Do you remember the circumstances in which the Lord gave you a special window into your own weakness? Did that knowledge suddenly come to you, or did that realization slowly dawn on you over a lengthy period of time?
Moses first attempted to deliver the Israelites from bondage when he was forty years old and “…full of his own ways…too strong for God.” F. B. Meyer writes, “…it would take many a long year of lonely waiting and trial before this strong and self-reliant nature could be broken down, shaped into a vessel meet for the Master’s use, and prepared for every good work. God’s work can only be done by His chosen instruments, and they must be specially fitted for the service they are to render. That special adaptation is not natural to any of us, and can only come after years of deep and searching discipline.”
Let me share with you a little story about my own launch into missionary work. In 1997, my first husband and I prepared to go to western Canada to serve in a small church. Our sending church made preparations for the commissioning service where they would ask the Lord’s blessing and guidance for the work we would undertake. On the chosen Sunday morning, my husband preached, and then the church leaders stood up to make all the appropriate remarks to commission us. They asked our family to sit on chairs on the platform, and the church leaders gathered behind us, placing their hands on our shoulders and heads. One of the men, a very dear friend of ours, commenced praying. He began, “Lord, they are weak…” That assessment jolted me like a little stab of electricity! I felt incredulity! Astonishment! In fact, at first glance, it almost hurt! “Weak?!” “Us?!!!” He continued on, asking the Lord to use us in spite of our weakness, in the midst of our weakness, and through our weakness. Ever since that prayer was prayed, I have meditated on it, from time to time. Yes, we were weak. We went up to Canada and ministered there for 4 years. During the first year, 3/4 of the congregation emptied out for a variety of reasons. Some things were petty, some things were over doctrine, and perhaps in some cases we weren’t like the former pastor. Whatever the reason, it was quite daunting to see the church empty out like that. Years 2 and 3 were like a re-building, a time of teaching, a time of starting over. During year 4, my husband battled cancer, and chemo, radiation, and surgery heightened our weakness. We left Canada on November 12, 2001, because Canada would not renew our visa due to Jerry’s terminal illness. I look back over those four years and see how the Lord especially enhanced and increased that weakness that we might know His strength. In the midst of our weakness, in spite of our weakness, through our weakness, the Lord took what little we had and used it! Apart from Him, we were made to know that we could not do anything!
A proper understanding of our weakness creates an adjusted perspective on what we bring to the task. But we must not forget what the Lord brings to the task—-Himself! We can do all things through Christ who will strengthen us.
Written by Deborah Lake, posted here by permission