Over the past couple of weeks I have been contemplating the idea of helplessness in many different aspects. There is such a negative connotation behind this word, and with good reason. Since we’ve been in Haiti, here are some ways we have felt helpless:
- When it rains, it is a big struggle to drive to the orphanage even with 4wd. But there is nothing we can do about the rain.
- When we want (I almost wrote need) certain things that are easy to find at any store in America, but impossible to find here, we feel helpless.
- When we tried to purchase new socks for each of our kids in the market, but we could only get the “white” price for them while we were there, and even then they were difficult to find.
- As we raise money for land and buildings and it seems like these goals are so far off, we feel helpless.
- When we try very hard to speak Creole, but we are still a few months away from really being able to converse.
- When we try to live and do business in a completely different culture and we feel like we will never truly figure it out or belong here.
Each of these things bring a feeling of helplessness that is difficult to comprehend and deal with because we are not used to feeling helpless, and it is hard to feel that way. I then started thinking about the helplessness that our kids and other people in Haiti must feel, and it is so far beyond my comprehension that I will not even attempt to write about it. All I will say is that it makes my sense of helplessness look like absolutely nothing. How can I feel helpless when I have never worried about from where my next meal will come.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
I am in no way going to argue that helplessness in most cases is a positive experience. It is not fun to be helpless in most situations. But this idea of our ability to control our own environment, even our very selves, makes it very difficult to understand what it means to be helpless in the presence of GOD. I have been made very aware of my dislike for anything that takes away my control and puts it into the hands of someone else that I began to realize that I am like that with GOD in a lot of ways. I think things like, GOD will get me through this if I do…, or GOD is in control as long as I do…, or I want GOD’s wisdom for this as long as it is similar to how I view the world. I honestly have no idea how to get past this idea of self-reliance. How to empty myself of pride and really rely on GOD and listen to Him completely other than to get on my knees and beg Him every day to teach me what this means (not that I do this well, I just know that I should).
Some of you may be reading this and thinking something like, “Well, GOD doesn’t want me to be helpless, He just wants me to rely on Him,” to which I answer, “You’re absolutely wrong.” GOD wants our total and complete surrender and it is so foreign to us (kind of like living in another country) that we have no idea what it truly looks like. This doesn’t mean that we have no responsibility, just in my experience very very very few of us struggle with the idea that we are supposed to do things for ourself while the great majority of us struggle with the idea of turning things over to GOD.
I was listening to a song recently by Kristian Stanfill called “This Grace” which contains the line, “And when I see Your Face, the only claim I’ll make, Your Grace on which I Stand.” How true is that. When we come into the presence of GOD and see His fullness for the first time, we will not recount all of the wonderful things we have done and He will not go down the list of all the reasons to keep us out of His presence. We will stand on the strength of one thing and one thing alone…His Grace, the Grace that sets us free from our sin. Let’s put ourselves in the helpless position of allowing GOD to determine where our life goes. Let’s stop doing “business as usual,” and open ourselves up to the possibility that GOD may have something truly amazing in store for us. Whatever that is, I promise that we won’t find it in our strength and our own wisdom, but in the Grace on which we will be able to stand in front of our GOD.