Maybe you can relate: either your own or someone else’s infant child is in your care, you have a million things to do, and somehow it’s already bottle time again. Now if the kid is like my oldest and guzzles 6 ounces of formula like an industrial vacuum, no problem. But if you have the uber-casual eater in your arms, you need back-up. Enter the Auto-feeder! Sit ’em up, introduce the warm fuzzy blanket, then use said blanket as the perfect bottle hot-spot! I’m not gonna be modest here; it was one of my best ideas ever.
It would be nice-especially at 3am-for the little tikes to not require feeding, but when the need arises, it must be met, and often there’s only one person who can deliver. In the last year in particular, I’m learning that my needs are not all that different. It’s obvious that babies are dependent and need to be dependent, but there is a very important and real need for adults to be dependent too.
What I’m not talking about are people who are quite content to unnecessarily live off others or those with dependence on substances. The dependence I didn’t know and have come to appreciate is true dependence on God. Many times throughout the years I’ve prayed for God to bless things, fasted here and there, or gone to gatherings where we’d collectively seek God’s provision. These times are good, but although I knew in my head God needed to be present and active, I wasn’t forced to admit that no one else but him could make something amazing happen.
That changed last year. There were a few folks that I very regularly had to communicate with for several years, but our interactions rarely went well and sometimes went very poorly. My own attitude was certainly a major player. I had asked God for help, tried several different techniques to improve communication, and made a bit of progress, but nothing to confirm sustained improvement. Finally, I was brought to the point of feeling that God would do nothing more and that I could do nothing more. At all. I was out of ideas, hopeless, and unsettled at having to admit my failure. And that’s when God did something more. He wanted me to have to depend on him, not just know I needed to depend on him, before he’d be the only one who could make amazing things happen (Click to tweet).
And he did. His poignant lesson brought me to confession, apology, edification, and reconciliation so quickly and completely that I could hardly believe it. Five years of truly struggling with arguing, anger, and dissension vanished within weeks, and never since then have I had the same urge to speak unproductively or vindictively with these folks as I had in most interactions with them previously.
Some people’s circumstances have forced them to depend on God from the get-go, and they know how God can provide when literally no one else can. But many of us have not truly had to depend on him completely, even if we’ve acted on the knowledge that it’s important. Ever since God revealed his provision exclusively through my well-intended but inevitable, incontrovertible inadequacy, I’ve been practicing ways to continue forcing-instead of just understanding-my dependence on him. Taking Sabbaths more seriously, making my Type-A self purposely not plan various details, and even surprising some of my student leaders with a fast instead of free lunch (a significant risk with college students, but they took it like champs!) have all been small steps in the process of discovering dependence myself and with others. What are your ideas? Where might you find yourself in an undeniable place of true and utter dependence…a place God may prove he is the only one who can do the amazing thing you need most (Click to tweet)?
For more discussion on how our efforts and God’s provision collide, interact, and transform us in the best of ways, check out Healing Hereafter, my free e-book series. Instantly download all or any parts you want right here!