Often, it may seem that what actually determines whether we are in
good times or bad times is the status of our power. Can we do something
to effect the outcome of our situation? Do we have some say in
the decisions that affect our lives? Or, are our fates merely at the
whim of others who do hold the power?
It's interesting to notice how people relate to power:
Some avoid it, walking around it at a distance, wanting no part of
Some grab it and clutch it close to themselves guardedly.
Some wield it overhead like a huge weapon to enforce their way.
Some hold it like a woodcarver holds a tool used to craft a fine
piece of furniture.
Think for a moment of three individuals, each of whom is
holding a bloody knife. What comes to mind?
The first individual is a murderer who has just stabbed a victim.
The second individual is cooking a sumptuous beef stew.
The third individual is performing a life-giving surgery.
a powerful instrument in their hands. The difference is in how they
wield their power and the motivations that move them.
can transcend our sense of powerlessness through faith in God
who is all powerful.
By believing that God will somehow intervene.
By determining that God has called us to stand against a
By accepting our limitations as a form of humility and grace.
By discovering a source of power within ourselves that we
didn't know existed.
At one point in Pilgrim's Progress, Christian is locked away in a
dungeon at the mercy of a mean giant. He is demoralized and suicidal,
knowing that his fate is death-either at the hands of his captor or
by his own hand. Day after day he suffers this torment until he can
bear it no longer-and the giant is coming to finish him off. Suddenly,
Christian finds a key in his clothes that he had long forgotten. Providentially,
this key unlocks his cell and allows him to escape.
Each of us has a God-given key to our own special power, if we are
willing and courageous enough to find it. As Flora Slosson Wuellner
put it in her book, Prayer, Fear and our Powers: "When we reject
that part of ourselves which was meant to be our most radiant gift,
our deepest energy, we do, indeed, use those parts of ourselves as
instruments of destruction against ourselves and others. Perhaps there
is no more dangerous weapon than our own deep, unhealed, uncomforted,
unreleased inner gift."
The question of power eventually becomes this: Who are you serving?
Service transforms life and gives us a perspective that balances the
power struggles within:
If we are servants, then we have gifts with which to serve.
If we are servants, we hearken to an authority that gives us a
If we are servants, then we have joined the human community as
an equal-for we all need to be served.
If we are servants, then we have joined with Christ, who made
himself a servant to us.
Hear the teaching of Jesus:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with
you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your
servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as
the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give
his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28)
A Prayer of Submission to God
All powerful God, teach us to have the attitude of Christ Jesus, "Who,
being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something
to be grasped, but . . . taking the very nature of a servant . . .
humbled himself . . ." Save us from our fears that cause us to
shrink back from our own powers and to give too much power to others.
You have not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power,
of love and of self-discipline. Teach us to know our own powers and
to employ them in your service in our world, and in so doing, usher
in the reign of God. In Jesus' name, Amen.