When We Reach the End of Ourselves

     She always told me her problems, but one night she poured her every woe into my unsuspecting hands. I sat beside her, hoping my presence was a comfort. Crying real tears, she gushed all the fear, problems, and pain she had been holding in all day.

     I prayed in my head, “Lord, the wisest people I know always say not to jump in and fix problems, so let me be a good listener and friend. Oh, and when I do speak, I really need You to speak through me, because I don’t know what to say. I don’t know.”

     She swiped at her tears with the back of her hand, smudging her dramatic black mascara. I rubbed her back and looked up at our mutual friend with confused and weary eyes. But neither of us had the words to fix her problems.

     I was at a loss; it was one of those moments that I can’t remember what I said because the Spirit took over. God answered my pleas by filling my heart with a healthy dose of soul-relating, heart-breaking, hands-reaching compassion.

     But what my troubled heart said over and over was:

     “I don’t know.”

     Knowledge is so comforting, isn’t it? We feel secure in our own stores of wisdom. Whenever we need to impress people or give advice, we just dig up the facts we have stored up in our memory banks.

     But in the messiest places, we don’t know what to do or say.

     When we reach the end of our own strength, our hearts become quiet enough to hear the Lord say, “I’ve got this.”

     I don’t have to know.

     It’s terrifying and reassuring at the same time. I don’t have to know what the diagnosis is. I don’t have to know how to fix her problems. I don’t have to know all the details of how to work it out. I don’t have to know what they’re going through. I don’t have to know the reasons why.

     Even when we don’t know, He does. God, who holds us through the what-ifs and the might-haves and the what-nows, is ready for anything that comes our way, so we don’t have to be.

     Our only hope, our only confidence, is in the Lord. If we can only reach the end of ourselves and stretch out our empty hands, hope blossoms.

     In a world that tells us to be independent, strong, and smart enough to out-argue the other guy, our quiet dependence on the Lord is beautiful and different.

     It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Because when we reach the end of ourselves, God is at work.



  1. This is beautiful, Madeline. Well done, and well said.��

  2. Beautifully written Madeline. I shared this with a friend of mine who is going through a rough time and she was incredibly blessed. Thank you and keep sharing!

    1. I am so humbled that the Holy Spirit used my words to minister to your friend. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lovely. Definitely a "do not delete" post.

    1. Aw! I hope the words keep speaking to you. :)


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