Is Man’s Weakness And Impotence Appeal For Divine Help?
Man, among the creatures, is much like a tender child. His strength originates in his weakness and his power in his impotence. It is on account of this want of strength and power that the whole of creation has been subjugated to him. If, therefore, man perceives his weakness and becomes a humble servant to God through his prayer, verbal and active, if he recognizes his impotence and seeks God’s help, he will then have fulfilled the obligation of gratitude for the subjugation of nature to him. Besides, God will enable him to reach his goal and achieve his aims in such a way that if it were left to his own powers he could not succeed in one hundredth of it. Sometimes he wrongly attributes to his own power and ability the attainment of a wish that has been obtained for him through the prayer offered by the tongue of his disposition.
Consider how great a source of power is the weakness of a chick, on account of which the mother hen will attack even a lion. Or how the weakness of a lion cub subjugates to itself so great a beast as the lioness which itself suffers hunger to feed its baby. How remarkable is the powerful appeal inherent in weakness, and what a spectacular manifestation of Compassion for importunate beings!
In the same way, a loved child obtains his goal through weeping, or simply wishing, or making a sad face, and can cause mighty persons to serve him. If, otherwise he relies upon his own strength, he could never realize even one-thousandth of this. On account of his weakness and powerlessness, in fact, feelings of affection and protection are so motivated in his favor that a single gesture of his hand may suffice for him to subjugate powerful persons to himself.
If a child like this becomes so arrogant as to deny the care and affection that is being shown to him and says, in accusation of the protection over him, “I do all this with my own power,” he will certainly deserve a slap. Similarly, man will also, deservedly, receive a punishment if he denies the mercy of his Creator towards him and accuses God’s wisdom in ingratitude for what Divine Mercy has bestowed upon him. Man will be punished if he attributes all of his achievements to his own power and knowledge.
This shows that man’s observed dominion in nature, his advancement and progress in civilization and technology, have not been realized solely through his own power, effort, and success. He largely owes them to his essential weakness and helplessness which attract divine aid; his poverty is the source of divine provision, his ignorance is made up for by divine inspiration; his need draws divine favors. Also, it is Divine Mercy and Affection, and Divine Wisdom, but not his own power and knowledge, which have empowered him with dominion over the rest of the creation, and have put things at his disposal. It is again the Divine Authority and Compassion which, alone, enable man, so weak as to be defeated by a blind scorpion and a footless snake, to dress in silk through a worm and to eat the honey of a stinging insect.
Since this is the truth, O man, renounce arrogance and do not put your trust in your self! Rather, affirm your impotence and weakness in the high presence of God by asking for His help and by praying and entreating Him. Declare your poverty and insufficiency, and show that you are His true servant.
Do not say, “I am nothing; what significance do I have that the All-Wise Creator should intentionally put the whole of the creation at my disposal and demand from me universal gratitude?”
You are indeed almost nothing with respect to your physical being. But concerning your duty or rank, you are an attentive observer of this magnificent universe, an eloquent tongue of beings declaring the Divine Wisdom, a perceptive student of this book of creation, an admiring overseer of the creatures that glorify God’s praise, and a respected master of worshipping beings.
My dear friend, man is indeed an insignificant particle; a poor creature and a weak animal as far as your physical being and incarnate soul are counted, and, therefore, you are being carried away by the huge waves of all creation. But if you are perfected through the light of belief, which comprises the radiance of divine love, you will find kingliness in your being a slave. You will find comprehensiveness in your particularity, a world in your small entity and a very high rank in your insignificance. Also, the realm of your supervision of the rest of the creation will be so broad that you can say, “My Compassionate Lord has made the world a home for me. He has given me the sun and the moon as lamps, spring as a bunch of roses, summer as a banquet of favors, and the animals as obedient servants. He has put the plants and vegetation at my disposal also, as ornaments and provisions to my home.”
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi