Answer: If I’m the one changing the light bulb, it will take at least one more!
I’ve long since come to terms with the fact that I’m not a handyman. I don’t pretend to know what I’m doing when the car breaks down or the refrigerator goes out. There are those men (and women) who can fix anything with a roll of duct tape and spit, but I’m not one of them. In fact, my tool chest is so pitiful I should probably have my “man card” revoked!
While I’m not ashamed to ask for help with most household repairs, occasionally pride gets the better of me and I decide to tackle a project myself and usually with disastrous results. (After five years, a few hundred dollars, and dozens of trips to the hardware store, water still leaks in through my back door when it rains!)
The DIY bug hit again this weekend when I noticed that the headlight on my wife’s SUV had burned out. Just to give myself a little credit, I have replaced several headlights in our vehicles over the years so I didn’t think twice about doing so again. However, I had never replaced a bulb in this particular vehicle, and knowing that the process is different depending on the make and model, I did some research first. After watching a short instructional video followed by a trip to the store to buy a new bulb, I was ready to go.
The first five or ten minutes went just as expected. I removed the plastic covering that gave me access to the headlights and although it was a tight fit for my arm I managed to get the bad bulb out without too much fuss. That’s when I hit the first snag. I realized that I had bought the wrong type of replacement bulb, so back to the store I went.
Upon resuming my work, I encountered my second problem. Taking the bad bulb out hadn’t been too difficult but getting the new one installed proved a much harder task. I couldn’t actually see what I was doing so I was having to work completely by feel and no matter what I did that new bulb just wouldn’t seat properly. After twenty minutes of arm cramps of scraped knuckles I finally got it to fit. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking my work was done only to turn on the car to see the headlight was still out! And that’s when it fully hit me – I had just replaced the wrong light! I had removed a perfectly good bulb for the high-beam lights instead of the bad low-beam headlight. On top of that, the type of bulb I needed was now back on the shelves at the store. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH! Only by God’s grace did I not utter some very choice words.
Sadly, my ordeal did not stop there, but I’ll spare you the rest of the details. In the end, it got fixed but my pride lay shattered in the driveway. Having had a few days to reflect on this saga, I can now see the moment where it all went wrong. It happened in that second where I considered the challenge before me and said to myself, “I’ve got this.”
Is it just me or isn’t that a pretty good description of what we often do when it comes to tackling God’s plans for our lives? As soon as we think we know what God is calling us to do, we plow ahead and try to do God’s plan our way. One of the clearest examples of this can be found in the book of Joshua, chapter 7.
Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water. (Joshua 7:2–5, ESV)
In case you don’t remember, right before this sad defeat took place the Israelites has won the most amazing and miraculous victory at Jericho. They knew that God’s plan for them was to inhabit the Promised Land, and when they had faced the seemingly insurmountable task of defeating the walled city of Jericho, they sought God for guidance and had used His battle plan. But when they saw that the next step to ultimate victory was through the much smaller city of Ai, they never once consulted God and instead formulated a pride-filled attack strategy. The result speaks for itself.
What would have happened if Joshua, or any of the other leaders, had stopped for just one moment and asked, “God, how do You want us to do this?” If they had decided to operate from a place of humility where they always recognized the need for Divine guidance, then the outcome would have been dramatically different. Instead, they chose to do God’s plan their way, and the result was a lot of unnecessary pain and humiliation.
We are just asking for trouble when we get into the habit of saying, “I’ve got this.” I love you dearly, but please hear me when I say, “No, you don’t got this.” No matter how talented you may be, you will never be as awesome as God, so why would you ever try to anything without his help?
I know this might sound a little silly, but my advice to you today is this: you should never change a light bulb by yourself. What I mean is that even the smallest of tasks should be done in the mindset of, “God, how do You want me to do this?” Taking that brief moment to pause and seek God’s guidance and then determine to do His plans, His way could truly be a lifesaver.