Four Boxes of Ex-Lax


He restores my soul.

Psalm 23:3

The manager of a store is interviewing a young man who has applied for a sales position. The young man has no sales experience and the manager is concerned. He stresses over and over again the importance of selling something. The young man assures him that he can make sales and he is hired. Three days go by and not one single sale. The manager is getting frustrated and reminds the new employee that he has to sell something to keep his job. The young man assures him that tomorrow he will sell something.

A customer comes in the next day, coughing a lot and clearly not feeling too well and the new employee sells him 4 boxes of Ex-Lax. He is pretty proud of himself so he tells his boss who rightfully questions him – “why on earth, would you sell someone with a really bad cough 4 boxes of Ex-Lax?”

The young man responded with, “He will think twice about coughing now.”

I laugh at this story every time I read it.  I am reminded of the countless things I have tried all in an attempt to fix me.

When my husband took his life, I grabbed every book I could find on grief and talked weekly with a counselor, all in an attempt to go through the grieving process and find healing as quickly as possible. Only to discover that there is no shortcut through grief.

In the beginning of the grief process, I lost so much sleep and felt like I was constantly walking through wet cement as I went about my daily routine.  Days were busy learning to deal with all the things that he had been responsible for and so that really only left nights to work on fixing me. The only way I could get to sleep at night was to repeat Psalm 23 over and over in my head.  That Psalm brought me a great deal of comfort.

One night, though, I got stuck on verse 3 – He restores my soul.  He does this.  I can’t.  All the grief books and counseling sessions couldn’t restore my soul because it is His job.  Please don’t hear me wrong, I am not saying the books and the counseling should be dismissed, they were tools He used but until I was totally ready to lean into His promise to restore my soul, I was barely making any progress.

Like the man in this joke, I wanted a quick fix.

Nothing wrong with that except this: it’s not my job. It’s not my job to make myself be a good Christian. I can do all the right things and still be miserable ol’ me because I am the one doing it. I can’t make myself be a good Christian any more than Ex-Lax can stop that man’s cough. He restores my soul.  Soul refers to mind, will and emotions and mine were a mess. When I learned surrender, which only came after NOTHING I did worked,  only after giving up and letting go, I began to see myself change. I can’t be a good Christ follower, I can only follow Christ. And only as He helps me, can I even do that well. Or at all. How about you? Are you broken and need healing? Are you struggling to make yourself a good Christian? If so, can you try resting in the promise that He restores your soul?

Thank You Father, for being my Healer, for restoring me in every area of my life that has been broken. As I trust in You to fix what I can not, help me to rest. I don’t need a quick fix, I need You. By Your grace, I will lean into You for the healing I can’t find anywhere else. Thank You for caring so much about every aspect of my life and for not leaving me alone.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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