"Make me thy fuel, flame of God." Amy Carmichael.
Gertrude Mueller Nelson, in her book, Here all dwell free, writes of a woman who broke both her arms, tripping over a dog. The woman describes how miserable and humiliated she feels at being totally dependent on others: "Can you imagine what it feels like to need my husband and my daughter to put on all my clothes; to need my husband to wipe my bottom? This is total reduction. But the most important thing I learned was how to be still!"
Being self-reliant is good. But being cocky in our sense of independence can lead to needless grief. We imagine that we are young, healthy, wealthy and intellectually superior. We need nothing and nobody. We can manage very well on our own. Then it happens, as in the case of the woman in the story: an accident, prolonged illness, financial losses, failing memory and weakening faculties. We are brought down on our knees. Suddenly we become helpless. From independence, we sink to dependence. We feel the pain of a crushing blow to body and spirit. In bed we lie vanquished and rue our proud and defiant ways.
Do we stay vanquished or rise from a seeming disaster to accept help gratefully? Do we turn to God in humility and accept our vulnerability, weakness and brokenness? The longer we resent the predicament, the more we suffer. Like the woman in the story, do we learn to remain still and let God work His wonders through helping hands around us? With good reason Maywood sang: "What are we without a helping hand?"
It is time that we and our children learned that giving generously and accepting graciously are two sides of the same coin.
Our children could face problems in their young lives and need help, just when they believe that they are invincible. Being top of the class, having a fan-following on the field, blessed with looks to turn heads and a tongue that is praised by admirers, they could have the world at their feet. 'Special kid! Wonder kid!' could be chants that fill their ears. Suddenly things go wrong and the child is confined to bed and imprisoned in a room, at the mercy of others. Will the child cope, accepting support and sustenance from others? Much will depend on how we teach the child to cope, and not feed on self-pity and despair.
A school in Chicago that was under threat of closure, sported a banner which read:
"Lord don't move our mountain; just give us the strength to climb".