Sometimes our Christian growth gets marked by starts and stops; wet seasons and dry seasons; valleys and deserts; gentle rains and torrential down pours. Some years we grow by leaps and bounds and other years we take a couple or three steps backward. But God is faithful. He doesn’t give up on us, but continues to direct our steps asking us to trust him.
The one thing that this life with Christ has taught me is that all I need to do is trust. Trust his heart when the way seems too good to be true and trust his heart when the way ahead seems too awful to be real. He is for us friend, even when we struggle against our circumstances. What can we do to trust him? We can praise him.
“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:1-3
“Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.” Psalm 118:19-20
Affliction follows us because we live in a world influenced by sin. Weeds grow where we don’t want them to. Attitudes form that war against what the Holy Spirit tries to accomplish in us. We deal with offenses against ourselves and others and struggle to reach for forgiveness. But God uses it all to bring us ever nearer his heart. If we let him.
We can let him when we remember. We remember his benefit and that his mercies are new every morning. We remember his kindness to bring us to repentance. We remember that in him there is no turning of shadow, but that he is light in our darkness. And praise helps us remember.
A Prayer for Praise
Holy God, You are the Almighty One, forever exalted, the Beginning and the End. You know my ways and you lead and guide me in your paths of righteousness. I rejoice in who you are. You are Bread of Life, Living Water, Holy One, Friend, Savior, Lord, Good in all your ways, and my Eternal Father. I praise you that you give me mercies every morning and that your grace is available to me when I need it. Your peace is my peace, and in you is my reward. I look to you for satisfaction because you satisfy my every need. You are my portion. You write me on your hand and hold me close to your heart. I cry, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord and worthy to be praised. In Jesus’ name, Amen
I fell up the stairs the other day (again). I promise I’ve walked those stairs numerous times and haven’t fallen down them (yet). But going up them? That’s another story. Falling forward is something I’m pretty familiar with. My toe hits the step first, then my knee and shin take the brunt of my weight, and I’m left limping the rest of the way.
Sometimes it feels like we go through life limping. We can’t seem to shake the regret that haunts us. Or we struggle with doubting God’s goodness. Or maybe there’s a habit that we can’t seem to shake. We try harder, but we’re left feeling weaker. When I’m feeling this way, I remember Paul the Apostle.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV
Even Paul had an issue that he struggled with. We don’t know what it was, just that he called it a thorn. Have you ever had a sliver you can’t seem to see well enough to pull it out? It aggravates and distracts. It throbs and pulsates.
But what did the Lord say to him?
- That God’s grace is sufficient.
- That God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
We can’t be strong in our own strength, but we can receive grace and strength from the One who made us and calls us his beloved children. Our weakness provides the ideal opportunity for God to display his divine power in our lives
Our weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties provide us opportunities to delight in God as he perfects his power in us. When we let him navigate us through our weaknesses, our glory and thanksgiving comes from a place of, “Only you, God. Not me, not my genius, not my strategy, but you.”
You are strong and I am weak. The burdens I bear feel too heavy and I’m not sure I can carry them any longer. So I lay them down at your feet and I lay me down on your mercy and grace. Will you work in me to strengthen me to follow you? Will you fill me with your grace and power so that I can run the race you have me on? You word says that I might be hard-pressed but I won’t be crushed. So, Lord, I look to you. You are my source of strength and power. I bring you my weaknesses and hidden hurts and say, “Help me. I cannot do this on my own.” Be my strength and show me your ways.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
I believe that God has good in store for you and that he’s holding you as you walk through the hills and valleys, mountains and meadows, and along cliffs and through deep ravines. Keep your eyes fixed on him, steady your heart, and hold onto him.
Sometimes joy is hard to find when we feel weak. Here’s an article to help: How to Count it All Joy
Trusting God gets easier the more we know his heart: What I learned about God in the book of Isaiah
Read about how I’m reframing my understanding of rejection here.
Jessica of Welcome Grace
Have you ever felt that your weakness holds you back?
Maybe you feel like your soul limps through life and you experience the same difficulty over and over again and that somehow you failed because you can’t quite seem to move past it.
I shared a post on Instagram a few weeks ago about exchanging our weaknesses for God’s strength and how it’s in our weaknesses that God demonstrates his strength. His strength isn’t dependent on me overcoming, but it’s because of him I overcome.
What do you need to overcome today?
What “middle” are you in? Marriage? Career? Parenting? Health crisis? The middle parts of our journey refine our faith because we’re far from the beginning and the end is not yet in sight. I’ve found comfort in a passage from Psalms 27:13-14:
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
A Hidden Strength to Remember
Next to this verse written in blue ink is the date 8/28/98 and nothing else. Nothing to indicate what was going on in my life, but I remember that season. That was the season in the middle of recovering from a miscarriage and praying for a child. The months passed and the middle grew ever longer. Despair fought a war with hope. I didn’t know what the end would look like, but I chose to stand on the declaration of these verses.
It takes courage to stand on a truth when you can’t see it for yourself.
It takes faith to wait believing God is still good when the voices around you tell you he’s not.
It takes strength to hold your heart steady when the storm rages.
Strength in Stillness
We read in Joshua 1:6 to “be strong and courageous”. It’s a battle stance. Face the winds that blow. Hold your ground against the enemy. And so we do. But we grow tired and weary. Our shoulders sag and we lose our balance.
Then we read in Psalm 46:10 to “be still and know that I am God.” So we rest. We cease striving and fall forward into him. Maybe we face plant in the muck of our life. Maybe we hide behind a closed door. We retreat so we can rest. And in that time we remind ourselves about what we know about God:
- He is good.
- He is faithful.
- He is victorious.
- He is our bread of life.
- He is our living water.
- He is with us.
- He is light.
- He is.
And in the stillness our courage grows and we stand strong and courageous once again. We square our shoulders knowing he has our back. We plant our feet knowing that he is our solid rock. We lift our hands knowing that praise is our most powerful weapon. We wait for the Lord and take heart because he is faithful to his promises.
Today’s Prayer for Hidden Strength
You are mighty to save, ever-faithful, and always true. I am confident that I will see you move in the middle of my middle. You are my rest and peace and I trust in you. Guide my hands, my steps, my thoughts, and my ways. Let me know your strength in me as I rest in you.
In Jesus’ name,
If you’re a parent of adult children, myself and a few friends put together a compilation of devotions to help you navigate parenting adult children with grace. You can get it completely free by clicking the link: Navigating Life with Adult Children
Here’s the post from instagram about exchanging our weaknesses for God’s strength.
If you’d like to learn more about my book, you can click here. I would so love and appreciate your prayers and support. It’s a scary/exciting adventure writing a book. (and slow)
As always, Blessings and prayers from my heart to yours,
Jessica of Welcome Grace