People are struggling in the world today. Depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, heartbreak, financial problems, failures, the world economy in shambles, the list goes on and on. We’re realizing, especially as a nation, that these worldly comforts just don’t last. We are realizing that we just don’t have control over everything. And as individuals, when we get to rock bottom we realize that we don’t know what will happen today, tomorrow, or a week from now. We’re realizing that no matter how much control of our lives we think we have, we will continue to be surprised at where we find ourselves. Like John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while we’re making plans.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
I know from my own experience that as I lose everything, get lost depending on myself, realize how often I fail when I follow my own path, I can finally let go of the control I think I have and let God take over. And that’s exactly what He wants us to do.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
And because of these words, Paul said:
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9,12
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:30
The Bible talks a lot about Humility – The “modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance.”
We should be humble because we should be aware of our own weaknesses and God’s ultimate sovereignty.
We should be humble because God deserves all of the glory, honor and praise.
We should be humble because Jesus showed the utmost humility by leaving His place with the Father to live in this world as a man.
God wants us to be fully cognizant of our desperate need for our Savior, Jesus. The older I get, the more I realize that pride is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for people to come to Christ. After all, if you believe that you are good enough to get to God on your own, why would you need a savior?
But time and time again, God shows us through his Word that no matter what we do, no matter who we are, no matter how “good” and innocent we think we are, we just don’t come close to being worthy to stand before God.
There is no one righteous, not even one.
Meanwhile, this world praises the Self. We try to improve our self-esteem and find our Self. This identity-seeking can be a form of modern idolatry, because we are assuming that we can make it on our own and we put our efforts into building our broken ego. With time, experience, and practice we’ll eventually get to a place where we are aware of who we are, comfortable in our own skin.
But maybe what we need is a healthy dose of uncomfortable in our skin and unhappy of who we are without Christ.
This might be an unattractive concept for some. Why should we have to think badly of ourselves to get to Christ? Does that mean we should hate ourselves? Nope. We can love ourselves because God loves us and sent Jesus solely FOR us. We are on the receiving end of a love that we don’t deserve.
“Well maybe that’s the point, to reach the point of giving up.
‘Cause when I’m finally at rock bottom, that’s when I start looking up
and reaching out…”
As has been said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking less about yourself.” And therefore putting the focus back on our Creator. He holds the divine power, wisdom, knowledge, strength. He has control, what do I know?
“Lord, empty me of me so I can be filled with You.”
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Mark 2: 17
It is incredibly freeing to discover that I don’t need to try to depend on myself, because my attempts are futile. I don’t have the power, I don’t have the control, I am not strong enough to rule my life. I know that I will always fail miserably without God. Because God is the master of my fate, God is the captain of my soul.
“I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the mountains I can’t climb.”
But not only should we have a realistic estimate of our own importance and realize that we are nothing without God, we should come broken before God. We should be desperate for His love and grace. We should delight in our weakness and His strength. We shouldn’t try to keep up appearances and spend energy trying to look as if we have it all together, we should be unashamed to let go and let God.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.
Matthew 11: 28-29
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25
I’ve come to realize that brokenness is a blessing. Sometimes I am fearful of any type of “success” because I don’t trust myself not to keep my heart in check. I am human, I get distracted, I am tempted to build my own life up and follow what the world defines as success, I am “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the one I love.”
“The question of where to live and what to do is really insignificant to the question of how to keep the eyes of my heart focused on God.”
-Henri J. M. Nouwen
Whether God will keep me down in order to keep my eyes on Him, or whether He is preparing me for something great and is getting me to the place where I know how to handle it, I will praise Him in the storm.
These lines from Fall Apart by Josh Wilson put it perfectly:
‘Cause my whole world is caving in but I feel You now more than I did then.
Why in the world did I think I could
Only get to know You when my life was good?
When everything just falls in place
The easiest thing is to give You praise.
Now it all seems upside down…
‘Cause my whole world is caving in
But I feel You now more than I did then
How can I come to the end of me
And somehow still have all I need?
God, I want to know You more,
Maybe this is how it starts;
I find You when I fall apart.
Blessed are the ones who understand
We got nothing to bring but empty hands
Nothing to hide and nothing to prove
Our heartbreak brings us back to You
And it all seems upside down
I don’t know how long this will last,
I’m praying for the pain to pass.
But maybe this is the best thing
That has ever happened to me.
It is a blessing to be brought to our knees. It is a gift to get closer to God because our lives are in shambles. And as children of God, we can rest assured that though we may be facing the most difficult times we’ve ever faced, there is a purpose and there will be redemption.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.
1 Peter 4-10
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.