February 17, 2019
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
JER 17:5-8 PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6 1 COR 15:12, 16-20 LK 6:17, 20-26
“No help, Mama, I can do it myself…” my two-year-old whines at me at least once a day. In my mind I’m helping her, but in hers, she’s big enough to go it alone.
Even when it frustrates me (because can I just help her get the shoes on so that we can leave already?!?) I know in my heart that she gets that fierce independent streak from me.
As often as she’s told me “I can do it,” I’ve said the same to or about God. “I’ve got this.” “I can’t stop/rest, I’ve got to keep going.” “Who’s going to take care of this if I don’t?” I get so wrapped up in being THE MOM, especially the SPECIAL NEEDS MOM, that I forget to even ask God for help. I’m so certain in my own ability to slay every dragon and right every wrong, that I often don’t see a need for help at all. Because I’m capable, confident, and if I don’t do it, who will?
I sat in the pew this morning, all wrapped up in the cloak of my strength, when the first reading smacked me right upside my head. “Accursed be anyone who trusts in human beings, who relies on human strength and whose heart turns from Yahweh.” While I sat there stunned at the notion that in my own strength I had turned from God, I also knew instinctively that I had.
I knew that as I wade into the daily battle life places before me, I am so certain of my own ability to tackle them that it never occurs to me to ask God for His help or for His will to be done. In the struggles of my life, it doesn’t always feel like there’s time to pray, or that asking for guidance or help would allow a chink in the armor of protection that I’ve worked so hard to build around myself. If I allow a moment of not being the strongest person in the room, then I might just fall apart.
I may say that my strength is in the Lord, but I don’t often live that way. I live like my strength is in me. And as I sit here in the physical and mental weariness that are my constant companions, I know that’s because I’m drawing toughness from the wrong place. Accursed am I. Worn out am I. Exhausted am I.
My strength, then, resides not in being tough and bold, but in being weak, in being dependent, in being faithful, and in being His.