Friday, May 22, 2009

Created To Be Weak

Unlike the masses of animals, humanity has no clue as to why we exist. We have no skills to help us be who we are meant to be, ultimately, and all of our great plans have come to naught. We have tried to live our lives on our own terms, only to find ourselves impotent. We have tried to overcome our faults, only to find ourselves enslaved to them. We have gained the knowledge of success, of a good life, only to find that it was all a lie. We have loved, we have built, we have obtained wealth, we have planned, we have been empowered—only to have it all slip from our grasp. We are left with nothing. Our greatest achievements have ultimately been anthills—clumsy in design and as easy to topple. Our lives are but a leaf on a tree—quickly turned brown and withered and falling down, only to be crushed.

God is there, calling out to us, ready to meet our needs. Our relationship to God is not that to the harsh father, always wanting more from us than we can give. God knows our weaknesses, our helplessness. God made us helpless and hopeless on purpose. He created us weak so that we could recognize that we would never be complete without Him. So that, in the end, when we came to the end of ourselves, our plans, our hopes, our lives, we would turn to Him as the only fulfillment left.
But God also made us weak to prove something to all the universe. There are many powers in the universe, and God made them all. Some are less than humanity, and some are greater. But none are more helpless than the human infant. The human infant is more naked than any other creature, so helpless that he cannot even find his own food. The human infant’s only means of defense, expression and response is her cry. Almost any creature can destroy the human infant with a swipe or a bite. If an infant is left alone, it would die within hours.

Yet, amazingly, God pointed at that infant and said, “I choose YOU to rule the earth.” God’s most masterful creation, the ever-bubbling pot of life and creativity, and God put a helpless infant in charge of it.

How the great powers of heaven must have laughed! Had they the nerve to mock God, they surely would have. To place a baby in charge of the most complex system ever made is insanity, even stupidity. Yet this is what God did. God placed a small, helpless collection of gobs of cells to rule it all.

God did it, not to show humanity’s greatness. Their ability to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” (which, by the way, is a great way to fall on your ass). God chose humanity, with all its failings, with all its weaknesses, with all its helplessness, to show how great anyone can be when He is helping them.
The greatest power, God is teaching, is not power at all, but anti-power. The greatest strength is weakness.

But the other amazing characteristic of humanity is its blindness. Not only is humanity helpless, but it sees itself as strong. Humanity thinks that it can do anything. It thinks it can live on its own terms and succeed no matter what. What idiots we all are! So we continue to reject God, wanting to relate to God only on our own terms. Even the most saintly of us really only depend on God when we recognize that we absolutely can’t do it on our own. We don’t realize that we, no matter how old we become, are still that baby, that helpless infant unable to control our lives.

So God came to earth. He became that helpless infant Himself. And he did it to show us that the best life that any of us could live is a life of dependence. As Jesus was on earth, he had no food, but depended on the Father to provide. He had no power to help, so he depended on the Father to heal. He had no time to rest, so he depended on the Father to give energy. He had no place to sleep, so he depended on the Father to provide shelter.

And his is the best life ever. He is the only one to know—truly know!—why he was here on earth.

He was here to serve the Father. Not on his own terms, but the Father’s terms. He was here not to do his own will, but his Father’s.

To be an infant isn’t so bad. To be helpless is right where God wants us to be. Helpless and crying out to Him. Helpless and seeking His help. Helpless and not knowing where to go or what to do or how to do anything so we can just be leaning on Him.

The best we can be is dependent.

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