Friday, June 10, 2016

Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

Let me be candid. I cringe at the thought of showing weakness in the face of my pain (the irony isn't lost on me). It is not in my nature to show the severity of my trials, and I work to "shield" those around me from it. While there is some good intent (adding to the world's list of complaints is a disservice to my companions), I think the true issue lies with my pride. God has been convicting me lately about not showing my struggles to those around me. Complaint may not serve my companions, but neither can Christ's light shine through me as a living testimony if I hide the very trials through which He works in my life. 

I see people respond to the salutation, "How are you?" with an enthusiastic, "Fantastic!" I understand the importance of living in the knowledge of the reality of Christ's amazing work for us, and I congratulate those people on their ability to testify of that... but I have (almost) never been able to truthfully say, "I'm living the dream!"  

Isaiah 26:3 says, "The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You." When I keep my mind focused on God, His goodness and sovereignty, and thankfulness for it, I am content and in perfect peace. That peace is only marred by my chronic pain and various trials if I let it. There are, in fact, times when that peace can be enhanced by this physical pain God permitted within my body. 

But how can people see the good that the Lord does in my life through my weakness if I don't show my weakness? How can they understand the depth of His work, or the height of the mountain, so-to-speak, if they do not see the valley? There is also the flip side: how is God served when I'm not dealing well with the pain? In those moments that I lose patience with my child who is complaining about something far less difficult than my own suffering? In those moments when the peace of Christ escapes me because my mind in centered on myself rather than Him?

The truth is, I've reached my limit. My reservoir is empty, my strength spent. God has already taught me I should be relying upon His strength before I get to this point - and I think I am! - only to discover my level of reliance was elementary.  I've reached this point numerous times, but it always amazes me how little I actually tap into His Holy Spirit.  When my strength is completely spent, only then do I rely fully on Him. Only when I am too weak to put up the puny fight I have in me compared to His omnipotent power, will He supercede my boundaries and pour forth His power, His testimony, His grace through my frail form. 

It is a recognition of the power of the Holy Spirit in me to do what God has commanded of me: love.  I am too tired to help others, but the Holy Spirit has new life.  I have more love for myself than others, but the Holy Spirit can overcome my selfishness and sacrifice for others.  I have nothing left to give, but the Holy Spirit has everything to give.  It is only in the knowledge that I have nothing to offer that I can recognize the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit to work through me anyway.

As I struggle to understand what it looks like to live in humble weakness - not just before God, but before others - I am thankful for my weakness. I thank God for His sufficient grace to work His good will through my weakness, and His wisdom to teach me through it. What area are you weak in right now? How can your weakness testify of God's strength?

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