I Can Do Nothing on My Own


One morning I prayed, “Lord, I need you, but I don’t feel like I know Who You are. How can I walk with a stranger in this land of grief?” In my spirit, I heard God say, “If you want to know Me, get to know Jesus."


 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He Himself is doing. And greater works than these will He show Him, so that you may marvel…. I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 5:19-20, 30 ESV)


About a year after our son Mark’s death I continued to wrestle with how to reconcile God’s love with His sovereignty. Though the words on the pages of the Bible often looked like black marks on a white page, I knew there was no other place that could direct my thoughts or school my emotions. I started every day searching for hope in the Word, lamenting my need for Mark and begging God to break the ache in my soul. 

One morning I prayed, “Lord, I need You, but I don’t feel like I know Who You are. How can I walk with a stranger in this land of grief?” In my spirit, I heard God say, “If you want to know Me, get to know Jesus. Read the book of John and follow Jesus along the dusty roads of Galilee and watch Him interact with people.” I know, some of you are cringing at the thought of me saying I heard God speak to me. But please understand how much I needed to hear God’s voice speak truth and love into my broken heart. In my helplessness, I ran to Him, beating on His chest and begging for hope and comfort and He spoke through His Word and those quiet times with Him. 

Those intimate moments led me to camp out in the book of John. There I saw the humanity of Jesus, His tender love for broken people, His patience with His disciples, His compassion and own grief over the death of His friend, Lazarus. Repeatedly I heard Him say He could do nothing on His own. He depended on His Father to instruct and lead Him. He came to earth to do His Father’s will. Jesus’ response to the question of whose sin caused a man’s blindness, encouraged me with God’s sovereign love (John 9:1-3). 

Today’s Treasure resides in the middle of a description of Jesus interacting with the Pharisees, people who wanted to kill Him (John 5).  Confidence in His Father’s will shielded Him from their cruel and bitter criticism. In the middle of life happening, Jesus doesn’t fear His circumstances or their reaction to His work, because He knows He is about His Father’s business. He is depending on His Father to guide Him. 

Who is guiding you? Do you start your day acknowledging your helplessness without Him? If not, start your day with these words, “I can do nothing on my own, Father please guide me”. 


Oh Jesus, we need You, every hour, every minute we need You. Thank you for showing us how to run to You, our Father, whether the sun is shining or darkness covers our souls. Make Your words our mantra, “I can do nothing on My own. I seek not My own will, but the will of My Father.”

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