Strength in Weakness

I am vacationing in Ecuador with my good friend, Matt Baker, who I met at our orientation. It has been such a blessing to enjoy such great fellowship. While I am here I wanted to write more blogs, which have been delayed by eating and watching movies. I had this blog in mind during my time in the community this last trip.

I struggle. I am not good at being a Christian. I fight fear, guilt, and pride not to mention many other struggles with the flesh. In the communities with no place to hide this comes out clearly. I would have never admitted it but I had this attitude that by being a missionary I would be better and stronger able to stand firm against anything. All that really happened was that I realized I really never had any strength to begin with and my weaknesses were what ruled the day. There was no hiding from this. During this last trip in the first few days I found myself literally crying out to God in my despair as the circumstances seemed to have a choke hold leaving me with no confidence, desperate, drowning in the slough of despond. I was left weak with the knowledge that I could not do it and I was hoping to just survive the day.

“But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God;”

As emotions overwhelmed I was left with only the Word as a voice of reason. His Word became my refuge. Paul says in the twelfth chapter of the second letter to the Corinthians “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 of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Here lied my answer, the light revealing my hope in the darkness. Instead of denying my weaknesses and instead of running away from my inabilities I began to embrace them. I am human. I am depraved and selfish. I struggle with pride. At the end of the day left to myself I cannot, absolutely cannot do this. In this revelation I was without an option to shed my pride and beg for God to take over. I was at the end of my rope and for us proud creatures it is many times the best place to be. We can only turn to the Savior above.

When I finally admitted my weaknesses the strength of God was manifested and I slowly picked myself up and fought with courage in His strength knowing the whole time it was He who moved in me.

As light shines, it stands out the most in darkness. Christ says to Paul, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The glory of God reveals itself most powerfully and most beautifully in our weaknesses for man can see it was the hand of God the whole time. God’s power is made perfect in weakness because the truth of His Glory is revealed as our glory fades into the shadows.

How many times did God save Israel against an enemy that had more soldiers, more horses, more chariots? Israel was greatest when she was weak because God took joy in making His power perfect showing that He was the LORD and there was no other by His saving grace.

Paul learned the strength of weakness as he says, “For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak I am strong.” This is not a call to be lazy or to accept mediocrity, but the admission that besides the Holy Spirit we cannot by any means be good or do the LORD’s work by our strength. I have to throw my hands up and allow Christ to show His great power because at the end of the day I want to smile as I look back knowing for certain that it was His Hand all along.

I take the pleasure today seeing how God did the work with the Quechua. He stirred the heart of our man of peace all by Himself. I endured the work, the food, the uncomfortable conditions because I knew I could not do it on my own and I relied on His grace to carry me to the end. We hate being vulnerable. But it is in our vulnerability, our weaknesses, our inabilities that God can vividly show His Perfected Power. When I see His power perfected I have no claim on the glory that is rightfully His. In weakness I seek His strength making me stronger than anything I can do on my own. When I am weak, I am strong.

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