Can dependence be empowering?

“‘Except you become as little children’ means unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father” (T-1.48.5:6). I’ve always appreciated this line, because it eschews the usual interpretation—that we should emulate the innocence of children—in favor of what Jesus probably originally meant—that we should emulate the dependence of children on their parents.

However, only recently have I applied this passage on a personal level. And this opened up for me a new issue: Am I comfortable in acknowledging my complete dependence on God? It initially didn’t feel comfortable. I like to feel that I am self-existing and self-sustaining, yet free to turn to God for help when I choose. The idea that my very being depends on God seems like a scary level of dependency.

As I thought about it, though, I realized that dependence can also be a good thing, if what you’re depending on is really there for you. I mean, we depend on the ground beneath our feet, and don’t think twice about that. We depend on people we trust, and that works if they are dependable. What is so bad, then, about depending on God, even completely? Can’t we trust Him?

Another problem with dependency, of course, is it can be disempowering. We become the weak ones leaning on the strong. This is clearly what the above passage is designed to counteract. It says when we are willing to acknowledge our complete dependence on God, then we discover our true power as His Son. See how neatly this takes care of our resistance! Total dependence equals total power.

So what I’m seeking now is feeling really good about this complete dependence, feeling safe in it, and feeling empowered by it. It’s a different way of looking at myself. But to the extent I can go there, I like it. Well, mostly!