The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him.
Proverbs 18:13 HCSB
When I read the Book of Proverbs, I am not just pierced but cleaved, like a butchered chicken. The verse above is a perfect example of the Word that splices and dices me, and in this case, confirms a chastening. I was breaking under the load of several heartbreaking situations when I received the hook, crook, and rod of correction: I am to listen and pray, NOT FIX.
Fix It? No, Listen and Pray
This is not my first dealing with the heinous sin ‘fixing’ (otherwise known as I-AM-GOD complex), and it may not be my last. I may have even written about it before on this blog! Regardless, here’s what happened. The Lord had put several people on my heart in a big way, and, because I was holding onto them, I was drowning. I was a real mess. It felt like my heart was breaking, and I just couldn’t see a way out or through for any of them. And that was my problem.
Not only is it not incumbent upon me to see a way out for someone else, it is very much beyond my ability to do so. I was playing God and weeping over my failure to be All-Knowing and All-Powerful. Ludicrous! “God, where are You?! I don’t know what to do or what to say here! It’s all too much and too big – GAH!” What I was doing was looking for an answer within the tiny scope of my own reasoning and experience to fix things—“foolishness and disgrace.” What I didn’t do was listen and pray.
When God gives me people and situations, it’s NEVER so that I will fix things. But when I’m connected to it with my heart, it’s a work to unclench my gripping fingers and give it all to Him. It’s not easy to love someone and see them in pain, or lost, or imprisoned. My immediate reaction is to try to relieve that pain, or map a way out, or free them. And not only is that unhelpful, it’s not love. For me to stand in God’s way is incredibly selfish and unloving.
To Listen and Pray is to Love
I cannot save anyone from anything, but I can listen for God’s will for someone and then pray it in, too. I can listen and pray. It is a privilege to listen and pray for the people God loves! THAT is love.
God is going to give me more than I can handle – ALWAYS. That’s how much He loves me. My spindly sheep legs can bear no burden, so I’ll have to turn to Him. As He tells me every day, “turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart,” “for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Jesus has all the answers because HE IS the answer to everything. He just needs a vessel to pray that the Father’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s my great honor and privilege to be that vessel.
Listen and pray. When the Lord gifts me with a heartbreaking situation or an impossible person, it’s because He’s chosen me to be the vessel for His Living Water and Resurrection Life that are so desperately needed. I can fix nothing, and He doesn’t expect me to either. It is only mine to listen and pray.
The entirety of Proverbs 2 belongs here, but I’ll confine myself to verses 1-5:
My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.