In Our Weakness
Seasons come and go. Within those seasons are hidden treasures of opportunity and growth. I am in a season of God teaching me to not be afraid of my weakness, my lack, or the fact that at times I have no idea what I am doing.
He continues to remind me over and over that ‘He is with me’. I would have said before, that I knew He was with me. But did I really know? Week by week, day by day, I am gaining an experiential knowledge of ‘God with me,’ and not just head knowledge of that truth. As I studied passages in scripture about knowing God, the original language involves an experiential knowing, not just a logical knowing. So how do we come to really know who He is in our lives?
As humans, our first reaction in the face of insecurity, fear, lack, or weakness is to run away from those feelings and realities as far as we can. They make us uncomfortable. They make us feel out of control and unstable. We live in a society where we cannot show weakness. We must appear as though we have it all together and we gravitate towards anything that would give the appearance of safety and control. Where have we gone wrong? We miss out on so much life and adventure by playing within the limits of our natural abilities. By staying within a sphere of our own control. We miss out on knowing God in deeper ways.
As I sat waiting for my last flight home from Thunder Bay I pondered the great lessons I learned in the last week. This past week I had a chance to see how much I really believed God was with me. I was given a few speaking opportunities, one on a Thursday night and one on a Sunday morning. As I began to pray, I had a sense right away for the general message on the Sunday morning, and so that message began to take form. But as I continued to ask God what He wanted me to share for the Thursday evening, I was receiving nothing other than, ‘trust Me’. That sure didn’t help with my writing preparations. As the days grew closer I found myself reminding Him that Thursday comes before Sunday. But He didn’t seem too concerned about that.
I arrived in Thunder Bay and was asked if I knew yet what I would speak about on the Thursday night. Still no idea! I would have the odd moment of thinking I was out of my mind, wondering ‘what I have gotten myself into?’, as I pictured myself standing in front of a bunch of people with an hour to speak, and having nothing prepared. That is a recipe for disaster if you ever asked me. I kept repeating Psalm 34:5, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame.”
With a few spare hours to prepare before the evening meeting, I made my tea and headed to their guest room to seek God. Maybe the Lord had come up with a good idea by that time. I asked for a word and He gave me one all right, but it wasn’t a word I was anticipating. He said, ‘I don’t want you to prepare’. I think He forgot that I am new at this. Maybe a well-seasoned speaker could jump in with no preparations but I am not that. He wanted me to prepare, but not prepare in the way we would think of as preparation for keeping the attention of an audience for an hour. My preparation was to be worship and resting in Him. So I put on my worship music and did just that, and the peace of God was certainly with me.
Back to the question, how do we come to know God? Really know God in an experiential way? We stand in our weakness and our inadequacies, resisting the urge to run or to fill the painful gap with temporary pleasures. The greater the gap is between our lack and His fullness, the greater the display of God’s power in our lives.
For us to know God as our God of comfort it requires pain for Him to comfort us in. If we want to know God as provider it will require a place of lack for His provision to fill. If we want to know God as our counsellor we will have situations where human wisdom is not enough and only His divine guidance will help. We could go on and on. As we begin to view these difficult situations in our lives from the perspective of an opportunity to come to experientially know our God in a greater way, it will transform the way we do life.
“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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
So Thursday night I gave Him quite a gap. I allowed the Spirit of God to take hold of all that I am in order to life high the name of Jesus. And what was the result? People were touched, prophetic words were released, people were given courage to share deep pain and we were the body of Christ, loving each other beyond surface realities as together we turned our eyes to the King!