My phone’s alarm broke the blessed bliss of sleep.
Instinctively, I reached to turn to turn it off and set it back down on the stack of papers I’d been working on the night before. I curled back up and pulled the covers tight around me.
The bliss evaporated within seconds. As I became fully awake, my heart sank. With deep silent sighs, I remembered — this is life now.
Day after painful day lay before me. I could not imagine what my future held – it looked bleak and shapeless and anchored to . . . what? The one who had helped anchor my life for 26 years, shaped the rhythm of our day, brought steadiness and laughter and fun to our home was gone. And with him, all of life as we knew it. All of life as I’d ever wanted it.
I had zero ambition to get up and meet the day. But as much as I wanted to stay cocooned in bed, the longer I lay there the more my thoughts churned with the ever-present list of things I needed to do. I needed to get kids up for breakfast. I needed to fix the mower or take it to get fixed. I needed to contact the mortgage company about a refinance. I had a list of phone calls to return from the day before.
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And I had seven kids that needed a mom now more than anything. I needed to pull it together to start our homeschool, to fix dinner and actually eat it at the table together, to love them through this while still doing the daily correcting, driving, listening, teaching.
I willed my feet to the floor. Heading to the shower, with less than ten minutes logged into this day, I was already filled with defeat, despair and the unremitting hollow pain I would carry through my day.
Every day I told God that this was too hard. Every day, I started with this thought: I CANNOT DO THIS.
We can find ourselves in circumstances that are unfixable and unbearable. Unforeseen trials, huge life changes, medical crises and shattered relationships can leave us stuck and powerless.
It goes against our nature to be in a place we can’t fix. We want to be able to handle things. But this is what God has wanted all along – complete dependence on Him. The first taste of complete dependence on God doesn’t usually happen by our choice but when our circumstances give us no other option.
Being utterly dependent on God is absolutely where God wants us.
Hudson Taylor, a dynamic missionary in China, said that God “wants you to have something far better than gold, and that is a helpless dependence on Him that He may have the privilege (the right) of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.”
A helpless dependence.
Maybe you’re there right now? Often it’s when we feel helpless, that we see God help most. God over and over again calls Himself our helper.
- God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1
- Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4
- Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20
- So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
We may hate the circumstances that brought us to helpless dependence. But if we’re here, let’s rest in the assurance that the Sovereign God of the universe who not only created every atom of our world but sustains it in breathtaking symmetry, will be our helper when we are most helpless.