Our oldest son just turned 21. I know it’s hard to believe someone who looks so young could have a kid who’s 21 but it’s true. I am very proud of the man he has become, but that also means he doesn’t need us as much. He is quite independent. This is a good thing, in fact as parents it ought to be our goal. As they mature our kids should become less and less dependent upon us as they develop into competent, functioning members of society in their own right.
I think we have mistakenly assumed that our heavenly Father has the same goal. In reality becoming mature spiritually means recognizing more and more how completely dependent I am upon God. Actually, to be more accurate about my goal in raising our boys I would say it’s that they would become less dependent on me and learn to be more dependent on God.
We talk in our church circles about how Jesus will take a broken life and make it whole. What we miss in teaching that truth is that in our wholeness we’re not intended to become self-sufficient. In fact to maintain our wholeness we must continue to accept our brokenness. Even in heaven, though we will be made perfect, perfection will be in that we will recognize and embrace our perpetual, complete, and total neediness and exist in perfect dependence on God to meet that neediness and thereby be perpetually, completely, and totally whole.
It’s sort of like a person who has been diagnosed as bipolar. Bipolar disorder causes a person to have extreme and uncontrollable mood swing, sometimes resulting in dangerous behavior towards themselves and others. This disorder is controllable through drug treatment, but is incurable. If a person quits taking the drugs because that person feels like he or she is fine, the symptoms slowly return. Unfortunately the person often doesn’t believe they still need the drugs and end up fully consumed by the disorder again.
I expect that some of you reading this may resent that God would demand our dependence. But the way God created us is that in relationship with him all our needs would be satisfied. The resentment goes back to Satan’s challenge. He didn’t claim to be stronger than God, just that he didn’t need God; that he could be his own God. Trying to live out that claim, in him and in us, always leads to chaos and destruction. As long as you pursue Satan’s lie you will remain broken. As long as you acknowledge your brokenness Jesus will keep you whole.