We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Some of us who grew up in dysfunctional families vowed to escape their downward pull. We may have become the “family hero,” the one who “was going to make it.” We set out believing in some formula for success, maybe even based on scriptural principles. We have told ourselves, “If I only do thus and such, I will have to be successful.” It feels very safe as long as our beliefs match with our experience.

Solomon relates, “I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. . . . It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy” (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12).

Life doesn’t always follow our rules or any other set of rules that might help us predict how things will happen. Even the truth of the Bible leaves room for a struggle between the forces of good and evil. There are times when we do our best, try our hardest to be good, and apply ourselves completely. But life still doesn’t work out the way we think it should. Our lives are interwoven with the lives of others in a world that isn’t always fair. Regardless of how hard we try, we cannot predict with certainty or guarantee the exact journey we will take through life.

This world grants only one guarantee—our powerlessness.

Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.