Just put down the book and pick up the baby

Published 12:03pm Sunday, September 22, 2013

By Dr. James Troglen
I was scuba diving with some new friends a few weeks ago and since I was on mixed gas and they were not, they had to surface a bit earlier than myself.
Wandering around the wreck I found a nice collapsed compartment and went in to investigate. Not the wisest thing to do when alone but – oh, well.
As I prepared to exit I noticed two Lion Fish circling above me near the opening. They were circling in a strange kind of fish dance and had my path blocked. Lion Fish are highly poisonous and can be aggressive. Did I mention they were both very large? I was at a loss as to what to do.
I had read that Lion Fish will part peacefully if not approached aggressively. I also remembered an old professor’s words about difficulties and problems. He had told us that when problems appear, take what you know, go right at them and the solution will appear.
So, I did just that and as I got closer the Lion Fish parted, interrupted their dance and let me pass. Quite an experience passing between them only inches away from my skin.
I have discovered the advice was true in most cases. If a class is tough, learn all you can and just go after it, approach it, handle it as it comes and soon you will find it is not a problem anymore.
During my doctoral work, I approached my dissertation with tremendous anxiety. The task was a large one and intricate in details. I had applied myself in my coursework and learned all needed for the task. So, I followed that sage advice and 351 pages later my dissertation was done and I graduated with the terminal degree.
Most of us try to skirt troubles or problems and while perhaps momentarily successful they usually surface again later. Others stand and bemoan their difficulties and become stuck in life. Still, others approach life, handle what they can and seek God’s help in the harder areas beyond themselves.
But the key is they move forward and handle them. Some individuals never learn this simple lesson even in their Christian faith.
They spend all their time studying the Bible about what to do, how to act and what not to do. They gather a lot of information and knowledge but do nothing with it. The Bible really does not seem to help them with their problems.
That is because they have learned all they can – that is a good thing – but they have never moved forward. They learn about witnessing, about stewardship, about service and are virtual encyclopedias in them, but no action.
Their problems have them stymied. I once read about a new young mother home from the hospital with her little one. Her mother had arrived to help and offer support and found the child screaming in his little bed.
In the meantime the mother was fretting, worrying and looking in her source book of baby problems trying to find the reason for the crying. She continued to look, fret and be anxious for about an hour.
Finally, her mother said to her, “Dear, sometimes it’s time to put down the book and pick up the baby.” Good advice for us all. Sometimes we need to put down the book and get into life and action with what we already know.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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