Weak, Strong; Broken, Whole

“What is my strength that I should wait?

And what is my end, that I should be patient?

Is my strength the strength of stones,

or is my flesh bronze?

In truth I have no help in me,

and any resource is driven from me.”

Job cries out to God, Job 6:11-13 (NRSVA)

Three times I appealed to the Lord about [my suffering], that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me… for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

My dear mother-in-law is very poorly. She had a stroke at the weekend. It’s touch and go, as they say. When my sister-in-law visited yesterday my MIL was extremely distressed and crying out to God. Praise God she is a woman of faith! But dementia can be very cruel. It steals everything you have. When I read the words from Job this morning as part of my daily Bible time, I was immediately struck by how apt they were. Despite the extreme distress of my MIL (which is heart-wrenching because there is no way to offer consolation when a person has no memory, no way to comfort, no way to reassure) it is an honour to know a woman who, when all else is gone, has a faith that cries out to her Redeemer. God help us all.

In my distress I called upon the LORD,

to my God I cried for help.

From his temple he heard my voice,

and my cry to him reached his ears.

Psalm 18:6

 

God is good. God is always good.

Fasting

I need to have a ‘fast’ from the internet. No blogging, no random youtubing, no news-reading, no online shopping, no nuffink for the duration of November. Why? Because I had a setback, health-wise, and it’s been getting me down. After some thinking and talking to God I realise that maybe this ‘setback’ is not really a setback. Maybe it’s just my ‘thorn in the flesh’.

…I was given a… physical ailment… Three times I prayed to the Lord about this and asked him to take it away. But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

extract from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (GNT)

Like I say, I’m beginning to think this is actually a way to keep me focused on what’s most important – to help me keep my eye on the goal, as Paul wrote elsewhere. I do have a tendency that, when things are going well, I am so determined that they will stay well, or I’ll achieve whatever I set my mind to, that I end up denying the fact that I’ve been so unwell in the first place (which is ridiculous considering this illness – Myalgic Encephalopathy – has been part of my life, on and off, for well over two decades) and that I’ve had to face so many enormous emotional difficulties what with all the traumas, etc. In conclusion, then, I need to take some time to refocus on my health, my family, my marriage, my home, my studying and, most importantly, on God. It’s part of spiritual discipline, I suppose, in the sense that ‘discipline’ and ‘disciple’ come from the same root.

So take care. Stay well. Keep on loving Jesus.

See you soon x