Isaiah 40:28-30 (NLT)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Another rejection, another closed door, another obstacle to overcome, another wasted day, another wait that resulted in nothing, I just don’t know if I can do this anymore. Do you feel that way today? I do. The course of events that have created this chapter in our life have overwhelmed me. Around every corner, I hope to see the Light but alas another long, dark and lonely road. There are people all around me but silence echoes in my soul. I do not want their opinion. The offer comfort and words of encouragement but I long for His Voice alone. He is the everlasting God so where is He now? In my moment of total desperation, why won’t He answer me? Where is His Presence that I long for? Why do I feel helpless and broken all alone? I am weak. I am weary. I do not understand…at all. I have used all my power. My strength is evaporated. I need new strength or surely I will give up. In fact, if the trial I was facing did not include one of my precious children I probably would have given up already but I just can’t. I an exhausted and overcome. Pouring my sorrow and dissatisfaction out before the Lord, I realize that even in my most basic thinking when all my understanding is gone, knowledge fails me and wisdom is completely used up – I am still praying to the Lord. It is my most basic instinct. There is nothing worse than watching an optimist fall. It is a hard, crashing decent. I want to see the meaning here. I want to know that He has not left us along the way. I want to be sure that my faith is real and valid. My hope still secure. I want to hear. I long to understand.
Judges 3:36-40 (NLT)
Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.
The Lord came to Gideon calling him to battle against the Midianites. The Lord calls Him chosen. In this moment of revelation, Gideon immediately responds to the Lord that he is the weakest and least of all the people of Israel. (Judges 6:12-16) Self-examination is often brutal. But the Lord did not back down, He knew this man and He was there when Gideon was created. This was not a suggestion or the opinion of an unworthy source, but God telling the man His Divine Purpose. Human nature is predictable and Gideon like most of us asked, “How?” God responded firmly and confidently – “I am with you!” Gideon then asked for a sign that the Word of God was true so He prepared an offering that was totally consumed by the Lord. (Judges 6:17-24) Gideon called the Lord – the God of Peace. He told the man don’t worry – you will not die. Gideon destroyed the altar to Baal and Asherah pole with it. The people were not pleased. (Judges 6:25-35) In his weakness and fear, Gideon then asked the Lord for a fleece. It is not a problem with God when we call out to Him and ask for such a sign. It is in our distress that we become selfless and candid before the Lord in total desperation. We are empty – now we can be filled. We are hungry for an answer – so we will consume the Bread of Life. We can do nothing making way for His Will to be done. It is in such a place that the Lord has me right where He wants me whether I like it or not. God will give you a fleece if you ask Him to, believing that He will do more than we ask or think keeps our eyes fixed on Him even when everything falls apart.
2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (NLT)
If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I come back to this verse time and time again facing the giant called “cancer”. I get angry at the violation and intrusion in our family’s life, but the Peace of God has kept me from ever fearing it. I am frustrated at the length of this journey and many hours, weeks, and days spent waiting, but I keep doing it anyway. After receiving another disappointing phone call further delaying the next step in our son’s treatment, I became furious. Enough is enough. I poured out my heart to my God then my husband. I reached out to a few friends asking for prayer. My whole world shaking on edge. My brain comprised insults to hurl at God but my heart and spirit would not allow it. Busying myself with routine tasks of early evening, my thoughts were trying to rebel but I kept coming back to God’s Word. Scriptures just kept rising in my thoughts. I wish I could say that they brought comfort but remember I am only human and a mad one at that. So I decided to stop thinking, sounds pretty hilarious to those who know me because I am an over thinker, over planner, over explainer and just plain over the top most of the time. As I was fixing dinner, I caught myself sinning choruses from praise and worship songs. I have begged God to remove this burden from our life. It has reduced me to my weakest form. He promises that His Grace is all that I need. He tells me that His Power works best in my weakness. How does one take pleasure in such things? How do I come to accept that this place of weakness and powerlessness is EXACTLY where the Lord wants me to be?
Judges 7:1-8 (NLT)
So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight. But the LORD told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the LORD told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. The LORD told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.
The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon.
So back to Gideon, it is now time to fulfill his great purpose and fight the Midianites so he heads toward the enemies camp with 32,000 of his friends and allies ready to go to battle. The Lord meets him along the way and says, “Not so fast…” Oh how I can relate. Just when you think you have God’s Way all figured out and confidently begin to chase away the enemy – the Lord stops you. He tells Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” So 22,000 are released to head home. Now there are 10,000, ok this works. The Lord tells Gideon again that there are too many warriors. After this test, Gideon is left with just 300 men. It is at this point when God tells Gideon, “I will rescue you and give you victory.” So much for human confidence that probably left with the other 31,700 men who turned back home. I am quite sure that the man was trembling in his sandals about this time. The Lord reduced the man’s confidence to faith in Him alone. The victory in every battle fought in the Lord’s Name is to bring Glory to God. (Period) This is summation of the statement when I am weak, then I am strong. Until the battle you are facing can only be won by faith, man will get the glory and honor of a win. But when all that you have left is faith in God, He will get all the Glory for the win. The point of every “thorn” in our flesh is to release the Glory of God given to us by the Power of Jesus Christ that lives inside of us. God’s Grace is all that we need to receive all of God’s Promises for our life. His Power works best in our weakness because our flesh moves out of the way. His Power works best in our brokenness even though no one wants to go through all that. To have the Glory of God, I must live by the Power of God which is Jesus Christ inside of me. It requires that my flesh dies. This will never become a painless and effortless process but one of painstaking endurance every step of the way. It is a fight worth fighting and a battle worth winning as our faith is confirmed in testing to be genuine and valid.
I Corinthians 9:22-23 (NLT)
When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
When I come to the end of my self, human strength is gone, self-confidence lacking – that is when the Lord will shine brightest from the inside out. How do you know that your faith is real without testing? Put quite simply – I can say that a chair will hold my weight by faith but that faith will not be valid until I am willing to sit in that chair. We profess faith in God but avoid testing at all costs. If you fail under pressure, then your strength is too small. (Proverbs 24:10) If our faith in God is our strength, then if we give up it means it is not big enough to secure confident hope. Faith is given to every person ever born. (Romans 12:2) What we do with our faith determines whether it is worthwhile, valuable and trustworthy. God allows us to go through certain things so that the condition of our faith is revealed to us. He is actually looking for people to strengthen. (I Chronicles 16:11) Faith is best used to determine that He is God alone. There is no one above Him. In such knowledge, my faith develops, grows and matures as I get to know Him more and fall in love with My Father. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) Trials begin as a situation or problem that we bring to the Lord. We are limited in our perspective of what it represents just hoping for a little relief. But God does not want to just rescue or relieve us, His Will is to restore and renew us every day which requires brokenness to be filled. As we are broken, yet still praise God the world wants what we have that is priceless enough to endure suffering to have. The Lord is not going to leave you in your sorrow but rather He will use your situation to bless you and others because of your faith. My life will be an example of His Power and Strength as I learn to love and trust Him more. (Psalm 71:7-8)
2 Corinthians 13:3-5 (NLT)
I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak when he deals with you; he is powerful among you. Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power. Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you[a]; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
Our life is living proof that Jesus Christ, thought crucified in weakness, now lives by the Power of God in us. I am weak just as Christ was weak but now I am alive because the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives on the inside of me. These trials that produce human weakness in our life are designed to let that Power take over and change the outcomes of our life as we become witness for Jesus Christ. Faith turns every single weakness that I have into strength. This is the joy to be had in our sufferings on the earth. (Psalm 84:5-6) The Lord gives us peace that His Grace is enough to get us through. (Psalm 29:11) He loves us and therefore strengthens us. (Psalm 80:17) It pleases God to make us strong so He is not upset when we are weak or fall down but sees it as another opportunity to make us strong. (Psalm 89:17) Those who depend totally on God for their strength will be victorious. (Psalm 118:14) See I told you, the Lord has us right where He wants us.
Hebrews 11:33-40 (NLT)
By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
There were many men and women of faith before Jesus Christ came to the earth. They endured many hardships and victories trusting in the Lord. Their weakness turned to strength without actually ever knowing the Messiah. It all comes down to faith in God. By faith, our weakness is turned to strength no matter what circumstances, situations or problems that we may face. The goal is always more faith and confident hope. Why? God has something better in mind for us. Faith keeps us hoping for that until it comes. We have an advantage that these men and women did not have. We have Jesus. He carried our weakness to the Cross so that we could have grace. (Isaiah 53:4-5) He sent the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26) God remembers our weakness when He works in us. (Psalm136:23) We have a High Priest who intercedes and mediates for us night and day at the right hand of His Father. (Hebrews 4:14-16) We are never alone or vulnerable unless we let go of our faith. Always remembering and depending on the fact that God in us is stronger in His Weakness than any other person or power at its greatest strength. (I Corinthians 1:24-25) I am weak. I am broken. I am frustrated and confused. But in all that, I have faith. If I refuse to let go, it will bring me strength, fulfillment and peace in the midst of every storm because God has me right where He wants me to bless me!
For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.