My husband and I watch reruns of Friday Night Lights, a drama television series about a high school football team in rural West Texas. It is our “go-to” show when we cannot find anything else to watch, which means we watch it a minimum of five times a week. We have cycled through all five seasons – twice. Have you ever watched something multiple times but found yourself noticing different elements or gaining new insight into the message or storyline? This happened to me recently with Friday Night Lights and it challenged me to explore how often I seek the advice of others when I have a problem versus going to God.
The scene centers around three characters – an ex-football player, turned paralyzed teen father, a single mother, and their infant son. Due to the financial strain of taking care of a newborn, the mother is forced to move to New Jersey to live with her parents. While on the road, she pulls over and checks in with the father, who asks to speak to his baby boy. With the cell phone placed next to the baby’s ear, the father proceeds to sing “There’s a Hole in the Bucket”, a classic children’s song based on a frustrating dialogue between a married couple, Henry and Liza.
The lyrics narrate how Henry is about to fetch water from the well only to find there is a hole in the bucket. Not knowing what to do, he solicits advice from Liza. She tells him to fix it with straw, which Henry points out is too long. She counters by suggesting he cut it with an axe. Henry responds by saying the ax is too dull. Liza, becoming angry, tells him to sharpen it with a stone. Henry observes the stone is too dry. Finally, Liza tells Henry to wet the stone with water – and, you guessed it, Henry is unable to fetch water because…there is a hole in the bucket.
Poor Henry! He is no better off than when he started, and to make matters worse, now there is strife between him and his wife. I wonder what would have happened if instead of going to his wife for help, Henry would have gone to God first. Perhaps God would have gifted Henry the idea of extracting sap from a nearby tree and making a paste out of it to plug the hole.
It is easy to look to others for strength and advice when we are in trouble or have a major decision to make. All we have to do is pick up the phone and within seconds, we are connected to a source that will have an answer to whatever ails us. I am guilty of this. I tend to use my husband as a lifeline. There have been times when he had the answer, then there were times when he was as stumped as me about what to do.
While it is true that God will sometimes use other people as instruments to deliver messages and offer wisdom, comfort, encouragement, or direction, it is also true that human knowledge and understanding are limited. Our perspectives can be influenced by biases, limited information, or personal experiences. David reaffirms this in Psalm 108:12 (NIV) when speaking to God saying, Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. Going to The Source, seeking His omniscient, all-knowing, and infinite wisdom is far greater than simply going to ‘a source’.
I am learning to suppress the urge to call or text my husband for answers before first going to God. My husband may argue that I am not very good at the suppression thing because I still reach out to him from time to time. But what he doesn’t know is how often I WANT to do it and don’t! But the reward of going to God first is so great, it is worth denying my flesh that instant gratification. In fact, I have found that going to God first with a problem has brought balance into this area of my life – here’s how:
- Wisdom and Guidance: God knows His perfect plan for our life; going to Him first helps us to make balanced decisions based on His perspective.
- Surrendering Control: Giving the problem to God promotes a balanced perspective by recognizing we are not alone in our struggles.
- Emotional Balance: Sharing our burdens with God allows us to release anxiety, worry, and stress.
- Reliance on God’s Strength: Turning our problems over to God can prevent burnout and promote balance by acknowledging our limitations and embracing His. It allows us to draw on His strength to face challenges, rather than relying solely on our own abilities or the ideas and suggestions of others.
Here is the question of the day…how many of you reading this blog are guilty of being a “Henry”? Have you sought counsel from “Liza” before going to God? Me too, Sis. Feel free to share your experience in the comments below. Let’s learn from and pray with each other in this most important area of our lives.
It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Lord, I acknowledge that I have reached out and sought guidance from others before seeking You first. I realize that I have overlooked the importance of turning to You as the Ultimate Source of wisdom and guidance. I am sorry for the lack of trust I have displayed in seeking Your counsel and I ask Your forgiveness. Thank You for grace, mercy, and patience in this area and help me to remember the importance of seeking You first in all things.