I think one reason it’s so easy for me to write novels is that my life reads like one. When I think of all the different kinds of trauma and crisis I’ve been through; my life reads like a work of fiction. How could any one person deal with so much!
All the “big things” that psychologists talk about that are so stressful to deal with, well, I’ve had them all, and not just once, I’ve had them numbered like the stars. I’ve suffered through them and kept on surviving, and even though I’ve cried out to God for help, I’ve never really voiced a complaint until earlier this week.
With 4 more major crisis-level “things” falling down on me, all at once, when I was barely back on my feet from the previous ones, I found myself saying, “Lord, I’ve been going like this for 43 years, when is it ever going to stop?”
I told Him, “Though You slay me, yet will I trust You,” and yes, I meant it. I’ve surrendered my life to Him. I’m His to do with as He pleases. But I mean HONESTLY!!!!!!! How much can one person take!
I stayed at Eagle Ranch this past week, because we had student graduations every night, and the commute from Dahlonega would’ve been a lot. It was an emotional time anyway, the end of the school year, being thrilled to see the kids graduating and at the same time torn up to see them leaving and thinking how much I’ll miss them. Aside from that, I was feeling the pounding from these 4 crises I’ve been dealing with.
It was on the afternoon of the kids’ fishing trip that I was in the pavilion helping one of the teachers get lunch ready. She was flipping burgers and I was confessing how I was feeling. Just that morning, it was like it hit me for the first time how many different kinds of trauma I’d been through, and I was reeling from that realization.
I gave her the 30-second overview of how many kinds of trauma I’d been through, and what I’m going through now, and she said, “The Lord has really allowed you to be very strong.”
Out of habit, I said, “Well, if I’ve had any strength, that would be God, not me.”
She rephrased: “The Lord has really allowed you to have a lot of His strength.”
You never know when God will use you to speak a much-needed word of truth to someone. He really used that teacher to speak to me. Just one word of wisdom that she spoke while flipping burgers, and the Lord spoke to me through it, and got me out of the dark place I was starting to slip into this morning. See, it didn’t hit me until this morning, the meaning of what she said.
When I look at all I’ve been through, I think, How can one person go through all this? Well, exactly. One person can’t. Only God can. It’s His strength that He’s given to me that has gotten me through everything. When we are weak, He is strong in us. I’ve always “known” that, but what it really means did not sink in until now.
I guess I’d always tried to understand that scriptural truth by human logic. See, human logic would say that if I’m weak, then God has to pick me up and use His strength to carry me. In other words, human logic would say that the Lord uses His strength to “make up” for whatever I’m “lacking.” As if I’m calling the shots, and He’s merely responding to me.
What if I look at it differently? See it the way God sees it. When I’m weak, when I’m suffering, I have the opportunity and the blessing to be filled with HIS strength, because I have none of my own. To the degree that I’m weak, by that measure I get to have His strength in me!
Do you get that? We have the privilege of receiving all the strength of the Creator and Lord of the universe. And the weaker we are, the more of Him we get to have poured into us!!!!!
Don’t look at it by what you don’t have (don’t look at your weakness) … look at it by what you DO have: THE STRENGTH OF GOD HIMSELF, OVERFLOWING IN YOU!!!!!!!
When that really hit me, it blew me away. Instead of saying, “Lord, how much more do I need to endure?” I’m saying, “Lord, how did I get so blessed and privileged to be so beaten down by life that I get to have THAT measure of YOUR STRENGTH in me!!!!!” Woohoo!!!!!
See, if you let Him into your life, then what you don’t have, He gives you. Whatever you need, you can get it from yourself, from the world, or from God. Because of all I’ve been through, I’m blessed to have what I need from God Himself. My own strength ceased to exist about a hundred crises ago. I’ve only continued to pull through because of God’s strength in me. And that means I HAVE GOD’S STRENGTH IN ME … in abundance, overflowing.
I think of the Scripture verse (I think it’s in Corinthians) about being glad when you suffer, because you receive comfort from the Lord that you can then use to comfort others. I used to see it that we share what we receive, as if it were up to us to receive comfort and then share it. The way I see it now, it’s not about anything we do, it’s about what God does. When we are hurting, if we allow Him into our lives, He gives us His comfort. He pours His comfort into the empty places in us, and there HIS comfort, of its own power and love, moves around (without our help) and brings healing to us and overflows us, and is available to all those around us. Not because of anything we do, but because of God pouring Himself into us.
It’s the same with weakness and suffering and enduring trauma and crisis. When we are weak, He pours His strength into us, and HIS strength in us is available to us and to those around us who need it. Again, it’s nothing we do. It’s just there, because He puts it there, and it moves by His power and His love.
The Beatitudes came to mind as I was thinking about all this. “Blessed are they who (mourn, suffer, are oppressed … fill in the word)”… Blessed are they simply because they have become vessels for God to fill. In other words – Blessed are the weak, because God will pour His strength into them.
Do you hear that? God’s not saying, “Just suck it up and put on a happy face, because you have Me.” (As if we could do that!) He’s saying, “Where you’re hurting, My power is in you, and that (having My power in you) is a blessing beyond all blessings.”
The Apostle Paul said it’s a privilege to suffer for the Lord. I know that’s true. But not because it’s something we’re “supposed” to do. It’s just simply because when we suffer, His strength flows into us and is all over us, and is available in abundance to us and to those around us.
Thank You, Jesus.