique may include running the lid under hot water or banging on it a few times. Instead, I’m confidently awaiting that crunchy, pungent pickle! How often in our lives, we get focused on God’s seemingly “rough” methods, forgetting to fix our hearts on Him who never leaves a job undone or done unwell. Worse yet, often we won’t even pass off that pickle jar, but grunt and groan in a futile wrestling match with the lid, only to wind up with a sore hand and—still—no pickle.

Oh, sweet friend, how about we remember today that “God gives us the grace we need, not necessarily the answer we want,” and pass on that “pickle jar.” Let’s stop demanding that He fix our issues without using hot water and a little banging. Let’s jump in together and simply rely on Him!

“Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8)