The eighty-year-old was tired. His hands were weary. Victory or defeat were in the balance. He needed help.
God chose Moses, a man who doubted his own abilities, to lead his people out of captivity. But Moses did not do it alone. His brother, Aaron was by his side, his strengths compensating for Moses’ weaknesses. God’s power was demonstrated through the words and actions of these men.
But the challenges Moses faced did not all drown in the sea. Different difficulties arose with the freedom of this newly forged nation. Food and water were lacking, and the people’s trust in God seemed tenuous in the best of times. Continue reading “Weary hands”
At times some might begin to think that the apostles and prophets we read about in God’s word lived lives that were free from the cares and worries that we have to go through, that in some way God protected them. Yet when we read the pages of scripture we discover that they were people just like us, and dealt with pain and sorrow, discouragement and despair just as we have to do.
Christians are sometimes ashamed of their weaknesses, because the world will not — cannot — admit them. So we hide them, to our detriment. They are not to be flaunted, nor given rein, but they are to be confessed and delivered up to Christ, so that his power may work in them and through them.
The words of the apostle Paul about his weaknesses are not strange to us. But weakness is affirmed for the Lord Jesus as well.
“For indeed he was crucified by reason of weakness, but he lives because of God’s power. For we also are weak in him, but we will live together with him, because of God’s power toward you” 2 Corinthians 13.4. Continue reading “How to succeed by being weak”
Pansies in the South have been phenomenal this year. They are the larger flowering subsection of the Viola family of plants, usually with a well defined blotch or eye zone.
One noteworthy exception of this successful pansy season is our yard. What with health challenges and other things occupying our time, the annual “planting of the pansies” did not occur at the usual time last fall. In fact, one half-flat of these charming annuals has been languishing on the mulch around the old cherry tree all winter.
It won’t make much sense to plant them now, as the weather heats up, as much as I love them. By the end of springtime, they usually are leggy and fried by the hot sun, even when they got the right start in the autumn.Continue reading “What a pansy!”
I’m not very generous with plant food. Once a new plant gets established, it rarely gets more than what our poor clay soil provides. There is a downside to this failing of mine; the plants can grow weak and spindly and don’t produce as strongly. Their stems don’t hold the pretty flowers erect like they should. The resultant flopping into the lawn is not a pretty sight!
We humans are inherently weak! Yes, the human body is a marvel of creation in many ways. The brain is even more magnificent in its complexities and in the way it works. But what of the soul that inhabits this body? It is pitifully weak and practically helpless.
How weak? So weak that we have a problem even getting help for that deficiency! James says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…” (James 1:5, RSV). Yet, Paul describes how the mere process of asking God for help needs God’s help.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26).
The sooner we realize that we are not as powerful and self-sufficient as we pretend to be, the sooner we can access the strength of our all-powerful God.
Consider how God uses the weak. Women are rightly called “the weaker vessel” in scripture because we are made with smaller muscles, as a general rule (1 Peter 3:7). However, we exhibit more strength than any man in carrying a child and giving birth! Men will readily admit that this is a job they couldn’t do even if they had the equipment for it.
“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” The influence of women, the “weaker” sex, is far-reaching and more immense than most of us can imagine. This extends way past the bearing and rearing of children. Do not doubt the power hidden by a weak frame.
Even our blessed Lord came as a weak, helpless baby. He voluntarily gave up unspeakable splendor, glory and honor in the presence of the Father, in order to give us the power to become children of God.
“But emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature” (Philippians 2:7, NET).
He asks us to do likewise. We become weak, acknowledging our dependence on our Creator, in order to do his will. It is only then that the power of God can be truly revealed.
The apostle Paul explains this paradox. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I don’t have the power to help my weak little plants, because I neglected to give them nourishment when they needed it. Our loving Father is with us every moment and gives us what we need to become useful to him. If we are made weak, he will show forth his own strength to us and through us.
The tiny baby in Mary’s arms was poor, helpless and weak by all appearances. But what a difference he made! Praise God!