Powerlessness and Purposefulness

Powerlessness and Purposefulness

The sense of helplessness or powerlessness during loss can be debilitating. This loss of control is not only an overpowering sense or feeling. It’s a reality. You don’t have control or power over death.

“No man has power…over the day of death…” Ecclesiastes 8:8

It has been said you don’t have control over what has happened to you, but you do have control over how you will respond to what has happened to you. I get to decide whether to be powerless or purposeful.

You can fight the loss. But it doesn’t change the loss. Paul learned in Acts 26:14, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” A goad is a stick with spikes or a spiked end. It was used to herd cattle. You would incur injury if you kicked at it. Herders would guide cattle with goads. They would gently goad the cattle. It became painful if the cattle kicked the goads. Paul, on the Damascus road, found that he was fighting God. He was kicking against the goads. God was lovingly goading or prodding Paul. Ironically, rebellion against God is equivalent to bringing injury to yourself. Kicking against the spikes only injures yourself. Further, fighting God reveals my absolute powerlessness.

“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11

Loss, therefore, provides an opportunity for growth. Loss ushers in a time for sanctification. It’s better to not kick against what God is doing through the loss. He is God, and you are not. Loss must be accepted and embraced. I have not enjoyed loss. I’m not happy about loss. But I am accepting loss and choosing to allow God to use it to bring growth in my life. He’s introducing a doorway to a new depth to my life.

It’s better to humbly accept loss and purposefully engage in the work of sanctification with fear and trembling. It’s better to acknowledge it is God who is working his will and working for his good pleasure. My role is to humbly face my loss without grumbling or disputing—easier said than done. My responsibility is to respond to my loss by seeking to be blameless and innocent in how I walk this unwanted journey. My role is to glorify him purposefully by seeking to shine as a light in this crooked and twisted generation.

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” Philippians 2:12-15


  1. Annette

    Thank you for continuing to be the shining light, we need it so now.

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks D.Ray. This is the hard part…that control thing…the hard part. He is God. Thank you

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you So Much D-Ray for your sharing!

    Since Michael went to be with the Lord last Nov, I’ve been really happy for him, (and my loss is quite different from yours I know,) but I have struggled unbelievably with the loss. He hadn’t been well for about seven years and needed more and more care.. So a GREAT release for him but I’m only just beginning to see above the pain and begin to LIVE towards Phil 3:12 beginning to DO what God has taken hold of me to do in this next season..

    It’s been the worst time of my life..

    BUT, your posts have been and are SO encouraging! Thank you for being wonderfully honest and open and always writing from that firm foundation on which you stand – Jesus our Messiah!!!

    Michael and I have known you and Kim, mainly through Deane and Roger….But the few times we met you both we felt a deep affinity with you, and I loved Kim.

    So every word you write has had immense meaning for me. God bless you.

    Shalom, shalom with love, Sarah McCrum

    • D. Ray

      Sarah, I am so sorry about your loss, and I understand the pain and hope. A future blog entry is called The Strange Mix of Grief and Grace. It’s real. As an aside, I have longed to visit Roger and Deane. I have missed them so much. Thank you for joining this journey.

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