Strength in Weakness

The past few weeks have been hard.  Without going into the gory details, I have been inundated with immense burdens at work due to others’ personal situations over which they have no control.  Doing my own work is hard enough, but having to do the work of three people, well, I think you get the picture.  I can’t say no, because it’s not right to turn one’s back on helping out when another is in distress.  What’s more, this all seems to be happening during a time of intense reflection and repurposing on my part.  It’s almost as if someone is saying, “No time to spend on yourself right now.  You need to take on everyone else’s problems and deal with them first.”

As a result of this, I have become beaten down, defeated, deflated.  On a physical level, I have been ill more this year than I have in the past three years combined!  On an emotional level, I have had moments of bitterness, anger and hostility that simply are not who I am.

Many days, the sound of my alarm in the morning would bring overwhelming feelings of dread of another day ahead.  Dreaming of a day to myself, I would wonder, “Who’s problems are I going to have to take on today?”  It’s exhausting.

In all of this, however, one thing that has not changed is spending time with God.  Each morning I have continued my practice of reading scripture and devotionals, mediating and praying.  Admittedly, of late, most mornings I haven’t felt like engaging in my ritual because, frankly, I was irritated with God.   I work hard, I’m honest, I do the right things in life. Why am I always the one getting dumped on, the one struggling, the one being taken for granted?  But I kept at it.  Reading the Word even though I didn’t feel like reading the Word.  Praying when it seemed as though I had no prayers in me.

And then it happened.  One morning I was drawn to 2 Cor. 12:10:  “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, them am I strong.”  Something about that Scripture spoke to me.  I realized that even though I was irritated with God, I never once felt like He wasn’t there with me, going through each any every trial with me, just like He promises.  When my alarm clock sounded every morning and I did not want to get out of bed, it wasn’t me who willed my feet to the floor, it was Him.  I didn’t have to be strong emotionally and physically to get through these days, because His strength became perfect in my weakness. My eyes were opened to this Truth and what it really means to have strength in weakness.  He loves me.  He is with me.  He got me through these days, and will continue walking with me on good days and bad.  These burdens have been turned into blessings, because I know, deep inside my “knower” that what He has taught me during this time is far better than what I could have learned in any time of ease and leisure.

Answered Prayer

Have you ever felt as though God does not hear your prayers? Jesus says “ask and it shall be given to you.”  So why do some prayers seemingly go unanswered? Well, they don’t.  God answers each and every prayer and petition, it just may be that the answer is “no,” or “not just yet.”   The more I get to know God, the more I know that He wants more for us than we could ever fathom in our own minds.

A parent will tell a child “no” in order to protect the child and keep him or her safe. The parent knows that a child crossing a busy street is a recipe for disaster.  The child wants to cross the street; the child thinks he or she can cross the street; the child will even fuss and scream because they want to cross the street, but the parent knows that the child shouldn’t cross the street.  In much the same way, God says “no” to us.  I may think I want a certain thing, or person, or situation in my life.  I may ever fuss and scream because I want it to happen so badly.  But God knows better.   I have come to trust Him without fail, and you know what? my life has become so much more peaceful as a result.  No longer do I fight against the “no’s” or “not yets.”  I trust in God’s perfect timing, and look forward to the time when I can look over the landscape of my life and clearly see how those answered prayers guided me through life and to the place I will call my forever home.