30 November – Ben Cornell, Hope Church
Whatever truths, philosophies of life, or best ways to live we could debate, one thing of which I can be fairly confident in this world, is that I am pretty much powerless. I wrestle with life, trying to get it to do what I want, but I can’t. It just won’t turn out my way! I am vulnerable, weak and subject to forces beyond my control. I can meet that uncomfortable state of being with anger, refusal, with pride, with fight, denial and self-assertion, clawing back a sense of power, the illusion of control to make me feel better about it.
Or I can meet it with humility and surrender, (and deep breaths), acknowledging my limits, my dependency upon other people, upon God, forgiving people when they block me, intentionally, thoughtlessly, or just because they have limits too.
Either of these options probably sounds repugnant to proponents of the other. The way of pride, so lauded in the world, seems to me to go badly, for the individual, and those over whom their struggle spills out. This is as true for the mighty like Putin and Trump shaping the world as far as they are able, to suit their own egos, as for the members of our own family, squabbling and maneuvering over small, everyday matters.
Pride is a false shield against vulnerability. It lies to us, telling us we are stronger than we are. But, it is a very popular coping strategy. However we respond to life, the proud and the humble alike remain vulnerable and powerless. There is no escape from that reality.
But there is real power in this world, power that is unimaginably strong, unimaginably gentle, embracing the humble and holding them – power that pride will break apart upon like pathetic waves upon an immovable rock.