Vicarious

We know God by our lack.

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

In October of last year I had the opportunity to share my testimony at BCM about the work God was doing in my life. My main point was this:  God ordains our weaknesses, just as much as he does our strengths because he gets glory in helping us overcome them.

I’m being reminded of this again in my life. Sometimes I need to learn a lesson a few times until it sticks. Last year it was my health that I had to surrender, day by day. Now it’s my mindset. I’m in a period of waiting. He’s helping me overcome things like anxiety and worry now. It’s just as much a day by day process of surrender as my last endeavor.

Expounding upon the C.S. Lewis quote in my last post, this was the way it was designed. God made us as creatures of lack and we understand his perfections by our own imperfections. We are finite; he is infinite. We are fickle; he is faithful.

No, man is not all bad. He was made in God’s image after all. The things that are good in man—his ability to love, his desire to create, his bend toward compassion—are shadows of the characteristics in our God. But it is where these fall short in man that we understand their constancy in God.

This was ordained. God made our hangups, our weaknesses, our hardships, all so we would draw closer to him, realizing our own dependence on him. The weaker I am, the more I struggle, the more often I have to continually surrender my will, my thoughts, and my desires to God. And in these moments he reveals himself to us. So like Paul, we should delight in these things. We are discovering the unchanging and irresistible nature of our creator and sustainer.

We were never meant to be self-sufficient.  Continual surrender was the intention all along. And what does it look like to surrender? I’m learning more and more these days that surrender goes hand in hand with praise.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15

Praising God when it’s easier to worry or fear or cry or be depressed. That’s a sacrifice of praise. That’s surrendering my attitude and my trust. Though I’d rather vent all the terrible what-ifs or whine about something, I force myself to write down in my journal:  You are good, God. I trust you.

Even when I don’t particularly feel that way, forming those words with my pencil, reading them there in my own handwriting, I start to believe it. I start to shift my focus from my weakness to his strength. Maybe I have to do it again thirty minutes later, but that’s okay. He doesn’t mind. When I am weak, then I am strong.

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