Challenge 58: Love in Your Weakness

When you have nothing to give, go to the One who never exhausts in His giving. This is what I always have to remember when I am constantly relied upon to help those in need and I have few clues, none at times, about how to help them. My cluelessness was magnified these past five days. In the midst of giving thanks for my loving husband and children, harmony at this year’s holiday gathering and a personal life of peace and tranquility, I have collided with others’ truths—their not so thankful days of marital challenges, financial struggles and physical and emotional woes. They needed a word, direction, some type of comfort, and I knew I had nothing to give. But God tells the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak, and when the strong get weak, we have to let God bear our infirmities:

“’….My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” 2 Corinthians 12:9).

We always need the power of Christ to work through us, so weakness (like being clueless when others are looking to you for clues) is actually a gift. And without fail I remember this when called upon to support hurting wives and those on the verge of giving up on life. I have nothing. God has everything and when I look to Him for His power, his grace—that divine empowerment to do what I ordinarily can’t do—I am imbued with the Lord’s wisdom to know when to mourn with those who mourn; preach the word of God when I should, and “patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage others with good teaching” (Romans 12:15 and 2 Timothy 4:2). When I know that God is my strength, I can “be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not” (2 Timothy 4:2). I can best bear the infirmities of the weak when I am weak. This is the best way to love others who are in need.

Take a Risk Challenge: Be okay with not knowing how to help others, knowing that the One who knows will give you just what to do and what to say. Your weakness truly positions you to love others in a radical way.

Challenge 27: Expect God’s Grace

God's hand

April is a really busy month of ministry for me. In addition to taking care of my family, home education, my weekly teaching and committee meeting at our home school coop, and my monthly meetings with my discipleship ladies, I have two speaking engagements, an informational session regarding my business and a conference call regarding an international prayer convocation where I am serving in June. These are just the “big” items. By the look of my April life, there seems to be no more room for any other thing. But when the call came to support my friend at her daughter’s rites of passage celebration; to reach back out to talk to and pray for someone who I didn’t have time for the initial time she approached me; and to give advice to an emotionally vulnerable woman with some challenges beyond my experience, I knew I would have the energy and words to love these women because I have recently embraced my philosophy that my head has known for some time: I must expect God’s grace.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”—2 Corinthians 12:7-10

We often use the Apostle Paul’s example when we are being persecuted, but Paul lists all types of problems that go beyond persecutions, including the catchall “weaknesses,” which he got from God: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” God says. And God’s grace has always been sufficient.

When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses had a host of reasons why God shouldn’t have chosen him. I am nobody. They won’t believe my authority or what I say. I don’t speak well. But God kept assuring Moses that He would be with him, giving Moses the ability through signs to prove his authority and what he was saying, telling him exactly what to say and eventually telling Moses that He would have Moses’ brother, Aaron, speak on his behalf (Exodus 3:10-4:17).

Whatever our deficiency, whether external like Paul’s or internal like Moses’, we will have the strength—God’s strength, God’s grace—to do what we need to do, including love others who need us when our schedules are full. When we see the awesome work that God was able to do through Paul and Moses, we can rest assured that our same God will use us mightily to love people even when we don’t think we have the capacity to do so. We just have to expect, and accept, His grace.

Take a Risk Challenge: In spite of your deficiency, this week love someone, by giving a call, making a visit, etc., and expect and accept God’s grace to love. Expecting and accepting God’s grace truly helps us perform a radical act of love.

My One Thousand Gifts List

#1031-1040
A deep sleep nap
Joshua not complaining today
Catching up on online magazine article reading
Finally finishing One Thousand Gifts
A “sweatbox” time of intercessory prayer
Joshua voluntarily confessing his pleasure of Nate getting a spanking and asking me to pray for him
Praying with Joshua
Sweet time of fellowship with Tabitha where we got to know each other on a deeper level
Christen fellowshipping with our family
Justus running to the door overjoyed (squealing)