When we’re 15 we dream of it. When we’re 16 we get a taste of it as we’re handed a license with our name. When we’re 18 we celebrate it. When we’re 21 we drink to it. And then we spend the next 6 or 7 decades doing whatever we can to keep it.
We value it greatly, hold onto it dearly, and fight for it fiercely. The thought of losing it terrifies us. It’s who we are and defines our value to the world.
But, the truth is that we are only independent like a toddler is independent. We can cry and scream out, “I’m a big girl!” or “I can do it by myself!” or “I don’t need any help!” but I think that sometimes that our Heavenly Father just laughs and shakes His head at us. He knows how much we need Him and how much He does for us even when we don’t.
In John 10:11-18 we are reminded that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. God could have described His people as graceful swans or strong, roaring lions. But, we are sheep, and we need our shepherd. Without Him we get lost and wander in our “independence”. Without Jesus we are in danger of being attacked.
But, we don’t have to live without Him. Actually, we are never living without Him. Whether we realize it or not, He is always there. We are totally dependent on Him whether we see it at any given moment or whether we’re living in denial.
And so, we have two options. We can continue to live in the dream world of our independence, or we can rest easy in our dependable Good Shepherd. We can keep on doing our own thing, going our own way, and making our own decisions – or we can listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd and follow His voice wherever He leads us. We can live in denial, or we can trust that Jesus is caring for us, providing for us, and protecting us every second of the day.
We would all like to think of ourselves as independent: That we can solve our own problems, handle our own issues, and take care of ourselves. Most of us have had that illusion shattered. When you’re in the hospital rooms with doctors and nurses invading your most personal spaces and your kids are making decisions for you – the illusion is gone. You are not independent. When you look at your finances and all you see is red – you need help. When your husband says he’s leaving or your kids won’t return your phone calls – you need someone you can depend on.
And, of course, there is one problem – the biggest problem – that none of us can solve independently: our sin. It’s consequences are too much for us. It’s weight crushes us. It’s price is way more than we can afford.
So praise God that we can depend on Him for that. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep. He valued you and your salvation even more than His own life. And if we can depend on Jesus to take care of our sin – what can’t we depend on Him for?
Maybe independence isn’t all that it’s made up to be.
You can check out my book “Growing Up: In, With, and Under Jesus” here on Amazon.