“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…’ “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10).
I’m not particularly fond of feeling weak. I prefer to feel in control, that the reins of the horse are firmly in my hands. I like to know I’m steering myself in the direction I want to go.
It’s an illusion, of course. Life happens, as they say, when we’re making plans. The marathon runner who experiences a heart attack understands this very well.
Ultimately, God is in control of life and circumstance despite the human penchant for deluding ourselves into thinking we’ve got the power. Human beings are completely dependent on God, whether we choose to submit or not. And God is no vending machine. He cannot be manipulated into doing our will. We can’t just put in a prayer to pull out a blessing. To know God is to love Him and to love God is to obey Him, not the other way around.
In all circumstances, we are to give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
As most of you know, my mind is hardly a steel trap; it’s more like a colander. Chunks of life stay with me, but the details run right out at the bottom. Indeed, there are holes, little ones, in my thinking and memory. It’s a daily reminder that I am not in control of my life.
MCI does not prevent me from functioning, but it does interfere to varying degrees, with how easily or how well I perform. It’s a weakness, a difficult circumstance that God has permitted in my life.
Take Bible Study Fellowship, the women’s group that meets monthly at my house. When I’m trying to teach the lesson, I find I have to backtrack constantly because I’ve forgotten where I was going. I forget what I’m saying as I’m saying it and end up stumbling over my own words while scrambling to remember. The result is that I repeat myself again and again. Even though the women in our group are patient and loving, It’s still a bit embarrassing.
That’s one of the reasons I’ll never be a speaker and why I strongly prefer writing. Blogging enables me to read and re-read what I’ve written, making corrections as I go and keeping myself on track. It does, however, take me all day to write a blog post. Gone are the days when I can complete a writing task in an hour or two.
But here’s God’s power at work in my weakness. While I grope my way through the Bible study by repetition, interruption, and disfluencies like ‘uh” and “um”, God’s message gets through. What He wants to say comes out, whether it is through my mouth or someone else’s. Sometimes it’s not at all what I’d planned to say and sometimes it is, but every time the group is edified, encouraged, and challenged to exercise faith through obedience. God’s grace proves sufficient every time.
And that, my friends, is why I crow about my weakness and difficulty, for when I am weak, then I am strong. My part is to persevere in the calling God has placed upon my life to lead and teach, his part the results. I am grateful for this thorny circumstance, because it has enabled me to trust and love Him even more. In the midst of struggles, I enter God’s rest.
It is the same for you. Concern yourself with obeying God in faith and leave the results to Him. Trust Him with your life and you will find rest for your soul. It is when you are weak that you will find He is strong and true.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
**Image via dreamstime.com