Last week I shared how the Lord responded to my question: what is my word for 2018? He said, what if I said the word was “weak”? Isaiah 55:8 reminds us that our thoughts are not His thoughts. How He views life here on earth is so much different from how we view things. Thinking through the faith + weak = strong equation can only be done through His grace and His eyes.
Dependency is the key. Dependency is the state of relying or needing someone or something for aid, support or the like says Dictionary.com. Most of us work hard not to need to rely on anyone else. Paul cried out to Lord at least three times for his thorn to be removed–that thing that he had to accept that made him dependent on the Lord. One of the areas that Paul says he took pleasure in the insults that came his way ( 2 Corinthians 12:10).
After my husband Darryl suffered his debilitating stroke, I would have to take him to the grocery store. The number of times people stared, commented on how slow we were moving or seemingly made their life a few seconds more inconvenient surprised me. It should have been obvious to everyone (at least to me) that we were doing our best, but apparently it was not good enough. Darryl was dependent upon me to help him navigate the aisles, push the cart and monitor his strength level–plus find the things we needed! I wanted to shout to them, if you only knew where this man came from. How far God has restored his body, you would be marveling! This man re-learned how to walk and eat! Instead, they looked at the outer shell and ridiculed us with their impatient rolling of their eyes, their quiet under breath comments or even out-and-out “hurry up”. I spent a lot of time praying and forgiving others. To be fair, we also encountered some very helpful people who helped us as they could. I can admit it now as I see how the Lord used these times to humble me. Asking the doctor for a disability placard was difficult, but one day struggling with the shopping cart going one way, and trying to navigate Darryl to the car I had to cry “uncle” and ask for one. I struggled in accepting my once strong, active husband was now considered disabled. Humility doesn’t come easy sometimes. Darryl’s disability at this time was quite visible, easy to see. But what about weaknesses that we keep hidden? Lack of knowledge, insecurities, physical struggles–areas we may try to cover up with bragging, self-confidence rather than God confidence? It is freeing to say, “I don’t know.” “I need help in that area”. “I’m really not good at that”. To overcome those weaknesses, we may need to study, ask for help, practice till we get it–there are many different ways to strengthen our weaknesses, but we must admit they are there first.
Our culture does not celebrate weakness. We try to hide it. We disguise it, we pretend it does not exist. Paul says we are weak first, then we become strong as we learn to depend and rely on God’s strength. Care-giving reduces you to weakness. Yesterday on the radio, Family Talk by James Dobson interviewed Joni Earikson Tada and her husband Ken. (She was left a quadriplegic at 17 from a diving accident). They related a time when Ken admitted he felt trapped and unable to do the care-giving she needed. The first time he broached the subject, she responded, “how do you think I feel?” The second time several months later, she said “it is OK. We will figure this out.” They did. They drew closer together as a couple. Admitting his inability helped them find solutions for their problem.Ken had promised to take care of her as her husband, how difficult to admit he could not keep it up. I am sure his pride was dealt a big blow at this time.
When our pride keeps us from admitting there is a problem, we are trapped by it. The Lord and I are taking some time to look at my weaknesses. At first I was uncomfortable in the process. However, it has been freeing! He already knows them anyway. It is much easier to ask for His help in these areas first, rather than later. How about you? Have you asked the Lord to show you your weaknesses?
Courage up my friend. Ask Him. He is a gracious teacher and helper. We have not many times, because we ask not.