Like the Israelites in Jeremiah’s day, many of us have determined we must make it on our own. We subscribe to the old saying, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” We are so independent that we don’t need or want anyone’s help for the most part. It’s not just an American thing that we see ourselves as “self-made” men and women. It’s a human condition. It was a huge problem in Israel during Jeremiah’s day and also in Jesus’ day. We believe we can manipulate, maneuver, or manage the details of our lives ourselves. We see that as independence and we value it very much. The trouble with this attitude is that there are too many things in our lives totally out of our control; our health, the health of our loved ones, larger social issues, political power, overall economy, and many other things.

These are things that only God manages. Scripture teaches us that only God determines the length of a person’s life and their time of death. We also learn the leaders, rulers, kings, and queens are established by God and reign according to His pleasure. This is why prayer plays such a large role in a believer’s life. We have an avenue through which we can petition God with our wants, desires, hopes, and dreams. The larger picture of course rests solely in His hands and He wishes us to trust Him as He manages the affairs of men. It’s often said that “man proposes, and God disposes.” We have plans and blueprints but if God is not building the house, those who labor do so in vain.

God wants us to trust Him with all the affairs of life. He wants us to truly believe that He has our best interest foremost in mind and will bring about our good in the end regardless of our present circumstances. When we continue to insist on doing it all our own way, and managing, manipulating, or maneuvering things to suit our own desires, He seems to take delight in quenching our efforts. This is what Jeremiah tells us God says when we take His affairs into our own hands, “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will lay before this people stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble; fathers and sons together, neighbor and friend shall perish.’” Paul called Jesus a “stumbling block” to the Jews in 1 Corinthians 1:23. They thought they could earn God’s favor and merit eternal life by keeping the law, but that’s impossible! What they needed and what we need, is a Savior. He accomplishes for us what we could never do for ourselves. God says, “Just trust me in this.”