None of us likes the feeling of being helpless. We like to be in control – of ourselves and of our situations. We tend to be highly self-sufficient and trust in our own capacity to get things done. We make our own decisions, set our own schedules, and spend our own money. We don’t need to consult anyone, especially not God. After all, isn’t being independent what it means to be a responsible adult?
In previous blogs, we have looked at features of child-like faith, the kind of faith that Jesus said is required for entering the Kingdom of God. One of the important truths of life in the Kingdom that we need to understand from children is dependence on God.
A newborn baby can do nothing for herself, except maybe breathe, sleep and cry. She depends on her caregivers completely and totally. A baby cannot feed herself, change her own diapers, dress herself, or even move from one place to another. An infant, or even a young child, cannot thrive on her own.
John Bowlby is well known for his theory of attachment in children. He says that developing a close relationship with Mommy (or caregiver) is so necessary in the early years. Attachment provides a child with security, comfort and safety. Because of this, and the infant’s uncompromising need for protection, Bowlby insists that attachment is the single most important need of a child in the first year of life.
Similarly, being close to God is our number one need! When faced with the stark reality of my own inability, I feel helplessly overwhelmed. And certainly it is not comfortable to be so needy and unable. It does not feel nice. But that is the exact position where God wants me to stay — in a position of total dependence on Him.
“I cannot do this, Lord,” seems to be a common, desperate prayer of mine, often laden with doubts and fears. God has been telling me over and over, “Don’t worry; I have it covered.” My response? “That is really good, Lord, because I definitely do NOT!”
Dependence on God is a lesson that all of us have to learn, and one that we can learn from the faith of a child. Jesus would also be our example. Jesus, the very son of God, said that he speaks only what his Father speaks and does only what his Father is doing. He acknowledged, “I can do nothing” (John 5:19), and reminds us that apart from Him, “WE can do nothing!”