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Strength in Weakness
by lynda ventura
2/11/2013 / Devotionals
It's Sunday morning. The sun is shining hazily through the blinds. I wake up, stretch and pry myself from my bed. It's that time once again to go to church. This is, for the most part, my favorite day of the week. I am usually focused on God and can't wait to serve Him. But today, I'm not so God-focused. I am "me-focused". I feel like a cracked eggshell as I walk through the door, as if someone were to breathe on me I'd crumble to the floor in a zillion pieces. But I smile and say hello making a beeline for my seat, avoiding conversation. I think to myself," How am I going to serve God and my brothers and sisters, when I've fallen so short?"
We try to follow God on a daily basis, but there are times we go off course. As humans, we tend to do that quite easily. Jesus refers to us as His sheep. "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own." John 10:14 What do sheep do? They wander around eating grass. They get so focused on eating grass that, were it not for the shepherd, they would wander into all sorts of trouble. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 Sheep are not strong, independent animals. They need guidance and a lot of care, so do we.
Guess what? If you and I feel weak, know that we are in good company. Let's look at a one of my favorite "weaklings" in God's word, Gideon.
"The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where Gideon his son was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you mighty warrior." Judges 6:11-12
So here's Gideon, he was hiding out in a winepress when the angel of the Lord called him a "mighty warrior". I bet he wasn't feeling to mighty at the time as he hid, threshing wheat in that ole winepress. I picture him there, threshing and looking back, threshing and looking back, just waiting for the enemy to come and overtake him. He likely felt afraid, doubtful, and ashamed. He had no confidence. Yet God saw something in Gideon that he didn't see in himself.
So God gave him a command. "Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" Judges 6:14 God wanted to use Gideon in a mighty way. Do you think Gideon responded by jumping to his feet and running off to battle? No, he didn't. Instead he responded the way many of us would probably respond. He reminded God of how incapable he thought he was. "So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." Judges 6:15 Gideon was basically saying to God, "Listen you have it all wrong, I can't do what you are asking me to do. I'm not strong enough."
But God chooses us, who are weak, to do the things He asks of us so that His power can be made manifest in us.
The secret to our strength is that God never sends us alone. Look at what he said to Gideon "And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." Judges 6:16 God himself is with us! "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." Gen 28:15
Once we have trusted in Christ, God gives us His Holy Spirit to help us. "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever John 14:16 Through the Holy Spirit, God resides with us. He works in us and through us to accomplish the good works He has prepared for each of us to do for His glory. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Eph 2:10
So although we may feel alone, we never are. "Jesus said, "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Matt 28:20b
So how do we respond to God when we are feeling weak? Listen to His words"And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.(our response could be) Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Cor 12:9 Or likewise, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2Cor. 12:10
Wait a second! Can we boast and take pleasurein our weakness? I have to admit, we don't always think of being happy about our shortcomings, but God's word is teaching us that we can be. Talk about having a good attitude! So if you're feeling weak, rejoice, as God's strength is being revealed in you. That is something to talk about!
So we can get up, go to church and instead of talking about the weather, or how good the pastry is, we can talk about the goodness of God! We can glory in our weakness and praise Him for His abiding presence with us as we go through the trials of life. We can serve Him with confidence, knowing in Christ, we have already won the battle.
Lyn Ventura is a Christian writer from New England. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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