"If God were to take back His spirit and withdraw His breath, all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust." (Job 34:14-15, NLT) I have great kids and I’m so proud of them, but their ignorance regarding what it takes to sustain their lives baffles me at times. Over the years I’ve heard four self-righteous eight-year-olds tell me, “You make me do all your work around here. I have to do everything! I’m just your slave.” The first time I heard it I was mystified and angry and wanted to prove just how much I did for them—and how little they do for themselves. The last time I heard it, I laughed in resignation. How can they be completely oblivious to what I do for them? Thankfully as they mature, their awareness of what others are doing for them grows as well, and I get notes and comments of thanks and praise—giving me hope that I am not in the process of raising completely egotistical and entitled young adults.
This week as I was meditating on this verse in Job, I realized how much I am like my children. I am so unaware of all that God is doing around me to sustain me. My existence is hanging on His will, but I can go about my life thinking I’m in control of everything…thinking that I am the one doing everything. At times, I can rant like an eight-year-old about all the things that I need to do or that I have done for Him. At other times, I grasp the ways He is sustaining my life and I thank and praise Him for it. However, even in these thankful moments, I rarely realize just how dependent I am on Him.
These verses from Job aren’t describing a huge effort on God’s part—withholding His Spirit and breath—to completely end all life. He is all powerful, and we are so frail. Our existence is only by His loving will. Meditating on this truth gives me a desire to live in a way that my eyes and ears are open to all that He is doing in my life. I want to have an openness to being completely dependent on Him and not letting myself think that I am in control of anything. I want to sing praises of His constant sustaining power in my life.
Jesus was an amazing example to us in this. He gave up His self-reliance—true self-reliance—not our imagined self-reliance, and He submitted to being completely human. He submitted to being completely dependent on His Father for everything. And that was His testimony to the world. The world needs to see us living in complete acknowledgement of our dependence on Him.
Lord, open my eyes and ears to see Your sustaining power, minute by minute, breath by breath. Warmly in Christ, Joy McAuley
I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. (Psalm 121, NLT)
As you reflect on these verses, how open are you toward your dependence on God? Are you fighting against His control or are you resting in His sustenance?
In what ways big and small are you aware of His activity around you?
What would it look like in your life to open yourself more to acknowledging your dependence on Him? What practices can you put in your life to help you live in openness to His constant work in your life?