Nouwen in his book ‘Reaching out’ speaks of our need to accept our powerlessness. To admit powerlessness means we acknowledge we do not have the events of our lives under control. We hold onto the illusion that we are masters of the universe and to admit powerlessness means we are admitting this is not so.

How many defences do we have in place to hide our powerlessness? How strong is our need to have safe control of our lives? How unstuck do we become when we cannot control what is happening to us, in us or around us?

Admitting how powerless we are is but one step towards healing. We then need to turn to God, admit our pain and how much it hurts to be so powerless and ask him to come and help us. Failure to turn to God leaves us in the pain of powerlessness and opens the door to being overwhelmed by despair and hopelessness. God, and God alone is our power, our refuge, our strong tower.

As I pray with people I am continually coming face to face with the pain of powerlessness. The pain is so great. And, whilever we look for ways to alleviate the pain ourselves we will remain stuck in powerlessness and its consequent pain. We need Jesus to take us back to the roots of our powerlessness and allow him to heal us at that wounded place. It’s something he loves to do.

(Adapted from: Neilsen, Mark. 2003. Renewed for life. Daily meditations from the works of Henri J. M. Nouwen. USA: Creative Communications for the Parish.)

Reaching Out
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