Thursday, November 4, 2010

When I Am Weak

This has been quite a week.  There have been accidents.  Pain has been expressed.  There was an outbreak of trouble among those I love.  Maybe that's why I haven't blogged since last Friday.  I'm fine physically, but this week has definitely been another time of trial--another test.

In an email I received the day before yesterday, a professional friend said,
"I would concur with your earlier observation that we are aligned against principles and principalities of evil in this world, and the battle rages on."
The battle, of course, is with sin and evil in the world and in my life and heart--and in your life and your heart.  More than one of these difficulties came upon me this week, and also friends and family members, not simply from "bad luck" but because of sinful stupidity.  The humiliations are only surpassed by the costs in pain and suffering and cash.  The worst is that, in more than one case, innocent bystanders were hurt.  I feel so guilty--and thankful for Jesus' love and grace, given at the cross for sinners like me.

Please pray that all who have been hurt by whatever means will be fully healed--physically, spiritually and emotionally, in the way and in the time chosen by God.

* * * * * * *

In any case, I this morning I was blessed as I read the following from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. I included it here after slightly updating the language*, in the hopes that it will bless you too.
“For my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warriors marches forth to battle, strong in our own might, when we boast, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall win me the victory,” defeat is not far distant.

God will not go forth with us when we march in our own strength. When we plan on getting victory that way we are wrong, for “it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their merry banners trailed in the dust, and their armor stained with disgrace.

Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. That which we do, unaided by divine strength, will not be approved by God. God will not receive mere human efforts as His own. He will only embrace those good things that come from His own initiative, the fruit of seed that was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.
God will empty out all that belongs to you before He will give you his own powerful blessing; He will first clean out your granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in his battles but the strength which He Himself imparts.

Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

When I am weak then am I strong,
Grace is my shield and Christ my song.”

I pray that all of us will know God's strength even as He empties us of our own.


*Some reading this may wonder why, when I updated Charles Spurgeon's writing from the mid 1800s, I kept using "He" and "Him" as pronouns for God.  After all, God is not a man and God is not male.  Christians, however, know God only has God has been revealed to us.  The clearest revelation of God is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who called God "Abba" (meaning "Daddy," "Papa," or "Father")  Therefore Christians are bound to refer to God, mostly, as "Him" or "He" etc.  For more on this see Dan Biles' brief article on the Wordalone website, listen to Robert Jenson's hour long presentation "Speaking Of, To and For the Triune God" from the 2010 Lutheran CORE Theological Conference or download a pdf of my 1982 seminary paper "'Father' and 'Son' in the Naming of God: A Necessity for Christians?"


1 comment:

  1. Someone asked what was up since I was talking about accidents and pain... well, for one thing, I was in a car accident on Monday. That's all I'll say about that here -- feel free to email or call me if you want to know more. On that same day, and a day or two before or after, other things happened, including my brother-in-law having his jaw broken in a roller blading accident. He'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner through a straw. Other stuff went on too... as far as I know no one was permanently damaged... but still, they weren't easy days. Honestly, though, there are accidents and other disasters of one sort or another every day somewhere... it's just good to know God doesn't abandon us in the midst of it all.