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By Rich Peterson, Church Relations

Total dependence happens to everyone who earnestly strives to live for Christ. It happens especially to those who are striving to live for Christ.

It happened to me the first time when, on a typical Wednesday evening before a prayer meeting in February 1990, the Chairman of Deacons announced that he had placed the church properties “for sale” on the open Real Estate market that morning. Over the following 18 months, I would personally experience this thing called dependence upon God.

It happened a second time on September 28, 1997, after having preached a sermon on the power of vision that very evening I would be accused of by a handful of Deacons of misguided leadership as Pastor. Over the next three months, the church’s Deacons and their wives would meet in closed-door, private meetings to determine my fate as their Lead Pastor. During the following 16 months, I would learn again what living in total dependence upon the Lord God meant.

It happened again on January 20, 2016, when I was informed that the Search Team needed to look beyond me and to someone else in their search for a new Lead Pastor. Over the nine months I served as Interim Pastor, I again felt the full weight of “first chair” leadership and learned again the meaning of living in total dependence upon the Lord Jesus.

It happened most recently last year when, on January 9, 2023, I was released from my position as Missions Pastor and told my position was no longer needed, and neither was I. Yet again, I found myself totally dependent on God.

The first time I thought God had become displeased with me and my ministry, it took a lot of love on His part for me to see that it wasn’t because He didn’t love me that He disciplined me—it was because He loved me so much.

Bruce Wilkinson describes the situation well: “Having dared to ask for an enlarged ministry, more than a few Christians have faltered at this point in their spiritual transformation. They’ve received blessings on a scale they hadn’t imagined possible. They’ve seen God stretch the limits of their influence and opportunities. But suddenly, the rush of wind under their wings stops. Helpless, they start to plummet.”

When Bruce began to share some of these feelings with a trusted older gentleman – he didn’t get very far before the kindly man broke in and said, “Son, that feeling you are running from is called dependence. It means that YOU ARE walking with the Lord Jesus.” Actually, he continued, “The second you’re not feeling dependent is the second you’ve backed away from truly living by faith.”

You mean that feeling that I just can’t do it, that feeling that I’m in way over my head, that feeling that there is no way I’m strong enough, clever enough, wise enough, smart enough to handle this—that feeling is what I’m supposed to be feeling?


It is a frightening yet wonderful truth that as God’s chosen people, we are expected to attempt great things for a great God – something so big that we’re sure to fail…UNLESS GOD STEPS IN.

This is truly living by faith.

Jabez was getting at this when he prayed, “Oh, that Your hand would be with me.”

It’s called dependence…

Discussion Questions: 

In the comments or on your social media, share the answer to the following question…

  • Where have you experienced dependence on God? What verses from the Bible gave you comfort?
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