It’s what many children in America say on Christmas Day. Naturally, a toy gets broken and little Lisa and Billy are coming to Mom and Dad to fix it.
When we were children, we knew enough to go to an adult to see if a thing could be fixed. As adults, we try to fix whatever is broken on our own, and sometimes that works. But when it comes to matters of the heart, relationships, or trying to understand the timing of a promise of God, we inevitably fail. Sometimes we make an even bigger mess than we had to start with, and this can lead to depression and despair.
There is perhaps no better example of a failed fixer than Sarah, Abraham’s wife. In Genesis 15, we see God making a promise to Abraham that his descendants would be more than the stars in number. The only problem was that Sarah was barren.
In Genesis 16, at seventy six years old, Sarah had a “great” idea that she thought would fix her situation and presumably “help” God fulfill His promise to Abraham. Sarah suggested to her husband that he lie with her maidservant, Hagar, and have a child for the couple through her. Now, let me say, that is the worst idea ever in the history of ever! She thought she was depressed before? Hagar does have a child with Sarah’s husband and they name him Ishmael. It looks like Sarah’s plan may have worked, doesn’t it? But are there consequences for trying to fix serious problems by our own understanding? You better believe there are.
Sarah and Hagar have a falling out-two actually. Sarah and Abraham get into a pretty bad argument, and the worse thing is, you know that age-old battle between the Arabs and the Jews? Well, Ishmael is the father of the Arabs, and Isaac (the child Sarah bore at ninety years old) becomes the father of the Jews. They are still fighting today some 4000 years later with no end in sight. Conclusion to Sarah’s fixing? Misery all around.
I guess we could consider Sarah the poster child for an epic fixing fail, but I don’t think we should be so hard on her. She wasn’t the first person to totally blow it by trying to help God, and she probably won’t be the last.
Let’s be honest. There are “fixers” among us who cannot tolerate when things are broken or out of line, especially when it comes to relationships. A wayward
child, a broken marriage, a distant friendship-all of these can lure the fixer to spring into action. Leaning on our own understanding can lead us to a misery that can end up being worse than the original problem.
As Christians, we are called to be “ministers of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18), and people who “… as much as it depends on us should be at peace with all people” (Romans 12:18), but that is not the kind of fixing I’m talking about.
Like Sarah, the unhealthy “fixer” is someone who will become so obsessed with fixing a situation that it will actually lead to their own demise. This fixing can drive them to a level of darkness and depression that even the people they’re trying to fix don’t have. Fear is in the driver’s seat in this case.
If your desire to “fix” (i.e. reconcile) people and situations leads you to peace and faith in God through His Word and prayer, excellent! Keep going in that direction, you’re running well.
On the other hand, if your desire to “fix” leads you to anxiety and fear and stops you dead in your tracks, please receive this quote as a possible fix to your problem of fixing:
“The only thing we need to fix… is our eyes on Jesus.” dh
Hebrews 12:1b-2a says: “…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, *FIXING OUR EYES on JESUS, the author and perfecter of faith….” (*emphasis mine)
In the end, we are like those children on Christmas Day. We need our heavenly Father to fix what’s broken. It behooves us to let go of every broken relationship and every (yet) unfulfilled promise of God and place them back into His hands. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, our Lord will fix those things that concern us. He is, after all, the only One Who can.
God’s shalom (peace/wholeness) to all of you,