By Anthony Casperson
As I was thinking about what to write this week, I started to wonder if I should relate it to the holiday of America’s Independence Day. Since the Fourth of July was just this past Wednesday, it was a possibility. But my mind pushed against it shortly thereafter because it didn’t seem right for me to do so.
However, as time and events progressed this week, I was reminded of a couple of important happenings in my own life that occurred around this time in years past. There’s some relation between the two specific events, but the one that I’m going to talk about has its three-year anniversary today. (Well, technically, it was three years ago last night. But it happened so late in the night that its anniversary might as well be today.)
That event is one that I’ve written about before: my very first panic attack. The event that triggered weeks of daily panic attacks, months of ongoing panic attacks, and now years of living with the fact that excessive stress has the great possibility of creating more.
But it’s also the event that triggered several good changes in my life. First, and foremost among them, is that my doctor at the time suggested counseling. During those first few months following my panic attack, my counselor recommended having an outlet for the pastoral part of me. Without that guidance I never would have started this blog (even though a friend of mine [and then-pastor] had suggested the same thing a few months previous).
Although, before the website came to be, there was another outlet. The very first outlet I focused on became the fifth blog I posted here: Hope on a Rope. I came to realize, through the research for the writing, that hope is more than just expectation of future change. It’s something that we can have in our present. “Hope is standing confidently in the security of God and the surety of his steadfast love.” (Yeah, strange I know. I just quoted myself.)
That event three years ago allowed me to expand my definition of hope. My focus became growth in God instead of seeking the change (even though certain changes have happened). It was because of those heart-racing, world-spinning, breath-taking few hours three years ago that I learned hope is about dependence on God.
So, I celebrate today, not because of the pain and suffering that I endured three years ago, but because of the great good God has molded those events into. Today is my Dependence Day. The day that caused me to walk a path that showed me how to truly rely on God. I still fail. I still forget. But that’s the purpose of celebrating an anniversary: to remember.
I don’t know about those of you reading this blog. Have you had that moment of realization that taught you about dependence on God? Do you have your own Dependence Day where you can remember and celebrate the amazing things that he’s done in your life?
Or are you still in the midst of learning this lesson? Being in the midst of it is painful and difficult. It seems like things will always stay terrible, that hope is nothing but an illusion. But God, his love, and the things he wants us to learn are a sure place of security that we can confidently depend on.
Changes of life situation (even small ones) are nice, but they’re nothing in comparison to a life dependent on the God who sacrificed himself to showcase his love. Chase after him. He’s not hard to get.
And declare a Dependence Day.