Can I preface this post? I hesitated to post this essay because a) it's personal and b) might appear overly dramatic or c) completely strange to someone who never has been down this road :). But I decided to post it anyway because of the amount of people who have struggled with something similar during certain seasons in life. So I hesitantly submit it, hoping to be of some use and encouragement to another. Kara
Sometimes we fragile humans (usually oblivious to this very fragility) have our self-reliance stripped away. We are left open and exposed. Our mental, physical, and emotional capacities are weakened or paralyzed. Have you been there?
In truth, there is nothing about man that is self-reliant, in the sense that every fiber of our being is in the hands of our Creator who sustains us completely. It is Him who has gifted man with the ability to live, love, breathe, reason, to 'carry on' in life. But God has graciously given us a sense of autonomy, competency, ability, self-reliance if you will, to be able to accomplish tasks, think clearly, and be effective in our daily living.
I used to think that self-reliance was a just result of common sense, a mature disposition, and one's ability to maintain a proper perspective on reality. I used to think. Now I know that a sound mind and any "grip" one might have on life are not something earned (although undoubtedly enhanced by the above mentioned)—rather, they are in fact one of Gods most common and necessary gifts to man, an unmerited mercy.
Sometimes its foundations are shaken by circumstances. Life tumbles down around us like dominoes, quickly falling into a disarray of tragedy, confusion, loss, or division. Or maybe it's shaken even more deeply at the roots of one's very existence and identity, coming in an unseen form and smothering the ability to breathe in mind, heart, and soul.
When our sense of sustaining ourselves is gone, we are forced to look deep into the impotence of our own soul. It is at such a low point of brokenness in which the barrenness of my own person is exposed. I glimpse into the inability to function without the very hand of God.
The world may go on around me, lips move, feet scuff, but the whole din fades into irrelevant white noise. I feel like a stranger, moving and talking but within my soul it is silent, the noise swirls around and around in a terrific twist yet I hear nothing. My soul feels alone and unable to breathe.
The end of this self, this portrait of emptiness and loneliness, has made me realize that truly our hearts were made for God and there is no real comfort or rest found in any other. We separated ourselves from our All, our Sustainer, our Joy-Giver, our Creator in the fall and even if we are a believer, a shadow of the resulting brokenness will remain until glory. It makes me shrink to imagine the depth of our agony apart from God.
In these times of barrenness the trivial things of life are stripped away in an unprecedented way. It is a time where the soul is alone with God. Like standing in the midst of a storm with chaos all around and yet everything is so quiet. And all you can hear is His voice. It is the only thing that will break through the silence. One can learn to listen in these times, to not be filled with fear but to take these times to find comfort in Him.
The Truth is the only thing that can penetrate and comfort, because it is real. Amidst all circumstances, philosophies, and trends that approach me and ruminate in my mind, the Truth sets itself apart with authority—drenching the withered soul with life and resonating within.
It is good to know the difference between what one feels and what one knows.
I may feel alone but I know God is there and delights to give comfort to the weak.
-Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Psalm 33:19
-And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
It becomes a reality and joy that God uses our weakness to strengthen us in Christ.
-And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I take comfort that I am completely sustained by Him who continues to care for His own.
- For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. 1 Peter 3:12
-My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Psalm 121:2,3
I look forward to the day that Christ-reliance will be the reality for my soul every moment and there will be no gaping barrenness to peer into.
It [the body] is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 1 Corinthians 15:42, 43