We live in a culture that holds self-reliance in high regard…and there are many good things about that. Generally, people are able to accomplish much more than they believe they can. There are times, though, when self-reliance doesn’t cut it; times when we just can’t make it on our own power.
I find when I just can’t seem to make it work under my own strength, that I am reminded of my dependence on God. Many believe that faith in God is only for the weak – maybe they are right. But, I also believe they are missing the point: our moments of utter weakness are also when we are most aware of our condition — when we are most cognizant of our humanity. Our times of need remind us of our complete humanness.
I love the quote from the famous philosopher who said “I am no man, I am dynamite.” But there aremoments in our lives when we are acutely aware that we are indeed very human. These are the moments draw us together…and draw us to God. Sometimes it is illness, sometimes tragedy, sometimes just complete exhaustion from the trials of life, but in these instances we remember how much we need our neighbors and how dependent we are on the compassionate God who said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
I was listening to a song yesterday from one of my favorite Cincinnati bands, Over the Rhine. The song is titled “Only God Can Save Us Now” and was written about the lead singer’s experience getting to know the elderly people who lived in the same home with her mother under full-time care suffering from Alzheimer’s. The song artfully details the beauty and tragedy of these wonderfulpeople who have lost many of their faculties and a great deal of independence. I think the chorus echoes the thoughts that we all experience when we come face-to-face with our veritable humanity:
“Margie struck Geneva with her baby doll
Barb knocked off the medcart comin’ down the hall
Bob leads the congregation when he sings
How Now Brown Cow
Only God can save us now…
Who will save me
In the night?
When my time has come and it may be comin’ soon
Don’t mind me if you come to find me howlin’ at the moon
I’ll need a busy apron and a half-sedated crowd
Only God can save us now
A baby doll some chocolates and flowers made of silk
A clean room with a window and some Prozac in warm milk
And sneak us in some whiskey ’cause it’s prob’ly not allowed
Only God can save us now”