Tuesday, June 13, 2006

God's strength in my weakness

There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

In reading these verses, I am reminded times that I've gotten into a jam in my life because of choices that I made and the consequences of those choices. Whether the problem was with finances, relationships, taking care of my body, or anything else, I was convinced that since I, in effect, set the chain of events into motion that got me to that point, it would be up to me to act upon more decisions to get myself out.

But guess what? In the area of life where I made the bad decisions, I was weak. If I weren't weak, I would have used better judgement and not be in such a mess. I was told by someone years ago, 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." Trying to fix my weaknesses on my own would likely result in more poor decisions, and being stuck with no "out" in sight.

If we could do everything perfectly on our own, why would we need God's grace? (oh no....here comes the "S" word again...)

By surrendering our weakness to God and asking for his help and letting God be the awesome God that he truly is, we can then attest to God's power in our lives. We can say to those around us, "I was weak in this area of my life, and couldn't change it on my own. When I allowed Jesus into my life I gave my weakness over to him. It's through His power and grace that this area has changed my life for the better. And it couldn't have happened any other way."

I don't know about you, but I'm actually thankful for my weaknesses. That opens up more opportunities to see God at work in my life!

Silent Prayer

A week or so ago, my Saturday study group's topic was on Praise for the Spirit - the discipline of Silence.

The study guide said that "For many of us the disciplines of silence and meditation are difficult for us to pursue. We want to complete a task - read through a book of the Bible, or pray through a list of needs. Sometimes, however, God wants us to simply come before him and hear his voice."

It had never occurred to me that silent prayer isn't simply praying without sound, like most people think it is. Rather, silent prayer is when we are silent and still before God. It's when we have poured ourselves out, come to Him as empty vessels, and have surrendered to His will.

We come to our Abba like a child nestled in daddy's lap, and receive rest in His loving arms.

We come to the Living God silent, as a patron of the arts, attending a symphony of grandeur, and leave His presence in awe of the sounds and textures blended to reveal the perfect creation of the composer.

We are silent as we come spiritually hungry, and our emptiness is filled through what Jesus gave on the cross, for we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Silent prayer is also an opportunity to allow the Holy spirit to intercede on our behalf when we do not know what to pray, or when we are so overwhelmed that all we can do is cry out, or when we are all cried out.

If prayer is the means by which we communicate with God, then silent prayer is an opportunity for God to answer us. Silence is golden. There are no words that can adequately describe being in God's presence when in silent prayer.


The Christian celebration of Epiphany is celebrated on or about January 6 every year. It commemorates the event of Jesus being acknowledged as the Messiah by the shepherds and the three Magi, when he was still an infant.

At my church, the kids have a tradition of making Epiphany stars out of metallic-colored cardboard, painting a different word on each star, and tying a ribbon through it to wear around your neck or hang on a wall. I decided that this year I would make an effort to live out whatever the word is on my star.

On Epiphany Sunday, 9-year-old Tyler proudly hands me a star that he had made himself. The word on it was "peace." Right away I thought, ok, how do I "do" peace?

Fast-forward to May. It seems as though for the past couple of weeks, God has put the word "surrender" on my mind and heart more than any other. It seems as though I've had an "a-ha!" moment, an epiphany, about surrender and peace. When two sides are in conflict, peace can most effectively be brought about when one side surrenders to the will of the other. (In the case where a compromise is agreed upon, both sides gain peace when each surrenders something.)

A-ha! If I am in a state of conflict in my private world, in order for me to have a sense of peace, I need to surrender fears, my conflicts, my self, daily (sometimes more frequently than that) to Jesus, the only one who can give me the peace that my soul craves.