Joy in Weakness
As many of you know, Kathryn and I recently hosted a wonderful Christian family that we used to know in Atlanta. They are living in South Asia and making an impact for the Gospel through their work and their lives. In order to be certain that I am not exposing any security risks, I am not going to mention their names in a searchable blog such as this one, but I did want to write a few words of encouragement based upon one of my experiences in the time that they were in Greenwood.
One morning I woke up at 5:00 am and went on a run with the visiting father. It was 39 degrees outside, slightly drizzling, and the wind was blowing around 15 mph. It was not exactly the best conditions for a morning run, but my friend wanted to run, and so I was more than willing to share the experience with him and take advantage of a chance to talk and fellowship. As I asked him questions about his ministry one theme kept occurring in my friend’s responses: ‘Why Me?’
My friend stated (and I paraphrase), “As I look at how God is using me halfway across the world, I just can’t help but wonder why God decided to use me. I struggle to speak sometimes. I get nervous in front of any sort of crowd. I am incredibly introverted. I am the guy that finishes last, and yet God has chosen me to do incredible things for his name.”
I wanted to have a great response, but since my entire body felt like an exhausted ice cube that had been thrown into a puddle, I think I mumbled the word ‘oh’. Here was a guy that knows the Gospel. I need to hear confessions such as that one every day. My heart is constantly turning to pride and self-worth. My pride fools me into a false reality, when the true reality is that I fail God every day with both sins of omission and commission.
Yesterday, my daughter was in a bad mood because she had sinned, and had been held accountable for her sin. As I spoke these words to her, I could almost hear God reinforcing them to me. “Mary Laine, you know what the great thing about messing up is? It means that you are eligible to be saved by Jesus. If you were perfect you wouldn’t need Jesus, because you wouldn’t need a Savior. So when you are weak, and when you mess up, I want you to immediately turn to Jesus and thank him for His great love.”
We are loved by a great God, and this great God has decided to use broken vessels to fulfill His kingdom. The Bible is full of broken people making God’s name great. I would hope that anyone that claims Christ as their own would learn to take more joy in their weakness. We are all afflicted with different weaknesses, but God has also given us strengths to use for His kingdom. Imagine the impact we could have if we didn’t allow our weaknesses to paralyze us into inactivity and shame. Imagine the impact we could have in our communities if we used our strengths for the good of others and the glory of God.