When the phone rang before 6:30 a.m. Monday, I knew my PCA was calling out. She had a serious family emergency that required her presence. I’d been without a regular PCA all weekend, and spent Sunday in bed to accommodate my girlfriend’s Mother’s Day schedule (I deeply appreciate her for filling in on Mother’s Day to keep me clean), so I felt a little disappointed Monday. It took until 10:30 to locate a backup PCA.
Usually, situations like this make me grumble. Since I can’t use my hands, being in bed means I can’t type or read. John has to call around for backup help because I can’t operate a phone. I just lie in bed, aware that I’m physically as helpless as a newborn baby.
Times when PCAs call out or just plain don’t show up remind me of my total dependence on other women. Instead of congratulating myself on my writing and artistic abilities, my days stuck in bed confront me with the actual extent of my disability.
Those confrontations are an answer to prayer.
Did that last sentence give you intellectual whiplash? Now that I have your attention, let’s stop playing violins and instead consider the truth that my physical helplessness is a great illustration of the spiritual helplessness that all human beings have. And that helplessness forces us to deal with our sin of pride.
Over the last few years, I’ve been praying daily about this sin that permeates my entire being. It’s the root of all my other sins, and often manifests itself in wrong attitudes toward John. Knowing that pride is the best way to torpedo both my marriage and my testimony for Christ, I’ve been confessing it and begging the Lord to help me walk in humility. Scripture convinces me that God desires humility in a Christian more than anything else.
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” ~~James 4:4-6 (NASB95)
We all want God’s grace, but we easily forget that He gives grace to those who humble themselves and admit their absolute dependence on Him. Americans, in particular, have been bred to cherish independence as our chief virtue, most likely in response to the Revolutionary War. It goes against our grain to think that we need any outside help, be it physical or spiritual. As a result, we can take offense to any suggestion that we need help.
Yet how can we experience God’s grace when we proudly insist on our independence? Just as I can’t type this blog unless someone comes in to get me out of bed each morning, so none of us can do anything apart from His grace. We may achieve worldly accomplishments, but we lie helpless to do anything for His kingdom.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. ~~John 15:1-5 (NASB95)
Being stuck in bed because a PCA can’t or doesn’t come isn’t fun, to be sure. Most of the time I find myself feeling frustrated that I’ve lost blogging and drawing time. But the Lord is helping me rejoice that my disability provides such a powerful illustration of humility. I’m thankful for those wonderful reminders of my total dependence on Him.