Sometimes the most effective advice is the simplest.
After two months in physical therapy, I now have an impressive collection of assigned exercises and workout equipment to use in the process of straightening out my recuperating arm. Multiple sheets of paper detail how to stretch the muscles correctly as well as how many exercise repetitions to perform per set, and how many sets to do per day. A plastic shopping bag holds the rubber stretchy bands, the weights, the towels and even the hammer I use as aids in the accomplishment of this routine. And yet it was my doctor rather than my therapist who gave me the advice that seems to have helped the most.
“Get an empty gallon jug, and fill it with a couple of inches of water. Then let it hang from the hand of your injured arm, and the weight of the water will gradually pull your arm straight. Just let gravity do its thing,” he said.
“That's it?”, I wondered. Just let it hang? No movement? No pictures? No other instructions? Could it really be that easy? And after years of fighting the effects of gravity on my body, was I really supposed to now partner up with it and let it have its way? It all just seemed a little bogus to me. But because I trust the doctor, I gave it a try. And while other exercises have come and gone since he first gave me that advice, that one strategy has proven most effective in helping to straighten my arm.
I wonder why we think something has to be complicated to be effective. We tend to shy away from the easy answer, the quick fix, the solution that doesn't require a whole lot of sweat and effort on our part. We stubbornly hang on to the thought that if it's our problem then its solution is up to us, and we have to do something to make it right. And actually, we couldn't be farther from the truth.
The best solution when trouble hits is to take it to God. Usually we do this as a last resort rather than a first response. After we have tried and failed to fix things on our own, in desperation we turn to the One we should have gone to in the first place. There is a reason He is called our Counselor. And what does He ask of us, but that we place the matter in His hands and then believe that He has the power and the desire to handle it for us...simple instructions that seem too easy to be a true and yet are surprisingly difficult to follow. What finally sways us is the trust we have in the One Who spoke the words. Do we trust Him enough to put the things most dear to us in His hands and allow Him to straighten out what we couldn't fix on our own? The real issue at hand is not whatever difficulty we're dealing with at the time but our relationship with the Problem Solver Himself. If we focus our time, effort and attention in in developing that connection, we'll find that God is more than capable of handling the rest.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”