Yesterday I attended a family picnic and I got ketchup in my hair. My uncle made me a cheeseburger and I topped it with all the fixings – lettuce, tomato, onions, and ketchup. The wind was crazy. I believe what happened was ketchup dripped to my plate and the plate flew into my hair. I remember having to catch it a few times. When that ketchup was in my hair, I could not stop messing with my hair. It became my primary focus. I wanted so badly to get it out of my hair, though I’m sure if I didn’t know it was there I would have been none the wiser.
When we have problems in life we do the same thing too often. We know about the problem and we focus on the problem. We continue to think about the problem. We continue to consider the need to fix the problem. It almost becomes an obsession. If the problem is small, we spend our time figuring out how we will resolve the issue. If it is a bigger issue or something we do not have the means to fix alone, we continue to look at the problem as an impossible hurdle and depression sets in soon after. Sometimes we make ourselves sick as we continue to fixate on our current circumstances.
Just as I should not have been so focused on the ketchup in my hair (it was only a little ketchup and there is a thing called shampoo), we cannot be problem focused. We have a God Who is a God of the impossible. Our focus, whether we have no pressing problems or we are buried knee deep in problems, should always be on God. When He is our focus, when He is first in our life, then our circumstances, our struggles, our problems won’t control us, depress us, or weaken us. Remember, in our weakness, He is strong (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
In Isaiah 26:3 we read, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Do you know what is so awesome about that verse? The word keep is “natsar” which means “to watch” or “guard.” The word for peace is “Shalom,” which means “completeness” or “peace.” The word for perfect is also “Shalom.” This verse says if we are fixed on God, if we trust in Him, we will be kept (watched, guarded) so that we are in completeness and peace.
There is a verse in Genesis that truly shows us something that we so often neglect. Genesis 41:16 is Joseph’s response to Pharaoh’s request for assistance. He said, “I cannot do it” (NIV) or “it is beyond my power to do this” (NLT). The Message translates this as “not I, but God.” No matter the translation, Joseph clearly tells Pharaoh that it is beyond his power, but that God can do it.
- “God will”
- “God can”
- “God shall”
The Bible says that what is impossible for man is possible with God (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:28). Here we see Joseph declaring this to Pharaoh. A lot of people will agree with the “God will,” “God can,” and even “God shall.” There are many levels of faith, but people do tend to agree with these statements many times. The “not I” part is the hardest part. We don’t like to admit we are powerless. We don’t like to admit we cannot do something. We don’t like to say that we are weak. This is a “me, myself, and I” world. Why say, “Not I”? We have the technology, the resources, and the abilities. We like to be in control.
Today I challenge you to look at your life and examine your weaknesses. Can you admit to yourself that you have these weaknesses? Can you say, “Not I, but God”? Paul tells the Corinthians that he boasts in his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:30, 2 Corinthians 12:9). I pray that you, too, may boast in your weaknesses and say, “Not I, but God.”