Helpless Isn’t Hopeless (#546)

Wayne and Brad are back from their summer hiatus and as they sort through some listener email, they are asked about their own journeys and what God is doing in them at the moment. That spawns some conversation about embracing God's delight in us especially when we're not at our best, and learning the value of living helplessly in the Father's care instead of with an over-exaggerated view of our own abilities to fix the circumstances we hope to fix. Growing in our awareness of helplessness is not hopeless, especially when our hand is in the hand of the Father. In our own lives and in others, only God can work things out the way he desires.

Podcast Notes:
Wayne refers to this book again:  Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson
There are still a few more slots available if you want to join Brad and Wayne on their Trip to Israel
Add your voice to our question/comment line via Skype at "TheGodJourney"


  1. Wow…did I need to hear this…! Externals…carnal scales subverted into our favor. Could this be the whole of all the OT mentions of scales, weights, measures, etc.? Interesting thoughts to say the very least. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Something I wrote in the ‘Finding Church’ blog at Lifestream, that relates to what Brad said about the way God handles events, versus the way he would handle them, was based on an old ‘Barney Miller’ episode I watched several days ago. In it, one of the characters stated, ‘I believe there is a God. I don’t always agree with the way he does things….’. And in my reply, I said, in my more honest moments, that is exactly the way I feel as well.

    Wayne, about people not having the same start in life, I came across a poem which, to me, speaks exactly about that, in a way that is not only relatable, but hopeful…

    Lord, You see the hurts
    that countless children sustain every day :
    victims of famine, war and disease.
    You know the hearts of those who have been scarred
    by violence and abuse.

    Where earlier attachments were cruelly severed,
    or never allowed to develop,
    we ask You to grant special resilience and protection
    and to bathe each damaged soul
    in Your special light and love.

    May those of us who feel ourselves to be a failure
    resist the temptation to push ourselves to the limit
    in order to prove that we are acceptable.

    May we learn instead the restfulness of love,
    that yet enables much to be achieved.
    Where we, as adults,
    have failed to provide our children
    with the care and support they required,
    we confess our failings to You.
    Forgive us for the heavy price our children pay
    when we fail to address our own shortcomings
    and overcome our areas of woundedness.

    Make up ground that has been lost in their lives,
    especially in the lives of . . . and . . . we pray.

    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  3. Thanks so much for that prayer, Ron.
    I am between a daughter who was neglected/abused and a mother who was neglected as well. My mother lives six hours away, is 93, has extreme heart failure, and has just dislocated her shoulder and broken her arm. My daughter and I lost my husband/her dad just over a year ago. Our Abba in heaven has perfect timing and when we walk in step with Him, we do indeed have fellowship with each other!
    BTW, that last phrase reminds me so much about the promise to restore the years that the locust has consume. Thanks so much!

  4. Thanks for sharing this e conversation Ron and Lila. Aware of brokenness and processing in my own life. Blessigs, Sue

  5. You’re welcome, Lila.

    The Bible talks about generational curses. I do believe in those. I saw unrealized potential in my parents’ lives and see it in my own life and the lives of other members of my family as well. When someone says ‘just pull yourself up by your bootstraps’, to me it shows a lack of sensitivity. No child says when I grow up I’m going to be a drug addict, murderer, homeless, etc. They generally have a wonderment that allows them to aspire to greater things. But in many cases, the world gets the best of them and knocks them down.

    We can’t overcome the world in our own strength. We have to rely on Jesus, who said that He has overcome the world. The way we do that is rest in the Father’s love.

    • Thanks, Ron, for your input. It is very easy for those with a lot of resources just to see everyone’s struggle as a lack of commitment or work. They have a hard time realizing that we all don’t start at the same place. The Bible does talk about generational curses in the early part of the Old Testament, but God seems to correct that in Ezekiel 18. Our families and their failures can have a lot of impact on us in our formative years, but as I see it that has more to do with their example and broken responses to their children rather than a “generational curses” that they inherit from some kind demonic power. I find that a lot of the teaching turns people into victims of someone else’s past instead of beloved children that God wants to heal and restore out of their own renewing of the mind. I realize others see this differently but Ezekiel 18 seems to want point us another direction.

      • Wayne, thanks for bringing Ezekiel 18 to my attention. I guess I saw the curse in different terms than what was brought out there, not so much sinfulness and wickedness, but unrealized potential. What you said about not everyone having the same start in life reminds me of the phrase, ‘It’s not what you achieve in life, its what you overcome.’ I suspect many if us have had to overcome more than have been able to achieve, or at least in my case.

  6. Hi Ron,

    Your & Wayne’s comments about this intergenerational stuff reminded me of a little story someone told me: There was this dog who was hit by a car, lost function in its back legs, and had to walk from then on by dragging its back legs everywhere it went. This dog was pregnant when the accident happened, but the puppies survived and were born with perfectly good legs. As it turned out, when the puppies learnt to walk, they all dragged their back legs behind them just like their mum. In the end, a trainer had to be brought in to teach these pups how to walk.

    I guess it made me think that so often we find ourselves living out the brokenness that has been played out in front of us … and how can we learn to see or even comprehend a life free of that brokenness without another reference point? Not as simple as having 2 good legs and pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.

    I really liked the comment in the podcast that God’s joy is the opposite of shame: That the Father’s joy can be a new reference point in my life, even though I don’t realize it most of the time.

    Anyway, thanks for the conversation: it got me thinking.

    • What a great story, Caleb, and illustrates how I see this. It would be easy to understand why an outside observer might conclude that all the dogs had some kind of birth defect instead of realizing that they were simply following the example set for them.

  7. Wonderful discuss. Thanks Wayne for pointing us back to Ezekiel 18. That chapter is a prolog to what Christ did for us on the cross- taking away every ancestral curse. Thanks again because I ‘m presntly going through somethings that brought ancestral curse to mind.
    I wrote a mail to you & I’m still awaiting a reply. Please do.

  8. Thanks for your comments as well Caleb.

    In my dark moments I used to bemoan my condition, saying why do I have to work so hard, just to achieve normal. I worked a 12-step program for about 8 years, which helped me tremendously to gain insight on my situation, but didnt save me from a mental illness diagnosis and loss of employment years later, which again I recovered from and am now stabilized in both areas. It’s the hand I’ve been dealt. I’ve replaced some cards, made a better hand for sure, but there are others at the table that have better hands. But I know that is true for many others as well.

    I’ve looked into a little more about curses, there is actually a curse of potential where one has little successes that lead others to predict great things for them, but causes the person to hedge their bets and never realize fully what they could achieve.

    • Hi Ron,

      I can relate to the way you described the hand you’ve been dealt. It seems that like the wheat and the weeds growing together, we each have our share of good things and bad things… but I do like it the way Jesus came into our world with all its weeds, healing and restoring people, saying things like: “See what I am doing now, if you can. Hear me if you can: the Kingdom of God is near you.”

      • Thanks for your insight Caleb. Ironically enough, I was recently listening to an old God Journey podcast with Wayne’s friend, Tom Mohn, where he says if you don’t start with the Kingdom of God, you will get lost on this journey. Thanks.

  9. Resisting the temptation to join the generational curses debate…
    I have been living in the truth of my weaknesses for about 8 or 9 years and it has been liberating for me to realise that Father was never as interested in my performance as he was interested in me being me. Prior to that revelation to my heart I just felt beaten up because I didn’t measure up to the expectations I and others had put in place for my life.
    We are often described in the scriptures as a son, or a child, but we overlook the weakness inherent in those analogies and feel we have to grow up, take responsibility and mature, yet Jesus is content to be eternally known as “son” .
    Oh what a joy to be free of the burden of growing up and always resting in Father’s care.

    • The importance of children in the Kingdom is not lost on God. I’m thinking of two passages,, one being you must be like a child to enter the Kingdom, the other about it is better to have a millstone hung around your neck and thrown to the bottom of the sea, than to harm a child.

  10. Appreciate the ongoing discussion re helplessness and living as His children. Right at this moment, as I process w Him, it’s good to know others are thinking some of these things also.

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