God Talk | Praying for Weakness

*This came across my Facebook today from several years ago. My memories section has been full of the original God Talk series the last week or so. If you enjoy, this series was actually published on Amazon a long while ago. You can find it here.
Okay, so back to profundity, as I worked upon the house to improve my stewardship yesterday, God gave me an interesting response into the quiet.  It occurred to me that in times of distress, hardship and pain most of us will pray for strength.  I was taught a few years ago that praying for patience is not the best prayers that I can pray.  I am no fan of patience, even as I recognize the need for it, and I discovered that God does indeed answer prayers.  It seemed that each and every time I would pray for patience I would be confronted with situation after situation that required me to exercise a rather great deal of it.  It was not until I started to view faith and character in much the same way as I view the muscles in my body that I began to understand why this particular prayer had caused me so much trouble and aggravation. 
Patience, as with any virtue, requires exercise if it is to grow.  When I would call upon the Lord for patience, and He saw I was sorely in need of exercising that particular virtue, and insistent that I must have it, He would graciously answer my prayers by providing me with opportunities to practice.  Needless to say I was a bit chagrined to discover this simple fact.  It led me to be a little more careful in the things that I seek in prayer.  Not because I did not think that God would give me precisely what I needed, but because my perspective determines how difficult a time I have in receiving His blessings.  I began praying instead for His grace and His peace, and suddenly things that once would have tried my patience past its limit became infrequent and were met with a placid and patient heart.  It was not that I had suddenly developed some great well of patience, but that I had come to a point of relying on God and approaching the trials in my life through the lens of his love.

Back to strength. I have often prayed for strength over the years, as have most Christians I know, but it finally occurred to me that God does not want us to rely on our strength.  He will give us strength if we ask for it, but He does this by placing before us the opportunities to exercise that particular virtue, because we insist on being strong.  And while I know there is need to have a strength of conviction and a strength of character in myself, and my fellow Christians, our strength can never match the titanic struggles we will face over the course of our lives.

There will always come a time when our strength is exhausted, our obstacle is insurmountable, our enemy is stronger than we can overcome.  This is a difficult lesson for most of us to learn, it makes us feel small, helpless and powerless, which is why we so often pray for strength.  But, it is also one of the most significant lessons we must eventually accept if we are to find peace in this life, and fulfill our purpose here on this lovely planet we call our home awaiting home.

I asked for a Bible verse this evening to explain what God was showing me yesterday, and Jared kindly pointed me in the right direction, while my friend Ron Miller provided some writings he has done recently on this very subject, along with the Bible passages he referenced.  Facebook is a wonderful tool.

2 Corinthians 12:9 reads “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.”

As Christians we are called to glorify God in our lives, and it is not our strength that demonstrates His power, it is His.  It is when we as Christians acknowledge our own weakness that we come to fully rely instead on God’s strength and His power, mercy and grace can shine through to the world.

I have had ample opportunity in my life to test my strength against the trials of this world, and quite frankly it is not sufficient to overcome them.  I was tired of carrying the weight of the struggles, even as I often barely noticed them because they had become so routine.  What I came to recognize yesterday is that there is liberation and salvation in finally surrendering to the truth that I am small, weak and powerless in the face of the world, for now I can quit praying for strength, lay those burdens at his feet, and begin praying instead that I will be weak for Him so that the power of Christ may rest on me.

If you are facing the uphill climbs in life, carrying the world on your shoulders, I hope this will help you to lay it down, and wait on the Lord to lift you up to where He wants you to go.  If you have already laid down your burdens and found God joyful abundance of strength in your weakness, I hope you will share that with others today so that they might know his glory and power through your stories.  Be blessed, and be a blessing.

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