Being self-sufficient is a much sought after trait these days. Relationships fail, jobs end, parents divorce, and money runs out. Having our own accomplishments, our own trophies that we can point to give us a sense of pride and a confidence that whatever the world may throw at us we can handle it. We like to know that when all else fails, we can count on ourselves.
As encouraging as this awareness might be, its also wholly false. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we are the most frequent culprit of disappointed expectations. We’re never as good, or as nice, or as smart as we want to be. We all have our “D’oh!” Homer Simpson moments. Hopefully these moments are more about finding our remote control in the refrigerator than causing a rift in a relationship, but we all probably have plenty of both to fill a book. Being self-sufficient may seem like a nice ideal, but its an illusion.
Our accomplishments, our work, our achieved goals can no more be counted on during tough times to sustain us, than they could ensure that we would have continued success. When this is all stripped away, when our pride no longer can puff us up to such a degree that we walk on water all our own, what is left to depend on?
For the Christian, then answer is Jesus. And as often as we turn to Him when things are tough, the challenge is to have the same kind of reliance when things are good. While we are accomplishing those goals, reaching those dreams, and loving our relationships, do we daily sacrifice all of it to Him and acknowledge that even if everything is stripped away, we have all we need, because we have Him?
Jonah had to go to the bottom of the whale to learn this truth and even then the lesson didn’t stick. May we learn it while we are still atop dry land.