2 Corinthians 1:8 – “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” NKJV
I have experienced some incredibly traumatic things in life including the loss of someone dear. I have incurred tragedy, abandonment to the point I despaired of life, and the pronouncement that I had a malignancy. The experiences like those mentioned were incredibly painful and distressing but I know of no pain more debilitating than the feeling of helplessness. But, the most painful time of helplessness was when my sweet wife Bonnie was fighting for life in her battle against metastatic breast cancer. I know what it is to feel the pain of helplessness.
I have watched my children face struggles that I could not step in and resolve and for a man who was raised to fend for himself, face difficulties head-on, and handle whatever came his, way helplessness is murderous. You see the problem and know that within yourself you can do nothing. It is outside your ability, authority, or power. It is not dependent on what you do or do not do and may rest in the hands of others whom you cannot control.
Helplessness is as much a state of mind as anything, and it finds its roots in Fear and Trust or the lack of Trust. The state of mind that says, “Nothing I do will make a difference” is not only paralyzing it is destructive! It can and often does destroy relationships and faith. It stems from the idea that we, as individuals, must be in control and are the captains of our own ship and masters of our own fate. It, at its core, denies God although the person in that state of mind may be devout in their belief in God. It views life through the prism of self and becomes incapable of looking beyond the
Helplessness is a continual spiral downward into the abyss of hopelessness. If we find ourselves in a state of feeling helpless and hopeless, we have choices. We can continue our focus on self and circumstances and revel in the helplessness and hopelessness of the situation or condition or we can look beyond ourselves. I would contend that if we envision another can rectify our situation we are not in a state of helplessness. It is when we see no solution from our own ability or any outside source that Helplessness reigns. It is from that sense of helplessness that we become hopeless and despair of life. NO HOPE! NO HELP! Total despair rules.
It is when we look beyond ourselves or others and realize that with God Nothing is Impossible that helplessness and hopelessness begin to melt away from our minds. Our pathway to deliverance and victory may be tiny baby steps but the light at the end of the tunnel gradually transforms from a faint candle flicker to a brilliant floodlight. Hope begins to rise within, and that hope dispels the sense of helplessness.
The Serenity Prayer is applicable especially when our confidence is directed to the LORD our God:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Helplessness is a condition where we see ourselves as the final source of a solution. Hopefulness is where we see God as the final source of a solution. In a time of helplessness, we can either become hopeless or hopeful depending on where our look is focused. Psalm 121:1-2 gives the solution, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
I pray that God helps you to be free of Helplessness and walk, in Hopefulness for the remainder of your days!
God bless you as you go through this day!