stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

Life isn’t always easy.  Not for you, and not for me.  Sometimes, it can be downright miserable.  Even being in full time ministry – which you no doubt know is week after week of sunshine and roses – there are days when you just throw your hands up and wonder, “Really, God?  How am I supposed to deal with that?”  Those days most commonly happen for me when I encounter someone who is hurting, and I know you know I’m  ill-equipped to help.  When someone is in pain, and they look to me for help, and all I can muster is “I’m sorry,” and inside I’m thinking, “I have no idea what to do,” I start to feel overwhelmed, inadequate, and weak.  I’m sure you’ve been there.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been stuck in just such a season.  It’s not been a day here or a day there.  Week after week after week, I’ve been faced with something that is out of my league.  It’s gotten to me.  I’ve had to ask God what I’m doing here, and why He’s letting me be in ministry.  Last Wednesday, after Celebrate Recovery, I pulled Todd aside and talked to him about how I was feeling.  After talking for an hour about all the messiness in our world, I went home feeling still empty.  I prayed about it, and I felt drawn to 2 Corinthians.  When I got to chapter 12, this is what I read:

“”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. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’d been hard on myself for being weak, for not being strong enough.  And here Paul confesses his weakness, and how happy he is in the fact that he’s weak.  We cannot do everything, and that’s fine, because God’s not limited in His power.

I shared this with a group of youth ministry friends, and Scott from Youth for Christ shared something in response that has resonated with me since.  There were men in the New Testament who had a crippled friend.  They brought him on a mat to where Jesus was teaching.  They were so intent on getting him before Jesus that they tore the roof off the building and lowered him down.  They were weak.  They could not heal their friend, and they knew it.  But they knew who could, and they got him to Jesus.  We need to get hurting people to Jesus.  We can’t fix their pain.  We can’t take it away.  But we can get them to Jesus.


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