Today, before I sat down to write this post, I was out running errands and made a decision due to traffic to go through a parking lot I’ve avoided because of strong memories associated with Dominic.
I was suddenly overwhelmed by grief even after five years on this journey.
The tightness in my chest, tears in my eyes, empty sickness in the pit of my stomach washed over me anew.
Time absolutely does not heal a thing in child loss. It only enables me to develop skills for sublimating the horror enough to walk around among the spared.
But one thing IS better now than way back then: I’m quicker to lean into the strength and grace available to me through Christ Jesus. I’m not as resistant to the idea that my weakness is no impediment to God’s work in and through me.
I’ve stopped asking for relief and now ask for grace to bear up under the pain.
Today’s verses are taken from Paul’s pleading with God to take away what many believe to be a physical ailment-perhaps pain or weakness in his eyes-and God’s refusal to grant miraculous healing.
Three times I begged the Lord for it to leave me, but his reply has been, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. I can even enjoy weaknesses, suffering, privations, persecutions and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For my very weakness makes me strong in him.2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I can imagine Paul’s conversations with the Lord.
“You know I’m really on fire for You, Lord. Don’t you think I’d be in a better position to minister if You would take this pain away? It’s distracting and, well, painful! If You will heal me, I can focus on the work You’ve sent me to do. “
I know it’s dangerous to put words in God’s mouth but I imagine (based on Paul’s own account) that God answered something like this: “Paul, you don’t understand that part of the ministry I have for you is a demonstration that My strength is what sustains you. I don’t want there to be any doubt about where the power comes from. I’m not going to heal you but I will give you enough grace to bear up under this pain.”
I don’t think Paul really thought that was great idea-at least not at first. But as he continued to walk with the Lord and experience that sufficient grace, he saw God was absolutely right (no kidding!).
I can attest to this in my own life.
Before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I was afflicted with a number of health problems that forced me to admit I was not capable of meeting every obligation to and certainly not every expectation of those around me.
I didn’t like it one single bit.
As a self-proclaimed overachiever it hurt my pride to ask for help. But God’s grace eventually worked it’s way into my heart and I learned that physical weakness was truly an opportunity to proclaim God’s provision and sufficiency.
When Dom left us, I was struck down in a whole new way.
But the grace I had learned to rely on for the strength needed to endure physical pain proved more than sufficient for even this awful heartache.
It is still enough.
God’s strength IS perfected in my weakness.
Not that my weakness makes God perfect. Instead it is my weakness that makes God’s strength undeniably and unmistakably obvious.
When I choose to reveal my brokenness, unveil my weakness and testify to God’s sustaining and enabling grace, I proclaim His sovereignty, His sufficiency and His love.
- When have you had to admit weakness?
- How has God’s grace met you there?
- Do you sometimes try to hide your brokenness? Why or why not?
- Why do you think God is glorified when we allow others to see our weakness?
- Can you list specific instances when you felt too weak to continue and God’s grace enabled you to journey on?
Lord, my pride makes me loathe to admit my weaknesses and to reveal my brokenness. I would rather people think I’m strong and unbreakable. But that’s just not true.
Help me embrace my own limitations and turn to You for your limitless grace and mercy. Help me quickly acknowledge that it is Your Spirit that breathes life into my heart and soul and strengthens me to carry on.
Strip me of false pride and bravado that might conceal how very much I rely on You. Make my life an open declaration of Your sufficient grace.
You think, dear heart, that you are forgotten because of your nothingness and weakness and poverty. This is the very reason you are remembered.Spurgeon