How many people does it take to change a light bulb? Many people have heard this question asked as part of a joke. This morning I entered the kitchen and realized that it was a bit darker than usual. I looked to where the light usually comes from and noticed that there was a bulb in some cylindrical thing and it was out. I had no clue how to change this bulb or even where I could purchase a replacement bulb. Two months ago, I did not even know that under-the-cabinet lights existed.
It took me quite some time to remove the old bulb. Then I went over to my laptop and started to search for the numbers I found on the bulb. I got a lot of information, but I had to sift through things to make sure it was the correct information. Then it was off to the store and I was so confused when I found all of the different types of bulbs in the lighting supply aisle. There were so many bulbs that looked like the exact same bulb. I had to take the old bulb out and make comparisons. I had to read paperwork. I had to take my time to make the right choice. When I got to the cash register, I told the cashier that I was so nervous to install the bulbs. She could tell that I was in need of a confidence boost and she let me know that I would get the job done, and she even gave me some pointers. She was right!
We are often faced with situations that are new, things that are more grueling and more important than a simple light bulb. We are called to do things that are challenging. We are given work that seems nearly impossible. Some situations overwhelm us if we let them.
What do you do when you have your own light bulb to change? Your light bulb could be anything. You do the same thing you do with anything that comes your way in life.
Things to remember:
* Do not hide from the situation. Hiding from the situation will not make it go away. Remember that you are a child of God (Galatians 3:26). God can do more than you ever could imagine (Ephesians 3:20). If God is for you, what can be against you? (Romans 8:31). Many times, you will find that the situation is a great test of faith which can result in spiritual growth that will help you to one day be complete (James 1:2-4).
* Take it one step at a time. There is usually no need to rush a situation. When Jesus was ministering on earth, notice that He wasn’t rushing around healing and feeding. He took steps. He took time. He left us an example of great patience and self-control. If we practice this behaviors, we are more likely to be successful. Remember that “the steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23 NASB).
* Prepare yourself. Do the research. Read. Learn. Grow. Even when I was changing the light bulb, God’s Word was in my head and heart. Spending time in His Word helps to provide us with what we need when we are facing tough situations. Seek Him for guidance. His Word provides instruction and encouragement (Romans 15:4).
* Do not be afraid to ask for help. Don’t let your pride get in the way. God wants us to be part of a community. We each have our own part to play. We each have different talents, different specialties. We are all given the command to love one another. Sometimes we do the giving, sometimes we do the receiving. We should always seek help from Him. But remember, there are times that we need to ask others for some assistance. People do not always know what is going on in your life and they cannot read your mind. Luke 11 gives us instruction on how to pray as it also tells us of a friend who helps another. The friend is knocking on the door and announcing the need. Sometimes we are the helping friend, sometimes we are the knocking friend.
* Surround yourself with positive people. Positive people will be encouraging. Positive people share, love, and can see the good in things. Proverbs 11:9 states, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor.” Words are powerful and if you are surrounded by negative people, in time it will start to become your way of life. Proverbs 17:22 says that “a joyful heart is good medicine” (NASB). When you are facing tough situations, it is wonderful to have some “good medicine” from some positive people.
Finally, show yourself some grace. God thinks you are worth it!
Children are a great part of our future. I read a story I want to share with you. It is actually about a professor who is at Southwestern Seminary. When he was 5 years old, his family was not well off. They barely had the money to make it and he didn’t have any shoes. His mother thought it was very important to pray– she understood the value of prayer.
When she sent her son to the store, she gave him the grocery list. HE didn’t have shoes to wear on his feet to go to the store. His mother said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have the money to buy you shoes.” She told him that they should pray to God and ask Him to provide and He will provide, and so they prayed.
He went to the store and handed the man behind the counter the grocery list. The man looked at the list and then looked at the boy’s feet. He asked the boy why he didn’t have any shoes on his feet and the boy told him that they did not have the money for shoes.
The grocer packed up the list of groceries, wrote a note, and stuck everything into a bag. The boy proceeded home and gave his mother the groceries. When his mother was going through the items, she noticed the note that the man left, along with money for her to purchase the boy a pair of shoes.
Luke 11:9-10 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”
There is great power in prayer. As James wrote, “an effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Never doubt for a moment if God can hear your prayers or not. He hears each one of them and He answers each one of them.
As this little boy found out, God heard him and his mother praying for those shoes and God provided. This story shows the importance not only of sharing the power of prayer with young ones around us, but also in remembering the great power that prayer can have in our lives.
We don’t know where the future will take us. We can merely speculate what may or may not happen, and we can make an educated guess that turns out correct from time to time. But for the most part, we must walk in faith. Some people do not believe. Some people do not know God. Some try to control their lives, and believe they have got it all figured out.
This past week my Bible study group discussed the feeding of five thousand. Most are familiar with this event, and it is one of the few events that appears in all four of the Gospels. When all of the people stood before Jesus and His disciples, He told the disciples to feed the people. After seeing so many miracles and healings before this event, the disciples didn’t think of anything except how THEY could get the food for the multitudes. This was not just five thousand people– this number was the men; women and children increased this number. Some believe that there was close to 15,000 people involved in this memorable event. But what did the disciples look to when seeking a way to feed this large group? They immediately thought of the cost, the cost of food to feed so many. They tried to figure out how to get the money to feed the people.
Are there times in our lives when we come across a problem, and we look for our own solution? Are there times when perhaps we try to figure out how WE can solve a problem, rather than taking it to God? Perhaps we like to think we are doing a good thing by solving our own problems. Or maybe we think that the issue is so small, so why bother God with it– we will hold out for a bigger issue. The problem is that God wants to be a part of our lives. He has a great interest in EACH one of our lives. He doesn’t care how small or how large the issue. He wants to be involved. He is always there, ready for us to ask, ready for us to talk. He listens 24/7, wherever we are, and there are no cell phone overages and no waiting to say our piece.
“So I say to you: 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.” – Luke 11:9-10 [NIV]
“Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” – Galatians 2:16 [NIV]