In this article written for Inside Journal®, Prison Fellowship® editorial manager Maria Mallory White shares the power of the Gospel.
I remember when our oldest son received his first vaccines. I took him to the doctor's office. I carried him in and placed him on the table, while the doctor prepared the shot. My adorable baby boy just cooed and smiled up at me. He didn't even realize I was holding him down for the doctor to insert the needle.
So, it was a complete surprise to my baby when he felt pain.
I never left his side, but I did allow him to be pierced by a needle, despite knowing it would not feel good to him. His cries let me know that he did not understand. As a baby, he did not grasp that even though it hurt, it was for his own good. Even though it was painful, and he didn't like it, it would protect him from disease and help him grow healthy and strong.
As I hugged and consoled him afterward, I knew this was the first of many uncomfortable or painful encounters my son would not be able to understand or control. But as he calmed and soon forgot the shot, even falling asleep in my arms, I realized that through it all, he still trusted me.
THE QUEST FOR INDEPENDENCE
When we were infants, we relied on others for everything. But as we grew and got more capable, we longed for the independence of full-fledged adulthood.
When I was a kid, I remember I thought, I can't wait to get out of my mama's house so I can run my own life.
But let's be honest: Even when the years pass, and we're good and "grown," are we really in charge of our lives?
Even with our independence, we still have family, friends, and neighbors. Teachers, coaches, pastors, mentors. Bosses, coworkers. We interact with all of these folks—or some combination of them—and they shape who we are and who we become. We may be a little more independent, but we're still influenced.
As we get older, we decide just how much we let others influence our lives, for good or for bad. I'm probably not the only one who grew up with a mother who countered peer pressure with this old favorite: "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" Whether we wanted to admit it as a hard-headed teen or not, who or what we let influence us can make or break us—and even lead to our freedom or the loss of it.
So what does God have to say about our independence? While the Bible says we all need to act responsibly and carry our share of the load, we also need to take a page from the youngest among us.
In Matthew 18:3–4, Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." In other words, unless we learn how to be dependent on God, we will never experience life as He meant it to be lived.
A FATHER WORTH YOUR TRUST
When we trust in God, we become the children of a King (1 John 3:1). He knows what's best for us and fulfills His promise to provide for us. In return, He asks us to trust Him and follow His guidance.
In short, we don't run our own show anymore. We humble ourselves, which, according to one of my favorite preachers, means not that we think less of ourselves, but we think of ourselves less. We stop the "my way or the highway" approach in relationships. We stop making Frank Sinatra's biggest hit our theme song, "I did it myyyyy waaaaay!"
Why? Because if we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, not only does He forgive us for all that is past, but He also makes us brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17). And in Him we live and move and exist (Acts 17:28). That makes Him worthy of our absolute trust.
SAFE IN JESUS
Sometimes, it takes something traumatic to make us dependent on Christ. It can even be something uncomfortable or painful that our Heavenly Father allows to come our way—just to remind us we are not in control. In those moments, we must trust that even through the pain, we are safe in Jesus.
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