By WALTER ALBRITTON
Years ago, I heard an unusual testimony by a man who was born with no arms. He said his mother dressed him until he was 4 years old. Then one morning she came into his room, laid his clothes on the bed, and said, “Dress yourself, son.” She walked out of the room and closed the door without another word.
The man said, “I pitched a fit, screamed and cried for hours, begging my Mama to help me. Then, using my feet, I got my clothes on and walked out of the room just in time for lunch. I was angry for days, never realizing until years later that it was one of the best things my Mama ever did for me. I learned that the day she told me that, while I was screaming, she was outside the door of my room, crying and praying.”
I recalled that painful life lesson while reading a devotional by Paul David Tripp in his book, “New Morning Mercies”. Tripp relates a lesson learned by another 4-year-old, his son. The situation was the exact opposite of the one shared by the man with no arms. Tripp’s boy did not want any help. He was desperate to be independent, strong and wise. As he fought Tripp’s parenting care, Tripp realized that the only way to help his son was to walk away and let the boy experience his weakness and finally ask for his dad’s help. So he walked away.
Soon the little fellow came walking down the hall, peeked around the corner, and said, “I can’t do it; I need your help.” Tripp uses that story to make the point that none of us was created for independent living. “We were created, to be dependent on God,” he said.
Because our sins leave us broken and weak, Tripp said, “we all need strength beyond our own and power we’ll never independently possess.” And the strength we need, every day of our lives, is the power of Jesus, which God in His mercy offers to all who ask for it.
Does Tripp’s story cancel the other story? Absolutely not. The man with no arms needed a mother who would insist that he learn to do what he could for himself. She needed the power of Jesus to make that painful decision. Her son needed the power of Jesus to live a meaningful life without arms. Fortunately, both found that power by trusting Jesus. Tripp needed that power to walk away from his son until he asked for help. His decision helped his son realize that no one can survive and thrive in this world without help, and especially the help of Jesus.
It could be that the best thing you and I can say when we arise each morning is this: “Lord Jesus, I need your help today.” And praise God, it is available!