Excitement filled me as I organized my office to begin a new writing project for NaNoWriMo. Thank you, Lord! I had waited a long time to begin this project. As I hobbled between the desk and the bookcase, the medical boot I wore thumped with each half-step. Thump . . . thump . . . I made my way around to the file cabinet, thump . . . thump, thump, I knelt, my booted leg splayed at an awkward angle and my hip cramped as I retrieved some files from the bottom drawer. I struggled back to my feet, rubbing my hip then thump, thump, back over to the desk, the boot turning every step into an arduous trek.
I dropped the files onto my desk and collapsed into my office chair, the fingers of a migraine tapping behind my right eye. I shut my eyes and willed the headache to go away. It didn’t. Then a comment a friend made several years ago regarding my ministry work floated through my mind, “Oh Bethany,” she’d said, “your service is always marked with a limp.” I laid my head back and a long, slow sigh drifted towards the ceiling.
Many times I have longed to enjoy ministry work free from the presence of mischievous shackling things; free from sudden, crippling weaknesses that sap my strength and enthusiasm.
I’m intimately acquainted with the “when I am weak, God is strong” concept. In fact, II Corinthians 12:9-12 is often my “manna,”a dietary staple in my spiritual life. But sometimes, when I begin a task only to be waylaid by some debilitating circumstance or ailment, I get sick of the taste of it.
And I resent the limping things God allows in my life.
Well, recently I was working through a study on Gideon with a friend. One of the workbook’s pages listed several of God’s leaders and the personal characteristics that made each one unique. As I considered each leader I saw something I’d never noticed before.
I noted that each of God’s leaders had some sort of weakness. Now, that was the familiar part, but in each case their weakness was visible. There was Gideon who lacked confidence and courage, the least of his tribe, considered a nobody. Yet by God’s power he routed Israel’s enemies and sat as judge 40 years. And Abraham who remained childless most of his life, bore a social stigma in a culture when children were considered a sign of blessing and virility. Yet, through God’s power, at the age of 100 he fathered a child, who in turn birthed a nation . . . and on the list went.
They each had a debilitating issue or problem that everyone knew about. That was the key that made their victories so remarkable.
They didn’t have to explain God’s work in their life, it was evident to all. They couldn’t take credit for their triumph either because everyone knew their story–
And so the glory–every drop of it–went to God. In fact, their weakness was the platform from which God broadcasted His power.
God uses your weakness and mine to showcase His power today, too. So, don’t bemoan your weakness, don’t try to tuck it away, don’t even try to pray it away. For God’s power and glory is best seen when our weakness is most visible to others.
So today, I’m thankful for this boot and the weakness it represents. For God’s going to use this limp in a powerful way, and when He does, everyone will know it’s all Him.