We are people that crave independence. It’s so woven into our culture here in the States that we’ve named cities after it and built a nation on it. Our human nature is to grow toward independence. We can see it clearly in children.
Kids start out absolutely dependent. Inside the womb, a baby is tethered for every bit of nutrition and oxygen she’ll need to grow. As a newborn, she can send a cry of alarm when she’s hungry but must rely on her parents to feed her. As a toddler, she may be able to reach her sippy cup, but even while demanding “I do it” she needs someone stronger to help pour her drink.
She’ll eventually get tall enough and strong enough to pour her own glass of milk, but it’s her parents who stock the frig. Until finally one day, she’s launched – buying her own groceries, cooking her own meals and completely self-reliant.
That’s how we grow physically. But spiritually, we’re to grow backwards.
God calls us to give up our independence – our rights, our agenda, our control — to become dependent on Him. The goal for the Christ follower is to become less dependent on self and more dependent on God.
But it’s so foreign to our nature. Sometimes we just outright rebel and though we may say with our mouth “God is Lord,” our heart is never broken to the point that we can say “God is my Lord.”
More often, we give some control to God, but keep a lot for ourselves. Even as we open one hand to the Lord, the other holds tight to a part of our life we just can’t give up.
Trials and suffering can put us in a place where we don’t have a choice. When we find ourselves in circumstances that are way too hard and situations that we cannot fix, we have no option but to depend on God.
We may struggle against it, but God can use it to grow us backwards. When we are most weak, God is most powerful in us.
For my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
In fact, Paul so knew the beauty of complete dependence on God that he went on to say he welcomed the hard places that drove him to depend on God.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
We’ve called this place helpless dependence. God has desired it all along — that we grow backward toward dependence on Him.
The surprise is that resting in that dependence, instead of fighting against it, brings peace. It’s a peace that doesn’t make sense based on the circumstances, that’s for sure. It’s a peace that assures – even though your heart is broken, even though life has changed, even though the future is murky and unclear – God is here and God is in control and God WILL take care of us.
I have tasted helpless dependence on God and I never want to be anywhere else. I know God’s promises and I know He promises dancing for mourning and beauty for ashes. I’ve begged God — when I get to the place where my heart isn’t as broken and the grief of my children isn’t as pressing and I can breathe a relieved sigh, do not let me move from You.
I have seen more of Him, heard more from Him, trusted Him with more than any other time and I don’t want to go back even when we’re better. In my weakness, God has been strong.
Today, let’s choose dependence. Let’s REST in the good hand of our loving God Who’s got this. God is strong in our utter weakness and He delights in our dependence on Him.
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This is part of the 31 Days: Braving the Broken series. You can find all of the posts here or subscribe for updates.
Joyce Walker says
My father was a very spiritual person,always seekingGod. I remember one day,only days before he died, I asked him, please teach me a lesson. He never hesitated. With all the wisdom that comes from seeking God every day he said”surrender everything”. What do you mean, like what? Pride,self,independence,everything,everything. He died only a few days later,but left me with a true lesson and life time challenge.
Lauren Lipton says
I love this Lisa!!!
Sarah Koontz says
“The surprise is that resting in that dependence, instead of fighting against it, brings peace.”
I spent years fighting against dependence, and I am so glad I finally learned how to trust God from the weakest places in my life.
And yes, it does bring peace.
Lisa Appelo says
It’s always a struggle, isn’t it?
Great wisdom there, indeed God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.