Monday, July 21, 2008

the Lord's strength in our weakness

Recently through my activities, I've once again been reminded, but anew and afresh, of the Lord's strength for us, in our weakness. I did a couple of "ministries" this weekend: meeting a brother at a coffee place, and doing a "service" at a nursing home. Before and during both occasions, I felt plenty of weakness, not really wanting to go, and thinking during the "discipling" visit it was rather a loss, as I felt like so much of our time was wasted, and I hadn't prayed sufficiently, nor did I have the best attitude.

Interestingly though, as I sought to honor God during that time, it seemed to turn out quite well. The store closed an hour earlier than I thought it would, so we were out on the table and chairs with alot of traffic nearby, and noisy. The brother was distracted, and we couldn't always here over the noise. But interestingly, it still seemed, especially afterwards, to have God's approval and looking back on it, I just sense God in it. In all my weakness, there.

Yesterday I went to the nursing home. Lately I've felt the need for a kind of sabbatical, a rest as well as a need to get some new direction in my life. So I really preferred just to stay at home and rest. I tuned my guitar and headed out. Went there, and for whatever odd reason there was such a small group this time around. I wondered if somehow the date was off- I don't go every Sunday- as one person in the room was not normally there and it seemed different. But no, people were just sleepy today a worker told me, which sometimes does seem to happen during these times with older folks.

We started to sing some songs and hymns, and not long into it a guitar string broke! I tried to strum on, but a good sound from the guitar was gone. So we sang accapella the rest of the time, and I just shortened it a bit. I gave a message on the first and last "strophe" or section of Psalm 119, talking about the importance of God's word in our life, of seeking after God, wanting to keep his commands while knowing we don't keep them perfectly, and also knowing we need the Lord, our good Shepherd, to seek us when we go astray, as his sheep. We sang again, a bit, afterwards with more prayer, and then I visited. Including visiting a very faithful sister in her room who is probably near her homegoing, along with her daughter, afterwards.

In all of this there was plenty of weakness. But it seemed like the Lord was with us, in spite of that. Of course he always is, but we want his blessing and grace in what we do. And a key for me is to realize again and again that his strength is made perfect in our weakness. This plays out in God using our efforts which may be weak at the time, and often strengthening those efforts so that we sense strength from him in what we're doing.

This is also significant in that the Lord wants to use what seems to be insignificant, for his kingdom. This is quite encouraging since so much of what I do, including opportunities like these, seems to some extent rather insignificant in themselves. And yet with Jesus present by the Spirit to help us, none of it is insignificant at all.

How have you found this to be true in your own life, or what thought would you like to share on this, here?

12 comments:

Dave J. said...

I comment here not just because you just did on my blog, but because I am encouraged by your story of strength.

They say a 'professional' is someone who performs at their best even when they don't want to. Can we say you are a professional christian? (Hmmm ... an interesting term to ponder.)

NaNcY said...

i had a thought a couple of days ago. let's see if i can put it into words.

i was thinking of some of the people that i have visited that died not to long afterword, which had me thinking about what would it be like to spend time with more people that are very close to death or the process of dying or whatever one may call that time that we leave our dead bodies behind. anyway, is that last bit of time precious, any more precious than any other time that we have here? is being with someone in this time any different than being with them at any other time? is there something that we find in this place that we do not fine at any other time? i think the answer to all questions might just be Jesus.

Mike said...

I love your heart Ted! I too am challenged from time to time with "not really wanting to go." It's amazing what God does when we do follow the Spirit's lead, especially during those times we don't "feel" like going.

I was really encouraged a few days ago by Deut. 20:1-4. If you get a chance, take a look. Again, I appreciate you allowing God to use you through the world of blogs.

BTW, 95 here in NM - not too hot. I'll be much warmer in the winter than a brother in MI.

Rachel Mc said...

I am at the point where I feel very weak because everything around me is changing and so much more is asked of my time. So I think, what use am I to God? But I think God does put opportunities into our lives for a reason (I don't mean work-career opportunities) All I have time for now is to spend my lunch hour with God and reading scripture..and I think God had my life get crazy to realize I need God mid way thru my hectic day..
I don't have opportunities to share my faith (except thru blogging) but I think God wants my full attention at this time in my life.

Craver Vii said...

A guest preacher reminded us yesterday of Abraham's utter inability. God basically tells him that the way He is going to make his name great is by sending this barren old couple away from the city so they can start raising a family out in the wilderness, where nobody knows them. Father of nations? It's not surprising that Sarah laughed.

When we are most weak, God receives the most credit.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Dave,
Thanks!

Professional Christian! In the way you say here, surely so. I believe in seeking to do my best, no matter what.

And also with the point here that I entrust all my efforts, some certainly better done than others, into God's hands, working and will.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Good point in Jesus being the crux of the matter, in our lives. As we trust him and his life in us, then surely, no matter what it might look on the outside, we can know it will be good in God's hands and working.

It is good to be with people during those special times in their lives, and for a child of God, drawing near to the end of one's life, is surely one of those times. But neither should the value of being with others any time be minimized.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
Thanks.

You're right. In neither of these cases did I particularly sense God's leading, though during and afterwards I sensed he was present in blessing.

But to get God's leading is so valuable, and to follow through on that. For me, not knowing for sure, but going on it, and finding God to be in it. Not enough experiences of that in my life, it seems.

Yes, it's a long cold over here, too. A short whatever cold you get over there. NM, a lovely state.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Rachel,
I appreciate your words voicing your struggle, as well as your heart for God.

Yes, God does put us in those places and situations where we have to learn to depend on him. Where our hearts turn to him. Those hard places. I can say I'm there, in a way, knowing without God and his help, I just can't go on, and I can't do anything really. But he is there with us, as we seek to be with him, and even as co-workers with God (2 Corinthians).

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Craver! Abraham is a great case in point of a man who was weak in himself. Yet grew strong in his faith, giving glory to God, as we read in Romans. Being assured that the God who promised, would not fail.

We must continue on in our weakness, that we might know God's strength. Or in our weakness, that it is clear who gets the glory.

NaNcY said...

it always amazes me that you can understand my thoughts that turnout to be gobbledygook when i try to write them.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
I'm not sure I always really am getting what others are writing, but I try. Most of the time it seems clear enough.

Thanks.