Facing Helplessness and Powerlessness
Questions to reflect as you read this post:
- Why are we often powerless to help or improve ourselves?
- Why does God’s Word (specifically Romans) define us as being helpless and powerless in our lives?
- Why does God allow or send frustrations, disappointments, and grief into our lives?
- How are we to respond to situations in our lives as followers of Christ in a manner than honors and worships Him?
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The Reality of our Situation: Genesis 3 The Curse
Why are we powerless to change situations and even ourselves? The truth is found in Genesis 3, specifically the rebellion. When Eve and Adam rebels against God, God pronounces a curse upon them and us. For a detailed explanation:
In summary, we rebel against God and He rightfully judges us. God curses Eve in the realms of child birth and relationships. God curses Adam in the realm of work and cultivation. God curses them both with death and separation from the Garden of Eden. Just like our ancestors, we too rebel against God–often on a daily basis. God’s Word (Romans 1-3) and the Prophets (Isaiah 53 for example) teaches us that we are fallen and sinful by nature and heritage. Why do I keep mentioning this truth? Because it’s vital!
Isaiah 53:4-6 BSB
4Surely He took on our infirmities
and carried our sorrows;
yet we considered Him stricken by God,
5But He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed.
6We all like sheep have gone astray,
each one has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid upon Him
the iniquity of us all.
The Good News of the Gospel!
We must understand the reality of our fallen nature apart from Christ! The Gospel is good news; but only for those who understand that God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness are essential! As long as we wrongly think that we can redeem ourselves, better organize or improve our lives, and do right (in ourselves) we will remain in darkness.
Why are family and work relationships often difficult and challenging? James tells us that our wrong motives, envy, jealousy, and greed cause turmoil and warfare.
James 4: 1-3 BSB A Warning against Pride
1What causes conflicts and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the passions at war within you? 2You crave what you do not have; you kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures.
No human can fully satisfy or complete your life! We look for love, meaning, purpose, and ultimately security in others. We also wrongly and foolishly seek satisfaction and purpose in our careers, relationships, health, finances, etc. Then we wonder why we are crushed with disappointments and failures!
God is on the move and reaching out to us
It when we realize that we’re helpless and truly powerless that we open our hearts to receive Christ. What if the reason God allows or brings difficulties into our lives is to draw us closer to Him and away from the idols and things we wrongly seek out? The worst thing that can happen to a soul is to remain deceived and separated from God’s grace, mercy, and redemption. I want you to carefully consider the following passages:
The Triumph of Faith Romans 5:1-5
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
3Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
Christ’s Sacrifice for the Ungodly–Romans 5:6-11
6For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him! 10For if, when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! 11Not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
God’s Marvelous Love and Grace!
When we are experiencing grief, frustrations, loss, and anxiety in our lives, God reminds us of our desperate need for Him. I don’t understand why God allows specific tragedies into my own life much less yours, but I know that He is working for our redemption and ultimate good. However, we must consider that God’s definition of good and purpose for our lives is different from our human desires. For a good article on this:
For example, we desire and seek to experience safety, comfort, and trouble-free moments and days. BUT, we become complacent, lazy, and self-centered when things go our way. Consequently, we foolishly increase our self-reliance and dependence. Have you considered that God perfectly loves us and consequently “upsets” and frustrates our plans and desires when they aren’t in accordance with His good for us? What if failures and frustrations are necessary for our redemption and God’s best for us?
Worship through our tears and fears
The Bible shows us examples of the faithful who worship God in hard times. Consider how that Abraham obeys God when God tells him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham worships by being obedient and trusting in God. Consider David when Nathan confronts him with his sin with Bathsheba. David mourns and worships God knowing that God will forgive him and have mercy. Recall how Jeremiah endures the great judgment and destruction of Jerusalem, yet professes God’s mercy, love, and compassion:
These are but a few examples! We can worship God even as our lives are difficult and sorrowful! Because God is Perfectly Good and hold us close, we can worship and give Him glory as our world collapses around us! Remember the wonderful truth that “because He lives I can face tomorrow” a wonderful hymn written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.
Because He Lives
Words of Caution
We need to be careful and discerning considering God’s ways and movements in our lives and others! God’s Ways are far above our ability to understand and fully recognize much less comprehend. Please consider this passage from Isaiah 55:6-8
6Seek the LORD while He may be found;
7Let the wicked man forsake his own way
and the unrighteous man his own thoughts;
let him return to the LORD,
that He may have compassion,
and to our God,
8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,”
9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
God invites us to repent and seek Him, yet we had better understand that God is Mysteriously Good! Our small, finite minds are limited and we need to remember this! Some guide lines that have helped me in this area:
- Don’t presume to fully know or understand why or what God is doing in my life or others. Be humble and stay within the boundaries of God’s Word. We err when we try to minimize other’s pain and explain the unknowable whys. I write about this https://wordpress.com/post/wordsofencouragementinchrist.com/770
- Often we encourage others best when we actively listen and serve others. Give the gift of presence and ministry without trying to explain the unknowable.
- Remember that faith transcends sight and understanding. We don’t have to fully understand to remain faithful and obedient to God. His Living Word and Holy Spirit convicts and guides us!
May God’s Mighty Grace, Compassion, and Mercy hold you close during your seasons of difficulty! For His glory and your edification, I write these articles