“Self-dependence... far from being a valuable attribute, is a complete delusion.”
— Dr. Matthew Jacoby, Deeper Places.
“You cannot have it both ways”
My mother often told me.
It’s what the journey of life says
If only we might see.
For, life is a paradox
Of means in this way:
God we try to outfox
But that life doesn’t pay!
It seems such a horrible idea
To depend alone on the Divine
To make the Divine just that dear
We think will personally malign.
But freedom is found
In a dependence of footing
Both sound and profound
Which we can see if we’re into looking.
We cannot have it both ways. We cannot live independently of God and of need of others and realise the strength that comes from acknowledging our innate dependence. We are dependent on God for life. He who created us, and brought us into this reality, and can take us away from it at any time he chooses, ought to be recognised: we are indebted to God, especially if we like the idea of our lives.
Self-dependence is a subterfuge of insidiously colossal proportions that is not only reinforced by our selfish world, it is inculcated in our flesh. The sinner, who knows he or she is a sinner, knows how hard it is to live the God-dependent life (because of the world and their flesh), but, just the same, they are fully committed to that venture, trusting in the grace of God to cover the shortfall between their godly intent and their actual performance as sinners.
To the person who insists on having their own lives just as they would have them – spurning God’s will – will have God say back to them, “Okay, suit yourself.” The person who refuses to be dependent on God will not be a happy person. Though they steer their own ship, they have no answer regarding the myriad circumstances that work against them.
On the other end of the spectrum is the person who has agreed that they are under a certain authority: for simplicity purposes, God. He or she who lives this way is able to be happy despite any circumstance, because they believe God is good, and though they don’t understand everything, they have faith that God cannot betray them.
Because they are under God, and they understand all of life is under God, they see life in general terms as a just enterprise – all things in balance. They don’t need to understand everything, because they accept there are many mysteries they will never know. They don’t need to know everything. They attempt to keep life simple. Most of all, they do not fear depending on God, and indeed find that depending on God is the way to weigh all matters of dependence, independence, and interdependence – for life is all about these matters, dependence, independence, and interdependence.
Why do we need to depend on God? It’s because he who created us and the entire universe, knows us, knows our lack, and knows what we need. Why fight a fight we cannot win? But if we are friends with God, and we discern and do his will, God will fight for us, so we can accept many things that are beyond us.
Life is far more palatable and meaningful when we frame it within dependence on God. We are nothing without God.
We fear depending on anyone. Yet, God is not just anyone. What seems like a great weakness – to need God – is actually one of the greatest of strengths: the strength of humility. It takes great faith to trust in God alone. It is no weakness to depend on God.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.