In spite of our best efforts to be strong, our weaknesses frequently raise their ugly heads.
On a recent vacation in the Tennessee mountains, my wife and I and another couple encountered someone who succumbed to one such weakness. As my friend waited in a crowded line to pay for gas, he witnessed an older man ranting and raving at one of the cashiers. He belittled her with curses because she wasn’t waiting on customers quickly enough. Even though every Southern gentleman present gave him “the stare,” he continued his tirade.
Though I’ve never demonstrated my weaknesses in such a public manner, I have them nevertheless. On numerous occasions, I’ve lost my temper for stupid reasons. I’ve flown off the handle at my children, wife, or co-workers. I’ve turned to addictions in times of grief and depression rather than to God. I’ve secretly exuded jealousy towards those who work less than I do but have much more of this world’s goods. My list of weaknesses is lengthy-and many of them could be considered sin. Why does God put me in seemingly no-win situations?
God humbled the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years…He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3 NLT) He also allowed the apostle Paul to have a thorn in the flesh and refused to remove it despite his pleadings.
If I could handle life on my own, I wouldn’t need God. My weaknesses demonstrate to me and others that I require him to get through and make it successfully. When I prop up on my own power, I’ll make a mess every time. My failures remind me that only by depending on God’s indwelling Spirit can I make the correct choices and garner the strength required to face life’s dilemmas. When others see how God carries me through unbearable situations-and even the smaller daily battles, he receives the credit. The spotlight shines on him. And so it should.
God created humans with a need for his divine presence. Our weaknesses remind us we need him. Are you trying to live life in your own strength?
Prayer: Almighty God, grant us the power to let go of our perceived strengths so we can maneuver life in Your power.