There is a story of a monk who would keep a baby picture of himself nearby, so that when he prayed, he would look to God and tell Him, “Lord, I am still this young child who can do nothing on his own.” This kind of complete reliance on our Heavenly Father is what He desires of us. Can I honestly look to God and tell Him that I can do nothing on my own, and that all I have is His?
The Gospel of last Sunday, the healing of the man born blind, ends with the following:
“And Jesus said, ‘For judgement I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains’” (John 9:39-41).
The word that Christ uses for ‘judgement’, κρίμα, in verse 39, refers to division. Who did Christ come to divide? Is this division based on how good I am? It does not depend on how good I am at all. It is based solely on whether I think I need healing from the Good Physician or not.
He comes to divide between those who know they need Him, and those who think they do not need Him. In reality, we all need Him. Do I think I am healthy, that I can see, that I am not blind? We all have sin, darkness, brokenness, and weakness. But because we don’t expose it, because we think that it doesn’t need to be healed, the sin remains. So what does reliance on God look like?
We see a beautiful example of total reliance of God in the life of one of the desert mothers, Amma Sarah. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers reads- “It was related of Amma Sarah that for thirteen years she waged warfare against the demon of fornication. She never prayed that the warfare would cease but she said ‘O God, give me strength.’ Once the spirit attacked her more insistently, reminding her of the vanities of this world. But she gave herself up to the fear of God and to asceticism and went up onto her little terrace to pray. Then the spirit of fornication appeared corporally to her and said, ‘Sarah, you have overcome me.’ But she said, “It is not I who have overcome you, but my master, Christ.’”
While the example may not be exactly relatable to our daily lives here in the world, her words encapsulate what it means to live a life that is pleasing to God. We can rely on God in every aspect of our lives by being in conversation with Him as our Friend. I can walk with Christ on the way to class, before I start an assignment, as I begin my service, when I’m hanging out with my friends. Being in conversation with Him allows our hearts to be drawn near to Him, and when our hearts are near to the source of Light, we realize just how much our hearts need healing. And the Gospels demonstrate time and time again that He accepts us with open arms and total restoration. The second we realize we need Him, He heals us, and He is ready to forgive and bring us to a level higher than we could have ever imagined.