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Pointers along the way #169

Conscious of our dependence
- Jacob Ninan

We are dependent on the Lord even for the very breath of life. We see many people on our right and left pass away from this life suddenly, reminding us that life on earth is very uncertain. The Psalmist said that all flesh is like the grass that is here one day and disappears soon (Ps.103:15,16). Accidents and sicknesses can suddenly change our plans. Disappointments and frustrations mark many of our days. There are people who betray our trust and others who scheme against us in secret. Who can be sure what a day can bring?

One thing we can do is to brood over such things and become gloomy, depressed, hopeless, cynical, callous, etc. That is certainly not going to make things better, but will drive us further into despair. The other thing we can do is to draw closer to the Lord and find shelter under His wings (Ps.61:4). He does not promise us a bed of roses or to take away all the hardships of life. But on the other hand He does promise that even when we go through the water or the fire He will be with us (Is.43:2). He will see to it that none of these things overwhelm us. Even when our enemies scheme against us, God will will cause us to receive a blessing - a feast - from His hands (Ps.23:5;Ro.8:28). He comforts us with His protective presence with us so that we can feel secure (Ps.23:4).

The knowledge of God that we can get through the hardships of life - as we hold tightly to Him - is of such precious value that God thinks it is better to let us go through suffering and gain it, than to let us have an easy life and miss it. The Bible refers to it as going through suffering to glory (Ro.8:18). But we are all in danger of missing the glory, because when suffering comes we respond by complaining and turning away from God instead of drawing closer to Him.

The Lord tells us to draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us (Jas.4:8). He tells us to draw near to Him, but He won't draw near to us before we draw near to Him. This is because He doesn't wish to intrude upon our free choice. But when we do draw near to Him, even if it is in panic, fear, doubt, distress, sorrow, pain, etc., He will come close to us and comfort us.

One way that can help us to remember to draw near to Him is to develop the habit of telling ourselves how dependent we are on God. When we make our plans, when we tell others what we are going to do, when we set out to do something - we can say or at least think of the phrase, "God willing" (Jas.4:15). This will remind us of our dependence on God and help us to draw close to Him.

Some people think that this is a lack of faith, and that we ought to affirm things through our words in order to express our faith. It is silly to say "God willing" if we already know His will. But many times we don't. What greater expression of faith is there than to acknowldege our utter dependence on Him and to submit to His soevereign will?