The Power Of Helplessness
Have you ever felt the sense of being helpless? You know, you don’t have enough emotional energy to go anywhere or do one more thing. All your normal motivation and your coping skills are letting you down. Maybe you’re at home right now because of COVID-19 and you’re worried if you’ll have a job to go back to, or you feel like you need to minister to someone closer than 6 feet away and a video call just isn’t helping.
I remember a time in my ministry experience…way back in 1999 that was such a helpless time. It definitely wasn’t a world-wide pandemic…but it was a personal one. You see, a student that a I cared much about committed suicide, two other kids in the ministry were fighting for their lives in intensive care, two parents of some students I’d invested in that I thought were loyal to me, chewed me out, questioning my motivation and integrity. On top of that, internally I was fighting daily against depression…even before all this happened.
As I was getting ready to put together an important message to an incoming group of students and their parents…I felt immobilized. I remember the feelings that, “I just didn’t care,” and even the simple things were overwhelming to me. The only way I could get myself to begin to even think about what I was going to share, was by getting out a sheet of paper and writing across the top, “The Power Of Helplessness.”
When I’m going through an overwhelmed time, I turn to the Psalms where David has so often been a friend to me. This day, I found in Psalms, that David once again seemed to relate to me. Psalm 4:1, the Amplified Version says, “When I was hemmed in…You have freed me.” And when I read Psalms 4:1, I knew that God understood my feelings.
What good can come out of those moments that you feel “hemmed in”?
I think sometimes God allows these times to come to me because I tap dance around, “The Cult of Self-Sufficiency.” You know, I easily find myself beginning to depend too much on myself and not my Lord. It’s not pride or ego…it’s just saying, “I can do this.” Sometimes without even realizing it, I put myself on autopilot and my dependency on the Lord goes lower than I mean it to go. I think sometimes when this happens, it is a loving Father that keeps reminding me, “…apart from Me you can do nothing.”(John 15:5) I think in the helpless times, Jesus wants to remind me that, “apart from Him I can’t do one thing that’s going to be worth anything.”
Sometimes our loving Heavenly Father has to almost paralyze us to get our attention. It’s not punishment. When you have an accident, the emergency people will immobilize you, because the more you move, the motion jars the potential problem into a greater season of problems. So God immobilizes us and says, “Just be still and know that I am God. I want you to refocus and make sure you aren’t charging all those hills without being attached to the Vine that makes all that hill charging worth something when you get to eternity.”
Most of life is not magic moments. When you feel helpless you often feel isolated and the loneliness makes all of the junk going on inside your head and heart even worse. Learn to embrace the power of helplessness.
Psalm 61:2, “I call as my heart grows faint, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”
Jesus we call on You. Some of us have lost all our emotional energy, we’re foggy about the future, our motivation is subliminal and emotions are rearing their ugly head. May we embrace the power of helplessness. We quote John 15 a lot…help us to authentically live it.