Strength in Helplessness

I loved reading Hannah Whitall Smith’s words today in God is Enough. She describes us as instruments to be used in the hands of God. I love her analysis of that imagery because, as she says, “the moment resistance is felt in any tool, the moment it refuses to move just as the master wants, that moment, it becomes unfit for use.” She further writes this beautiful sentence about tools and instruments:

The strength of an instrument lies in its helplessness.

How wonderful to see ourselves helpless and pliable in the hands of God, flopping down into that great palm with nothing to give and nothing to contribute to the work God wants to do–except our surrender. We’re like a hammer or a saw that only works as intended when picked up and animated by the craftsman who made the tool and knows how to use it. He also knows the best use for a particular instrument, just like a musician who plays the right notes, in the right way, at the right time.

We stay helpless and pliable; He plays the tune and uses us in the manner for which we were made.


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