The Sideline

Two years ago, my son broke both bones in his right arm. I was the only one there with him on the playground when it happened. I had never seen anyone break a bone, but this was one of those times in which there was no question about it being broken. I immediately experienced a shift of dependence on the Spirit as I ran with his heavy body to the car and drove us to the hospital amidst my horror and his painful screaming in the back seat.

Humble Submission on the Sidelines

As the doctors attended to him at the hospital, I was required to “step aside.” Medical care is one area I know nothing about (except for dealing with scrapes and bruises at home), so I quickly got out of their way. While I waited, I knew that there was nothing at all I could do except pray. I was completely dependent.

I reflect back on this and recall the lack of struggle I felt in stepping aside to let God work, simply because I knew there was nothing I could do. As someone who admittedly likes a sense of control and struggles to maintain it, this is not a place where I spend a lot of time. Yet because of my awareness of my lack of medical skills, I didn’t even attempt to interfere.

How incredibly foolish I am to be willing to step aside when I have recognized my limitations in one situation, yet not recognize all the others in which I should do the same. I reflect on this today and wonder how many times I have missed these very opportunities to sideline myself, in faith, simply because I thought there was something I could do.

Prayerful Dependence: An Opportunity to See God Work

I’m not arguing here for an inactive Christian life. James reminds us that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). But I’m wondering how much more often we should get ourselves out of God’s way into a posture of faithful dependence and submission. How many more times might we be more valuable praying on the sidelines?

My son’s right arm is stronger today for having been broken. His tolerance for pain is a little higher. His sense of caution a little more sensitive. And his mom’s understanding that sometimes there’s a place for her on the sidelines has increased. He is better off today because I willingly stepped aside. Blessed are those around me when I am completely dependent on Him, because He will always do a better job than I can.

Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.

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