Is there anything worse than being unable to help in a situation?
I hate the expression, "Well, all we can do now is pray" on a number of levels. First of all, it makes it sound like prayer is only a last resort answer. Second, it means that we've too much confidence in our own abilities up until that point. But third, it means that we have to sit there with that helpless feeling, wondering what God will do or what someone else will do.
When Paul wrote, "For when I am weak, then I am strong," he was making a point about relying on God. That's a hard lesson to learn. I never feel weaker than when I am weak. Maybe it's the control freak in me. Maybe it's the societal upbringing to "be a man" and "do something." I'm really not sure. But I do know that being in the midst of a situation where I have no real power is really a killer.
Over the last ten years, I've known plenty of people who have watched their spouses die. Cancer, diabetes, and other killers rendered both victim and caregiver as unwilling participants -- like being strapped into a roller coaster, not knowing if there is an end to the ride. I don't envy any of those people. That was a horrible experience for each of them.
It's more complicated when other people are involved. There are many parents who raise their kids properly, but during the teenage years those kids reject the values of their family -- even the God of their family. No matter how many times they talk, the words hit a brick wall. Then comes the feelings of guilt and anger, even when it's unwarranted. I have my own set of fears about the years ahead of me when my kids hit that 18th birthday.
I am in the midst of a situation where pretty much all I can do is pray. And I feel weak. Prayer does help. But like a dog returning to his vomit (one of the most disgusting biblical references around) I seem to find myself returning to weakness. Worry. Sadness. Helplessness. Like having my hands tied.
God has been very good to me, and I know that he will see me through. My faith in Him is unshaken. But there's this lingering doubt that He won't take care of the situation in the way I want. Control issues.
"Lord, give me your strength in the midst of my weakness. Help me to understand that my hands just might be tied so I don't do something stupid and will rely on You instead. Chip away at my pride and my desires to handle it all myself. Place my unsteady feet on the Rock."