My Own Personal God-Centered Lament: Meditation Mondays
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10 ESV)
Today, I’d like to take a one week break from our meditations through Lamentations and be very vulnerable and honest with you. Some of you reading this I know. Most of you I don’t know. There are thousands of you reading the articles I write week in and week out, and I am going to take a risk by confessing something to you. This is a new year. It is 2019. For me, 2017 and 2018 were two of the most spiritually difficult seasons of my life. Not difficult in that I was questioning my faith or doubting God and His goodness. The years were difficult in that God has been strategically stripping away any perceived strength I thought I had. God has afflicted me. He afflicted me mentally and physically. Without getting into particulars (those close to me know the particulars and that is enough), the Lord has been (and is) teaching me that I am weak. Weakness for me has always been a bad word. It isn’t that anyone taught me it was a bad word, but I have always conditioned myself to hide weakness and the blunt truth is- I’m good at it. I even thought, ‘let me get through this season of ‘weakness’ and then I’ll let folks know I am weak and I am struggling, but the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart to not waste a suffering- even in the midst of the suffering.
One day, when depleted of all my preconceived notions of strength and in the midst of battling my mental struggles and physical struggles (everything from depression and anxiety), the Lord brought to mind Ephesians 6:10. The Apostle Paul commends that I am to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (italics mine). This sent me on a journey to cross reference that passage with how the Apostle Paul actually practiced what he preached in Ephesians with Corinthians and I read (with fresh, but weak eyes) 2 Corinthians 12:7b-9, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he [the LORD] 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
We have no idea what Paul’s ‘thorn(s) in the flesh were and I think this is by design. Paul’s perspective is so backwards from what culture tells me. Weakness, according to Paul (inspired by the Holy Spirit) is a gift from God because through weakness God showcases His strength and that’s the only way it works. There is no plan ‘B’. We are weak. God is strong. And God uses His strength to encourage us and bring Himself glory. And the beauty is, in our weakness God gives us peace. God gives us green pastures. The Lord leads us beside still waters. The Lord restores our parched and weary souls (see Psalm 23). The Apostle Paul longed for weakness so that He could boast all the more in God’s strength and in the power of the gospel which contains the only power to save those from a far country. I have never experienced the type of weakness the Apostle Paul speaks of and probably never will. But God is teaching me to embrace my new-found custom-tailored weakness(es) in my life so that I can actually apply Ephesians 6:10- “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his (italics mine) might.” It is absolutely impossible for me to be obedient to this command if I’m not weak. So, Lord, bring me down low. May I decrease so that Christ may increase (John 3:30). Thank you, God for afflicting me. Thank you for making me weak so that your strength can shine so brightly.
If you would like some information on resources (sermons, books, podcasts) I've listened to, to help me over the last couple of years, please reach out. I'ld love to share them with you. Thank you, as always for reading. Humbled that you would take time to read the things I write.