Walking with my grandson the other day, we came to a patch of ice. With the independent determination of a two-year-old, he didn’t want my help. By his third fall, he looked at me, and said: “Help please!” It wasn’t until he recognized his own inability that he would ask for help.
Today’s passages all have an interesting central theme. Each addresses some aspect of our human helplessness, our inability to control life, and, consequently, our complete dependence on God.
In the Numbers passage, Israel brought gifts and sacrifices to open the way for God’s presence and blessing to abide in their camp. There was nothing they could do to make that happen, except to do their best and depend on God. Through David’s song, he knew that if life’s battles were going to be overcome, it would only happen because of who God is in relationship to us. The Luke passage has Mary and Joseph presenting a helpless baby and giving the poor family offering for him of two young pigeons. Two other people, Simeon and Anna, are people who had been humbly waiting, seeking out the fulfillment of the scriptures through his promised Messiah.
For David, to pray with this kind of vulnerability is to shape his past successes into a humble trust. Too often, I try to navigate life and its situations on my own power and refuse to accept the strong hand of God to guide me. Truth be told, it is often only after I have hit the ice a few times that I am reminded of God’s illimitable patience and interest in every part of my life. I’m also reminded that he patiently waits to offer his hand to us. Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “A human being’s highest achievement is to let God be able to help him.”
Father in heaven
Thank you for your strong hand and loving heart
Thank you for the sweetness of your presence that draws me close to you in every circumstance. Whether I recognize my need or not, you are there
Remind me to be vulnerable in my trust of your will, allow my wounds to become wisdom
There is no one like you
Written by siblings Ken DeMaere, Church Effectiveness Coach at the C&MA Western Canadian District, and Cyndie Baum, Instructor at Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary
Instructor at Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary