I’ve always been a very independent man, perhaps a little stubborn as well. I want to do things on my own, my way, in my own time. I prefer independent work over group work. As a musician, I preferred being a solo pianist to playing in an ensemble. I’m not good at asking for or receiving help from others, especially with little things.
But Saturday I hurt my knee. I was unable to put any weight on my right leg from Saturday night to Monday afternoon without someone helping to bear the weight. I couldn’t straighten my leg past a certain point, and I couldn’t bend it either – it was pretty much stuck in one position with severe muscle pain on either side of bending. I was immobilized and in pain. I couldn’t walk on my own, sit on my own, stand on my own, shower on my own, use the restroom on my own… for two days, I lost my independence.
I thank God everyday for my wonderful wife. She was there every moment to take care of me, support me as I hobbled around, doing both the big and the little things for me, and looking after me as my leg healed. At times she felt helpless because she couldn’t take away my pain, and at times I felt humiliated because I couldn’t do simple things like put on my socks.
At the very least, this experience was a good lesson in my pride. How silly is it that I feel humiliated by being limited in my ability to perform little tasks? Of course I knew it was temporary and being injured shouldn’t cause me to be ashamed, but I’m human, I’m a proud man, and I felt more like a burden than anything else.
It sounds a bit like our relationships with God, doesn’t it? Look at me. I’m this broken sinful man, completely unable of doing anything good or right in and of myself, yet nonetheless I hate relying on anyone else. I’m full of selfishness, pride, envy, anger, but I don’t want anyone telling me these things. I want to do everything myself,yet because of my brokenness, even if I don’t acknowledge it, anything good that I do is really just God acting with and through me.
I’m terrible at relying on people. It makes me feel uncomfortable not doing things myself, not having control, letting someone else take over. With my bummed knee, my wife was the one putting my socks on, supporting my weight as I walk, and providing whatever I needed. I felt uncomfortable asking Nicole for help with things like standing up from a toilet, helping me in get in the shower, putting on my underwear, tying my shoes like a 3 year old.
But man, isn’t this the same thing in my life with Jesus… Sure I’m faithful in asking him to be in the big things – guide me in my career path, heal me when I’m sick, bless me on this exam I’m about to take. But what would it look like if I actually relied on Jesus the way I was forced to rely on Nicole this past weekend – total, utter, complete reliance, for every simple need?
What would it look like if, with everything I have and with all that I am, I utterly relied on God’s providence and mercy? Even the littlest things like having food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a roof over my head (like the majority of the world’s Christians do)? What does complete and utter trust and reliance on God even look like for this blessed young independent American man with a good family, a solid education, health insurance, a car, a bank account? Sure, I’m a student without an income and with accumulating student loan debt; but let’s be real, everything I could ever need is still available with a credit card and the click of a button. So, then, what does utter reliance on God look like for a modern American man like me?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)
About the Author
Kevin Cook is a 4th year student at Asbury Theological Seminary and an Aspirant for Ordination in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). After graduating, Kevin hopes to plant a contemporary three-streams Anglican Church. He and his wife Nicole attend Wilmore Anglican Church in Kentucky.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Business Administration from Florida State University. Kevin enjoys playing music and leading worship, reading fiction and spiritual classics, drinking coffee, and spending time with family and friends.
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