Another Myth Debunked!!!
Another Myth Debunked!!!
Psalm 121 (NIV)
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” ~ Genesis 1:18
As westerners, we are fond of talking about our own independence. And there is a bit of truth to that. There is the idea that in the old west at least it was necessary to be a little self-reliant. A person had to be able to build their own shelter, hunt for their food, find and store water, plant a garden in order to survive for any length of time here.
That spirit has followed us here. It has become a value for us. We value the person who can do a lot of different things—who is self-reliant and doesn’t have to wait on the repairman to get things working again. Many of us are that type of person. And yet sometimes we begin to believe the myth.
Sometimes we actually begin to believe that we can handle it all ourselves…that we really are a self-made person…that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
The psalmist knew better.
While it is not attributed to him directly, I like to think this is a Psalm of David. After all, despite the fact that he was a great warrior, his initial claim to fame came by an act of God’s grace. How else does a juvenile shepherd boy defeat a seasoned giant of a warrior in hand to hand combat? Or as Professor McGonnagall put it in the Harry Potter series when awarding Harry and Ron points for defeating the troll by “sheer dumb luck!”
And while we are always dependent on the grace of God in whatever we do, one of the ways that God has deigned to help us is by not allowing us to go this life alone
No, we can claim to be accomplished. We can claim to have done it all on our own. But none of us ever accomplishes much of anything by ourselves. God observed that it was not good for man to be alone. And while in context this is talking about the creation of the two genders – in a much broader sense it is also a recognition of our interdependence – the fact that all of us no matter how isolated we feel or want to be are dependent upon others in multiple ways. Or as John Donne wrote so eloquently:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
While I value the spirit of independence and self-reliance that I have been raised with, I hope I will never yield to the myth that I am totally independent. For it is not good for me…or you…or anyone else in all of creation to be alone.
Prayer: Lord God, I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in you. Thank you that I do not have to navigate this world alone, but that always I have You present with me- often in the form of these brothers and sisters. Allow us to acknowledge that need for one another, even as we acknowledge our need and dependence upon You. Amen
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran