For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:10
Recently, I was with a mission team in Guatemala in the most beautiful setting of tropical flowers, mountains, lush foliage, and cool temperatures. The surroundings couldn’t have been more pleasant. In directing the team, however, I became frustrated with the tiniest of logistical matters, and my annoyance began to build. I continued throughout the evening through dinner and meeting time, but alone in my room, the self-recriminations began. “Why wasn’t I more patient? Knowing that God was in control, why hadn’t I just relaxed?” And on the criticism continued.
Suddenly, but quietly, it seemed that God assured me that he was still in charge, and my frustration only ensured that I was not. My weakness reinforced my extreme need for God at every moment of my day, especially when I thought I was in control. My flaws highlighted my dependence on God for his grace, his mercy, and his strength. With that sweet reminder, peace returned.
Back home, in hearing about our trip, a sweet friend, Bob, gave me a sonnet that spoke deeply to my spirit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
The glorious revelations you’ve bestowed,
Ineffable displays of holy light,
Call forth my joyful praise in sheer delight,
A foretaste of my heavenly abode.
Then why this ceaseless thorn, this painful goad
Of Satan? Why not spare me pain, the blight
Of persecution, malice, danger’s fright?
From what strange stream of love have nettles flowed?
“Sufficient is my grace for you: indeed,
My power is perfected when you’re weak.
Will you for your own feeble prowess please,
When bankrupt weakness brings the strength you seek?”
Now insults, hardships, weakness are my song,
My joy: for when I’m weak, then am I strong.
(D. A. Carson. Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century)
Father, thank you for your regular reminders that you’re God and that we’re not. We live and move and have our being in you. AMEN.