I Cannot Do This Alone

GodReflection: Talking with God.

Life is hard. Have you noticed? And life is good. Let’s never forget it. Satan bombards us with every dart, knife, and weapon at his disposal. God blesses us with sunshine, rain, protection, and open arms of care.

A highlight of my younger years was a coveted week of campfires, icy mountain streams, and well-worn creature trails in the Rocky Mountains. The trails led to the good of brook trout and rest by a warm fire after a day of delight in God’s good. To leave a trail was to risk a fall, an ankle sprain, or other bad results. The Eden fall reaches into our pristine mountains. Delight and danger are always in the balance.

God’s story describes Holy Creation as all good. Holy presence engulfed all existence. Then from beyond our comprehension, Satan appears and stains the good with his presence. God’s fix to remove the bad leads to Jesus, cross, and resurrection.

With Jesus’ ascension, we await his return to rid our earth of Satan’s presence. In the meantime, we need Holy Help to navigate life’s trail. Our hearts must connect with the Holy to walk safely.

Those Rocky Mountain weeks are a metaphor for my life’s walk. The ups and downs are hard. In the ups, I see the good and, on the downs, I sense the bad. Sharp rocks bring pain. Green meadows and cool streams bring comfort and delight.

Contrasts in our world are ever before us. God blesses with Medical Science—evil greed blocks the door of access. Good God gives harvest—Satan markets famine, hunger, and scarcity. God of good fills his world with abundance while Satan of Eden crouches in the dark valleys and awaits ambush.

On my first day entering a classroom as a new college student, I doubt it was possible to have been more unaware. Professor Gerald Kendrick opened his Bible, his mouth, his heart, and his mind and began to teach. It didn’t take long to see the passion that fueled the growth of his own soul. He dug deep and he shared his treasure with us.

It was in his classroom that I first heard the name, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Killed by Adolf Hitler only twenty years before, they had never met—still, I could tell they were friends. My teacher was learning German and was already a student of the life and Christian walk of this friend of God.

Bonhoeffer lived in conscious awareness of Holy Presence. Fortunately for us, he, his family, friends, and students recorded his thoughts and words over a short but impactful life. Listen as he talks with God and pleads for navigation guidance to live in the good while within a world of evil.

“O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray, and to concentrate my thoughts on you. I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness, but with you there is light.

I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience; I do not understand Your ways, but you know the way for me . . .

Restore me to liberty and enable me so to live now that I may answer before You and before me, Lord, whatever this day may bring, your name be praised. Amen” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

I am reminded of the concept of “closet prayer” mentioned in the previous post. Talks we have with God—so direct and private that no one else overhears. To read Bonhoeffer’s life story of trust in God, his church leadership, imprisonment, and execution is to enter the heart of a child of God who knows there is never a moment when life is not yoked to the Holy. “I cannot do this alone’’ are not just words they are synonymous with his dependence expressed through prayer with Father God. He lived in the good of God with acute awareness he was the target of Satan.

As we go through our day, let us be wise, and live in vigilance as Paul reminds us that we live in the good and the hard with Jesus present, confidently reassured we won’t be taken advantage of by Satan, because we are well aware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

Let’s join in prayer with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and all Jesus’ disciples throughout history as we pray and live the desire of our hearts, “I cannot do this alone.”

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection, I Cannot Do This Alone.




One thought on “I Cannot Do This Alone

  1. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’


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