Meridian Star

February 7, 2013

Quiet Corner: Helplessness

By Virginia Dawkins / contributing writer
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —    “Helplessness is actually one of the greatest assets a human being can have.”

— Catherine Marshall, Beyond Ourselves


The first step toward recovery for many alcoholics and drug addicts has been the discovery that they are helpless without God’s intervention.

    The famous Twelve Step Program, which has helped millions of people, was established by hopeless alcoholics who came face to face with the fact that they, themselves, did not have the power to change their own lives.

    They prayerfully formed a plan for recovery beginning with these first steps: “We admitted that we were powerless over our problems — that our lives had become unmanageable. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.”

    Crisis often brings us face to face with helplessness. Crisis can end in tragedy, but it can also lead to freedom. Isn’t that the way our beloved America began? Courageous people came to a place of crisis and desperately searched for freedom. After visiting the replica of the first Mayflower, Catherine Marshall wrote: “They had to want to come in the most ardent way.”

    The Pilgrims were ardent in prayer. Through the years, our forefathers would be brought to their knees many times.

    For instance, in the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, when the Constitutional Convention was in crisis, Benjamin Franklin prodded his constituents:  "How has it happened that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illumine our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room. Our prayers were graciously answered … And have we not forgotten that Powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?"

    Thus, the Constitutional Convention waited upon God in prayer.

    George Washington also took his feelings of helplessness to God. It was his habit to begin and close each day with a time of prayer. He said, “No people can be bound to knowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency …”

    Today many Americans feel helpless because their homeland is in crisis; when so many of our freedoms are slowly disappearing, we feel powerless under the threat of “Big Government.”

    But helplessness is our greatest asset, if we will let it drive us back into submission to the Greater Power, the Invisible Hand, that Powerful Friend who hears our prayers and is able to heal our land.

    Virginia Dawkins’ stories and devotionals have been published in a series of Cup of Comfort books. She and her husband are life-long residents of Meridian. You may contact her at