Inverse Independence

Do you remember the first time you took public transport on your own? How old were you?

What about the first time your parents left you alone at home for a few hours? Or maybe even a few days?

As our relationship with our parents progresses, we gradually become more independent from them. Babies require supervision almost 24/7, so much so that sleep deprivation is part and parcel of every post-birth experience. As we learn more about the world around us, time away from our parents gets longer and longer. When we start going to school, we spend a few hours of each day without them, although with other adults around. As we mature, the extent of adult supervision decreases, and we are allowed to go out to the movies, malls, camps, trips, etc independently.

We may not think about it much, but our parents are, after all, preparing us for the inevitability of their earthly absence. Milestones such as passing driver’s license tests, going overseas for university, getting our first job are therefore proud moments in their parenting journey.

The opposite is true for our spiritual journey.

Our Heavenly Father is preparing us for the eternity of spending forever with Him. As such, the frequency of the time we spend with Him actually increases. He may cultivate this in us through trials and testing as difficult times cause us to turn to Him in prayer for answers and comfort.

In the early years, we may content ourselves with the weekly Lord’s day service. Then perhaps progressively see the need to seek our daily bread. Then “I need Thee every hour” and finally “Moment by moment”.

While our prideful selves may shirk at the thought of increased dependence on anything external, it is actually God’s way of reminding us to enjoy close fellowship with Him personally like Adam before the Fall or like what we will experience in heaven. It is easy to enjoy God in a beautiful sunset or the adorable smile of a newborn baby but without these temporal physical experiences, will we learn to enjoy God for His being alone?

Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages”. So, the next time you are going through a difficult challenge or if you are going through one now, remember that He is merely stripping away our natural inclination for self-reliance and encouraging us to 靠山 “kao san” (lean on a mountain) as we should do in all times whether prosperous or painful.