There was a scene in a movie I watched a long time ago that I barely remember but feels like a picture of our life with God. I recall someone who couldn’t walk who fell out of their chair or wheel chair. The person caring for them refused to help him up. The disabled person cried for help, begged for help, and then cursed out the other because of their lack of help. I don’t remember the details, it’s a vague memory, but I recall the internal struggle of the one that refused to help. I recall the need for that disabled man to fight and to learn to do for himself. He needed to claw and struggle to fend for himself and to grow stronger. There was a point in his life or recovery where further assistance was a detriment. I think of a doting parent who runs and picks up their child every time he falls while he is learning to walk. Will the child ever learn to get up on his own, will he ever learn what it means to stand on his own.
I can write these words in moments of strength but there are many times when I wish and even plead for someone to rescue me. When I feel weak and exhausted and feel that there is no hope. When emotionally I feel as if I am clawing through a muddy jungle without the use of my legs, not sure of the direction I should go in, but knowing it is miles away. I don’t believe I can make it and I don’t know my way. It is those moments that I wonder why God does not carry me. Oh, I know the footprints poem and it may be true, but it sure doesn’t feel that way when an inch of movement requires every ounce of strength I have. When we are in desperate need, there is a pleading, a begging, and a rage against the lack of help we so desperately need. We long for a rescuer because we no longer believe the strength within us. Why would God abandon us? Somewhere in the depths of my soul I find some truth in that movie scene. That in order for us to be whole, we must learn to walk.
There is a need within us to have a sense of independence, strength, and the ability to affect our lives and the world around us. Psychologists call this a sense of agency. Just as our bodies will wither if we do not use them, our will and spirit will wither within us without a sense of agency. I feel that as painful as it is to claw our way through emotional hell, there is no other way to get back on our feet. We need people to cheer us on, support us, and perhaps even pull us to our feet, but there will always be vital periods of our lives where we must claw. It is best not to be alone in this, but the effort will be all ours. A savior is not likely to come during these times, but encouragement and love, look for them. The individual in that movie scene may not have been able to soak in the encouragement and love he was receiving because his focus was on the help he wanted rather than the support he was receiving. I feel the need to say again, I can say this now because I am currently not crawling. I know I will again, life has many challenges, and in those moments I will rage and cry, but my hope is that in the back of my mind, at the center of my heart I can cling to the truth that I am learning to walk. The reward is a strength and sense of agency I never knew I had. The reward is a life worth living, not a life of utter dependence on another. I believe in God, though He boggles my mind at times, and the only resolution I can come to in my life is that in order to help me to truly live, He must at times simply let me crawl, despite how desperately He may want to reach down and pick me up. I believe that He is a huge a believer in life, I think that He believes its worth it. That there are joys and triumphs that make the pain worth it. That the rewards outweigh the costs. That the most satisfying aspect of life, is who we become on the journey rather than what we achieve or accomplish. This is not a message for the desperate but for those about to crawl or those who are about to stand on wobbly knees. “Rise and rise again, till lambs become lions,” a line from the movie Robin Hood. What a feeling to emerge from the fold of sheep and let out your first roar, feeling the strength of a lion for the first time after thinking you were only a sheep.