So I had a great conversation with a family friend this past week. We’ll call him “Sam.” He actually called me for some prayer and encouragement. Sam seemed to be in a rather desperate place. I listened to him describe his situation for several minutes. He was broken. I told him that was the best place he could be right now. It’s really only when were broken and desperate for something to change in our lives, that we become vulnerable and often, our hearts become soft, creating an opportunity to allow God to move. There is a great life verse that I am learning to lean upon: “But Jesus 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. 10 That’s 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 Cor.12:9, 10)
Our culture is screaming for identity. Media and its contract Corporate America is demanding that everyone buy the identity they’re selling: Power, Wealth, Confidence, or at least the perception thereof. Men aren’t men unless they have the body of an athlete, drive a top selling car, have a fat wallet and can perform miracles for a woman in bed. Women aren’t women unless they are built with perfect curves, can strut the latest fashions with confidence and show off their curves to the world with boldness and attitude, while leaving little to the imagination. Man, Jesus operates so differently! Jesus spoke to Paul when he was complaining to Him about wanting a haunting issue to be removed from his life. This “thorn” was a real identity crisis for Paul. Yet, Jesus instructed Paul to be grateful for his weakness; that it was good because that thorn made Paul vulnerable in the hands of God. It enabled Jesus to be able to step in and move on Paul’s behalf. We think we need to be living a way that always displays strength, living a lifestyle that enables us to handle and even conquer anything or anyone that gets in our way. Actually, when we think that we’ve arrived, that we really got it made, our actions and even our attitude have simply left no room for God to work in us, let alone through us.
I’m so grateful that Sam responded to God. I’m really grateful that God was able to speak through me! I just encouraged him to honestly come before God and lay it all out. That he would ask God to start cleaning up what Sam had messed up. Our God is so good at that. I reminded Sam that he was no different than any other man or woman that has made mistakes. That the only difference was that those before him were willing to come to Christ, and perhaps for the first time, simply be honest with Him. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing to seek and to receive. Sam yielded. He allowed himself to be weak before his God. Then God began to move.
Sam left me a voicemail a couple days after our fist conversation. He had a joy in his voice. I could tell that there was a sense of hope breaking through. When we finally spoke, he told me how things began to shift over the weekend with his circumstances. Needless to say I was stoked. I don’t even know why I was surprised though; that’s what God does! We yield, turn to Him in brokenness, agree with Him in our weakness and He fulfills His promises, extending His beautiful grace toward us. In fact, He’s always fulfilling His promises, were just not always in the receiving line. Were thinking we can just self-check our way out of the fast lane and into happiness. Sorry, no shortcuts. Lane closed.
Sam still has some work to do. He’s just out of the starting gate with really seeking the face of God and allowing Him access to his heart. I’m glad to be running with him. I know God is waiting to pour out more and more grace, mercy, strength and power for this young man and I can’t wait to watch it unfold.
Here’s to weakness. Peace friends.