In Weakness There is Great Strength

The Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus.

The Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus.

In Weakness There is Great Strength

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” –2 Corinthians 12:7

The Sin of Pride

A week ago Sunday, I hurt myself. And, no, I wasn’t doing anything dangerous or strenuous.

Hold on a sec. Maybe this is more of a confessional than a devotional.

Okay, so, we have cats, quite a few, and the newest boy, Timmy, got into a tussle with a long-time resident cat, Sinatra. The yowling caused me to react and I arose suddenly from the couch—I didn’t even launch from the couch. I just stood up quickly and rushed outside. I didn’t run but I did yell and clap my hands in order to break up their fighting. However, just as I finished, my ankle felt like someone had cracked me in the right leg with a baseball bat.

Within seconds the pain radiated up my calf to my knee. The pain was excruciating.

I got in to see the doctor early the next morning. He said I’d torn my Achilles tendon.

Just so you know, a tear doesn’t require surgery—only a rupture of the Achilles tendon requires surgery. A rupture is when the tendon becomes unattached from the heel and, basically, snaps up to the calf just under the knee where the tendon’s hold is strongest.

What I said to the doctor embarrasses me now after some thinking on it.

I said, “This doesn’t happen to me.”

The doctor looked annoyed. Obviously, I was wrong because it was happening to me and maybe his look of annoyance was more deeply-rooted than what I had thought while I was in the examination room.

My comment was prideful. Why shouldn’t things like this happen to me? Am I so great? No.

What I should’ve said was, “I’ve never had anything like this happen to me.” That would be accurate because I have not had any major injuries in my lifetime.

My words were not well thought out and rung of pride.

It is told in 2 Corinthians, that Paul got into a fight with a messenger sent by Satan, a messenger who placed a thorn in his side to torment Paul. But what happened? Paul turned to God and God allowed the thorn so that Paul could remember not to become too self-absorbed.

I believe God has done the same with me.

The doctor said I needed to stay off of it for six-to-eight weeks. Well, that’s just ridiculous. I have a house to clean, Doc! Cat boxes to empty, water bowls to refresh, animals to feed, a sick mother to tend to (who is now living with us), and a husband to take care of. Plus, I’m deacon of the month! I have responsibilities to the Church. People need me. If anything happens to me, well, everything will come to a screeching halt, right?

Wrong!

My husband pitched in like the champion he is. My friends have offered to help. We scaled back on cleaning simply because it’s not that important. I also gave myself a pat on the shoulder when I looked back—always chastising myself for not cleaning enough—and realized how much I did clean.

God didn’t do this to me. Make no mistakes. He’s not the author of pain or suffering. Did He allow it to happen? Maybe. Am I more reliant on others? Definitely.

But, I’ve realized that what happened to me, happened for a reason. I needed this to happen.

Did I feel I was getting too prideful? Nope. Was I? You bet I was.

See, as a novelist, I work in an industry where focus is placed on the author and not the word. Where celebrity is key and not the story but who is behind the story. Celebrity is big right now in our fast-paced world. I work hard just to stay in front of the floodgates.

But, make no mistakes. God is behind me. He is what I write about. He is in me.

As I gimp around, it’s hard to feel proud. What I feel is weak, embarrassed and old.

I am human. I am not in control. Yes, I have work to do and try to organize it in the best possible manner but I am not in control of, well, anything, really.

Which way does the wind blow? Who will call to tell me I have another book deal? When will I die? What day will things change for the better, or, for the worse? Where will we all be in a year? In ten? In twenty?

I know none of the answers to these questions. Only God knows.

But I do know this… I have faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. This knowledge I have control over—what I believe and who I believe in. Anything other than that is fluff. It’s thinking beyond now, the present.

Pride allows me to slip away into the future—a precarious place. Precarious because I never expected a tear in the tendon—a tendon that allows humans to walk upright, to walk correctly. I expected other things. And why? Because I expected I was in control. Isn’t that funny?

And now that I am weakened, my eyes are opened. My understanding is greater than when I was healthier. I am human and by nature I am weak. And, I’m sorry to say, even a little conceited. My conceit is unjustified and foolish. Again, I am weak—in body and mind. This I will remember. I will remember that whenever I am feeling puffed up, to call on God for help and will thank Him for my weakness.

My prayer for today: “Please Lord, forgive my prideful ways and my inability to grasp the gift of here and now. Thank you for your Son who died for the forgiveness of my sins and for the Holy Spirit who works from you and in me. In Jesus’ name I pray.”

NOTE: This is the full segment of the scripture that started this devotional: “…in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 10 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 7:10

 

 

 

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