“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” - Romans 5:6
Have you ever been in a situation wherein you were totally and utterly helpless? Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you knew that you could do nothing to change the outcome? Have you? Have you ever been trapped in a moment when nothing you could do, say, or think would affect, effect, or even influence the conclusion? I think we have all been there at some point in our lives. If you have not already been in such a predicament, you will be someday. I promise. Why would I heap such a rotten sounding promise upon you, my friends? Well, because it is true.
Helplessness is a symptom of our human condition. In spite of all of our wonderful creativity, resourcefulness, and relentless ambition, we are really just a bunch of helpless beings, especially as it concerns the most important aspects of life and living (e.g., health, righteousness, holiness, and loving God and neighbor as much as we love ourselves). We are utterly helpless. When we realize it, and admit it, we can then cry out for someone or something to reach in and save us. Help us …
We are a proud people though. We don’t want to admit this helpless condition of ours, in spite of obvious facts that hang right in front of our faces. It takes us a long time to admit that we need to be rescued. Sometimes we never do admit it.
In the late 1800’s the word “Humanism” was used for the first time in the public sphere, and some would say it was first used in this manner right here in America. Humanism, for those who aren’t familiar with the term, points to a philosophical worldview that makes us - humanity - the center of the universe. We are not only capable of our own righteousness, according to humanism, but we can also build a utopia upon it. There is no God in this utopia, except for humanity. Humanity is its own god. That’s humanism in a nutshell. It sounded good in the late 1800’s. Humanists believed that we controlled our own destiny and we were riding a never-ending, upward moving course full of enlightened, self-centered, righteous potential.
Then we were introduced to WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and now the crisis in the Middle East.
So much for our enlightened, godless, potential-filled swing upward and onward forever! History is the humanist’s biggest hurdle. I’m not convinced that we â€“ human beings â€“ possess the sort of self-centered, inherent righteousness needed to actually walk a much higher road. We are more likely to blow each other up. If the humanist’s vision of humanity as inherently righteous and in control of it’s own good destiny is true, then what do you do with our obvious penchant for war and destruction? I won’t even mention our fondness for greed, oppression, exploitation, or any of those many, many “little” sins we commit against one another. So, much for onward and upward forever!
We are helpless because we instinctively lean away from God and God’s best plan for our lives and for the planet. We can’t help it! We are utterly helpless! So, yeah, each one of us have been in this utterly helpless state wherein we know what we are doing isn’t a part of God’s best plan for us, and we want to stop, but we keep doing it anyway. What sort of creature does this sort of thing? Thank God, Jesus Christ came and set us free. By him and through him we are rescued! God’s love sets us free. We are rescued because God reaches in, when we are most helpless, and rescues us from ourselves.