By Bridgette O'Hare
I can bench press 200 pounds. I once punched out a guy with one shot. I am a champion arm wrestler. And my mind...my mind is sooo strong...I remember everything I see and hear
I’m sure you have already figured out...I am NONE of those things. What I am...is a note taker. I’d forget things if I weren’t. The catch is...I often will stick my notes in places and then forget them. Trust me; the irony isn’t lost on me. Anyway, just this morning I was thumbing through the pages of my Bible when I found some notes stuck between them. In the name of complete disclosure there are easily 30+ bulletins from church with as many notes as will fit scribbled on them stuck between the pages of my Bible. So finding notes isn’t that difficult...but this page of notes was different. It wasn’t a bulletin. It was a small 4x6 sheet torn from a notebook. There weren’t forty or more sentences penned to this piece of paper. No, there were literally five sentences written below a Bible passage that I had to look up again. What really struck me though was the following sentence.
The heart of prayer is weakness; strong people don’t tend to pray.
Ouch...now that’s a bit of a slap in the face. I have always thought of myself as a strong person. Not physically, like the things listed earlier, so much as mentally and emotionally. In my life, I’ve been through a lot and mentally/emotionally I’d say I’m pretty strong. But strength isn’t what God expects of us. Because when we are strong...we try to do things ourselves. We don’t rely on God for strength. I’m fairly certain that’s what I must have been thinking when I wrote those words down. Strong people don’t tend to pray.
There have been many times in my life that turmoil raged and I tried to handle it myself. Over and over I have learned that until I fall to my knees, broken before God, knowing that I can’t do it all myself...I won’t be able to do it at all. I am weak. My strength alone is not enough...ever. God wants us to see that. I Corinthians 1:27 tells us “...God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” That includes us...thinking we are mighty. Thinking we can do it alone. Then along comes God’s strength and puts our puny “might” to shame.
Personally, I have recently been dealing with some health issues. Something I have been fortunate enough in my life to never have to deal with. And I tried to handle it myself. I went to the doctor. I tried homeopathic remedies (which I prefer)...neither worked. Until one day, only a few days ago, I lost it!!! I was alone at home and I fell to my knees by my bed crying. I didn’t have to say a word aloud...God heard my heart crying out to him. Now, here I am, merely five days later and a remedy I had been trying previously suddenly is working. I gave it to God. I wasn’t strong enough on my own. Why didn’t I read II Corinthians 12:9-10 earlier?
“And He said to me (“me” being Paul), ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in my infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul was actually thankful for his persecution. Even though he had prayed God would remove his “thorn in the flesh” but God did not. He simple told Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
I thank God for my weakness. Without it, I would still be suffering in my own “strength.” It isn’t just about physical strength and weakness though. We suffer in hundreds of ways every day, ways that could be unbearable without God.
Hebrews 11:32-34 “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Sampson and Jepthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdues kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant on battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens”
So ask yourself...are you weak enough to let go and let God? For in weakness...we become strong. It isn’t until we recognize our own weakness that accompanies this flesh that we are able to find our strength in Christ.