Desperate and dependent. Naturally, I strive for independence: “I can do this, and I will do it my way.” Christian, beware: To be dependent is contrary to my natural being; to be independent is to be contrary to my God.
“To be subject to the power of and at the disposal of another; not able to exist or sustain itself without the will or power of another,” is perhaps the scariest position of all for mankind. To be “unable to sustain (myself) without the aid of (another)” is precisely why we look for that first job, obtain that college degree, and learn the many things necessary to “make it on our own.” It is the common mindset that dependency is appropriate for children and the elderly, but definitely not for me. It is a state of being that is to be fought against until one can defy it no longer; and at that point, death is the preferred option.
In like despised manner, desperation is felt in times of hopelessness; in those times when we’ve been spent and must needs turn for outside help. The very word “desperately” carries with it tones of disregarding danger or safety; furiously and with rage; greatly and extremely, a careless, uncontrolled state of mind. Fighting desperately for a lost cause, or falling desperately in love…sounds to me like a precarious place to live, like a state of mind I hope not to visit very often.
Live as you want and believe what you will, the fact remains that we are dependent beings. As the leaf hangs down from the branch, so our fragile life remain connected to Life. As the drowning sailor looks helplessly for a raft, a splinter of wood to save him, so our best laid hopes and plans are able to carry us to a port of safety. As the two year old says, “I can do it myself!” while she seeks to push the ancient bureau out of the way to retrieve a lost trinket, thinking she needs no assistance, so our Father looks on us with pity as He waits to hear our humble cry for help.
Fighting, always fighting we are. Why is the truth so hard to realize? “Without Me ye can do nothing.” For life, for breath, for the very next beat of my heart, I need Thee. Yea, truly, I need Thee every hour. Submission to His commandments, submission to unforeseeable circumstances that arise, seem to me on a different level from this submission to Him; this way of thinking, this way of worshiping Him with my thoughts and my actions each and every day; this total yielding of who I am to Who He is and who He wants me to be.
Each fresh, new day finds new choices lay before us. The battle of life ceases at death and, until then, rages anew every morning: shall I begin my day with Him, or will I be asserting my independence yet again? Will I willingly confess to Him this day that, Vain is the help of man? The battle begins in the mind. It all starts with the thought that, “I am able.” Submission begins with “the acknowledgment of inferiority or dependence.” Acknowledgment occurs in the mind and actions follow. The mind is precisely where fear begins, as well. What a dreadful battlefield we hold within our very being. How close the battle rages! Closer still is my Defender; and yet, by His mighty arm of grace, even closer still is the victory.
To acknowledge my desperate dependence on my heavenly Father is the beginning of a grand and glorious state of being, a most productive way of living. “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee…” — Dependent of the very hand of God! “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” –Held by Him Who will never fail! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” -Laying our futures at the feet of One Who plans for our good, not for our failure and defeat!
The opposite of desperate dependence is the attitude of bringing God along with you as you move through your life, knowing He’s there to assist if you really need Him. For example, death, major accidents, big decisions, health issues, a teen that has strayed…the big things that we certainly want God in the middle of. How contrary this attitude is to desperate dependence! “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” In choosing to be desperately dependent, I see the riches available to me and realize that my wilderness scavenging has produced nothing but thistles and thorns, a dearth of satisfaction and a thirst unquenched. My way is sorely lacking in substance and value. On the contrary, His plan, His way though yet understood, is by far the fairer way. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord be it unto me according to thy word.” His mountains to climb will bring us to the higher ground. His cross to bear is the reasonable sacrifice we are to carry and place at His feet with content and humble cries of, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Says Hannah Whitall Smith, “Meet His measureless devotion for you with a measureless devotion to Him. Be glad and eager to throw yourself unreservedly in His loving arms, and to hand over the reins of government to Him.” “Perfect obedience would be perfect happiness, if only we had perfect confidence in the power we were obeying.” (Unknown) If only we knew Him?! If only we could trust Him?! “Closer to thee than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet”, says Tennyson of our God. He who has made thee whole; He who has wrought new life in you and placed within you His very Spirit; Who has promised to guide thee with His eye, is known by you. The One who holds the stars in place and sets each runner in his race has made His abode with you. Devoted He is to us, and evermore devoted we should be to Him.
I challenge you to speak to your Father about becoming desperately dependent on Him. A new year stretches before you like a trackless field of snow. It’s a perfect time to begin anew. Cease the wandering; crave the tangible presence of the Saviour. Place yourself in that humble, needy position every morning and beg Him to be still nearer to you. Move not without His prompting and speak not without His grace. Beg for His presence to be felt through your being. Hand Him the reins, your heart, your plans and your passions. Safe are they with Him. And blessed you surely will be for having laid your precious bits in His hand. He will take your squandered time, your splintered works, your disfigured plans, your fragments of beauty, and your shattered hopes, and will make all things new for you. Disappointed you cannot be, for He promises you He’ll give you, “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that (you) might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.”
Christian, you can do nothing of eternal value without Him. You ARE dependent upon Him for any moving of the Spirit in your heart, your home, your life. You ARE dependent upon His Word to give you wisdom, to guide your steps and to change your thinking. Acknowledge this humbly before Him and joyously await His moving in your life.
Purposefully choose desperate dependence; your life will never be the same. May this phrase ring in your ears until it becomes your song. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Two of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife of almost 30 years.