By Chris WittsWednesday 27 Nov 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
It seems to me that our world celebrates and champions strength,perfection and achievement every day. We live in a society that is competitive – think of athletics or business as just a few examples. No-one likes to think they are weak… Actually,we loathe weakness if we were really truthful. We like to think of ourselves as strong,secure,and capable people,managing our lives on our own.. and if anyone accuses us of being weak,we would be highly offended. But if we look at ourselves honestly and objectively,our weaknesses glare back at us. Although that appears from our perspective to be a dismal state of affairs,I like the amazing statement from Paul the apostle in 2 Corinthians 12:9 .This verse paints quite a different picture. It says that when we are weak,we actually have the potential to be strong. 2 Cor 12:9 God says through Paul : “My power shows up best in weak people” (Living Bible).How is it possible to be strong when we are weak? Does this really make any sense?
All of us have needs that we do not admit to ourselves if we can avoid it.. As Archbishop Joseph Bernardin of Chicago,once wrote,” If we are honest,we must admit that much of our time is spent pretending. But when we turn to God in prayer,we must present our real selves,candidly acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses and our total dependence on him” .I’m sure the Archbishop was correct in his observation. But I’d like to suggest it is in facing failure,inadequacy,weakness,and need,that really determines who we are. Too often we put a wall around ourselves which says ‘I am invincible. I’m not weak’. We have to give up the pretence and learn to embrace our weakness..
You may have heard of Joni Eareckson Tada an American Christian author and artist who back in 1967 became a quadriplegic when she dived into a river and this accident meant she is paralyzed and unable to care for herself. A strong young woman suddenly became weak,depending on others to care for her. She learned to paint by holding a paintbrush between her teeth. But this remarkable woman has a world wide ministry of bringing hope to other quadriplegics. In one of her books she said this .. “Honesty is always the best policy,but especially when you’re surrounded by a crowd of women in a restroom during a break at a Christian women’s conference. One woman,putting on lipstick,said,”Oh,Joni,you always look so together,so happy in your wheelchair. I wish that I had your joy!” Several women around her nodded. “How do you do it?” she asked as she capped her lipstick. “I don’t do it,” I said. “In fact,may I tell you honestly how I woke up this morning?” “This is an average day,” I breathed deeply. “After my husband,Ken,leaves for work at 6:00 A.M.,I’m alone until I hear the front door open at 7:00 A.M. That’s when a friend arrives to get me up. “While I listen to her make coffee,I pray,’Oh,Lord,my friend will soon give me a bath,get me dressed,sit me up in my chair,brush my hair and teeth,and send me out the door. I don’t have the strength to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I don’t have a smile to take into the day. But you do. May I have yours? God,I need you desperately.'” “So,what happens when your friend comes through the bedroom door?” one of them asked. “I turn my head toward her and give her a smile sent straight from heaven. It’s not mine. It’s God’s. And so,” I said,gesturing to my paralysed legs,”whatever joy you see today was hard won this morning. I have learned that the weaker we are,the more we need to lean on God; and the more we lean on God,the stronger we discover him to be.” It’s quite remarkable to see how God uses this lady in a powerful way in bringing challenge to others as they look at her broken body,restricted to a wheelchair,unable to move. But her name is known around the world.
” Hudson Taylor,the founder of the China Inland mission and the modern missionary movement,once said: “When God sought me out and called me to do His work in China,He must have said: ‘This man is weak enough,he will do.'” He later said “all God’s giants have been weak people”. The truth is that God loves to use weak people to work his life through and work His work through. Why? 1 Corinthians 1:27 “God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame”.
Henry Blackaby says,”If you feel weak,limited,or ordinary,then you are the best material through which God can work.”
Do you remember the Old Testament story of Gideon? Gideon led the army of Israel to defeat the Midianites who had invaded Israel with an army of 135,000. When God called Gideon to do this He didn’t pat Gideon on the back and say….Now Gideon you can do this…YOU must believe in yourself…YOU CAN DO THIS! No…in fact God commanded Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 to a mere 300. In so doing,Gideon was forced to trust in God…he was led from self-confidence to develop God-confidence. You see…You cannot be too small for God to use…but you can be too big. God always works in a powerful way in the lives of weak people.
I want to take this a step further with you tomorrow.