It’s 4:13 am. Couldn’t sleep.Events of the day were swarming, robbing me of peace. Each problem was being rehashed in my mind and I would attempt to find a solution or allow the emotion to consume me. After about an hour of this cyclical event, I began to hear the words of an old song:
Think about His love
Think about His goodness
Think about His grace that brought us through
For as high as the heavens above
So great is the measure of our Father’s love
These song lyrics invaded my pondering and fears. The reality of His love, goodness and grace transformed me into a new place of faith. He is enough. His love covers a multitude of sin, weaknesses and failures. His grace is sufficient in our weakness. His love changes, alters and secures us in a new place of favor and righteousness despite our failures.
In late September, I was driving home from working out and I felt the spirit of God speak to me as I was driving down the road. I had experienced yet another tough day at work. I have a job that requires a lot of me. It demands more than I knew I had and never relinquishes. I am constantly being faced with new problems that I fail in my own understanding or training to know how to fix. My job requires Jesus every second. I need His grace to deal with people, solve problems, meet deadlines and generate revenue. I make mistakes constantly and I am finding my inability or ineptitude a stumbling block. I want to be brilliant, loved and adored. I want everyone to like me and dote on me. When I am not in constant favor, I wear it as a shroud and crumble at the pressure. I take it too seriously and spend too much time lamenting my failure. So, here I am trying to process yet another failure at work and God tells me to record my voice on my iPhone.
At 9:08 pm on Sept. 27, 2012, God spoke these words to me:
“I delight in what I can’t change. I delight in what I can’t see. I delight in what I can’t fix because I can’t get in the way. I can’t make my way. I can only trust in the way, the truth, the life.”
At 9:10, I recorded the next phase of revelation:
“I delight in what I don’t know. I take pleasure in my weakness. I revel in my faults. It’s ok that I don’t know. It’s ok that I need to learn and ask questions. It’s ok that I make mistakes. Because I will grow, evolve, and expand. I will build relationships in the process. I will be truthful, vulnerable, honest and open. In the end, I will be different and my world will be different around me. The people I know will be better for it. It’s ok that I don’t know because I delight in my weakness. In my weakness, God is His strongest. He takes pleasure in what I cannot do and He becomes what I cannot be. So, the weaker I am, the stronger I am. I delight in my weakness.”
At 9:14, God finishes His thought:
“The change I want to see in this world starts with me. It starts with my decisions to walk in integrity. The world is not impressed with my good behavior, my abstaining from sin. What makes change happen, what opens eyes, what gets people to pay attention is when people, in the heat of battle, choose to walk in love. When our flesh rises and wants to defend or retaliate, we choose love. We choose to put the other person before ourselves. Our need to prove and flaunt is swallowed in the necessity to love. This is what changes hearts. When we seek to be better at all costs or when we take responsibility for our actions, we are walking in love. When we take criticism or reach out to others to offer our services as a gift, we walk in love. A leader is a servant. A Christian leader is someone who trusts God to be their everything in the heat of the moment. Even when warring, demanding or battling seems the best way to “win”, God’s way is always love. It is to wait, surrender, let go and watch Him be integrity for you. That is strength in your weakness. That is shutting up and not settling for your flesh to rule but allowing your spirit to WIN.”
I listened to these words today with my dear friend Aleasha and allowed them to wash over me. They literally wiped the tears from my eyes and became a warm blanket of truth that reached into my innermost and rearranged me. My mind was renewed to the reality that weakness is beautiful and precious to God. It allows Him to be the King and savior of our lives. He gets to be daddy. He gets to repair and bind our broken heart. He gets to create in us renewed vigor and strength to continue. He leads us into a new capacity of faith and action that transcends our abilities, strengths and talents. He becomes what we cannot be in all capacities. He becomes an interchange with a client or meets an impossible deadline. He becomes the fight with the spouse, the lawsuit, the tough chat with a family member, friend or co-worker. He becomes a strategy to get out of debt or gifts you with a long awaited prayer request. Today, I learned to celebrate my failure; to relish my inability. I get to allow my Father to create in me a new reality. I get to be changed from the inside-out. That change will empower those around me. As I am changed, my world changes. Those around me see that my change is not because of my holiness or efforts but simply the result of a God who loves me enough to change me.
Weakness is not an embarrassment or something that needs to be hid. It is meant to be celebrated and shared because Jesus is glorified. He gets to be the God who created the universe. Creator God gets to create in me a new woman of faith, accomplishment and vision.
Today, I immediately felt as Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. I was fighting today. I felt paralyzed by my failure. Here is a recap of what God spoke to Paul following several requests for the “thorn in the flesh” to be removed:
9. But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
10. So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak, then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).
Paul was struggling. He was wrestling with anguish and despair or dare I say, depression. Maybe he was afflicted with a sickness. The thorn is not specified but we know that it was an attack that can be likened to attacks we feel daily. Events arise from either outside forces or from our own doings, yet they mean to kill, steal and destroy. However, in the midst of this painful attack and Paul’s constant pleas for rescue, God replies “My grace is sufficient.” God did not want Paul to wallow in His suffering and take it like a man. God wanted to infuse Paul with a renewed sense of strength, ability and power to do more than ever before. His weakness is only an opportunity to be more dynamic and effective. The weaker I am, the less I try to make my way of escape. God is glorified as I am strengthened by His grace. I am then changed and brought to a new level of ability. Now, I can glory in what I cannot change, do or fix. I can glory in what I do not know. It’s a chance to see His grace interrupt my wallowing and place my feet on solid ground. He works in me a new reality.
God does not ask us to revel in our depravity but receive Him as our escape, our sufficiency. Trouble, weakness or failure is to be relished because we will see God be explosive. I welcome Him, I invite Him into my failure. When a thorn buffets your flesh, God wants to turn your eyes from your trouble to our savior who conquered death with the phrase “It is finished.”
Here is my prayer. Feel free to adopt it as your own.
God, I failed today. I hurt today. I made a lot of mistakes. I need you to be what I cannot be. I need you to help me to forgive myself and give me joy. I need you to tell me, show me your love. Help me to love myself. Help me to love you. I want your love to change me. Make me into who you want me to be. I need you more than ever before. I cannot do this life one more second without you. Your strength is perfected in my weakness. I exchange my way of doing for your way of done. Fix this mess I made and put me back on solid ground. I love you Jesus. Wrap your arms around me. Make me new.
Think about His love. Think about His goodness. You are meant to lavishly abound in God’s grace. Lift your head to the hills. Your help comes from above. He is the lifter of your head. God is for you. Receive His love. Let it change you.
Great is the measure of our Father’s love.