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Racing with Horses, Walking on Water, and Accepting My Weakness

I am tired of Hurricane Harvey. I am ready for all of this to be done and for things to settle down. I long for the routine, familiar, and predictable.

I have had enough of trying to limit or mitigate the effects of Harvey on my family and property. I have become worn out trying to control and make sense of how my church is recovering from the hurricane. I am just about through with the ongoing, and seemingly never ending, management issues related to hundreds of volunteers funneling through my church on a weekly basis to assist our community in the recovery efforts. The logistics of making it all work week in and week out, the delicate dance of being the pastor to all the personalities involved, is exhausting.

Add to this my broken heart for our community. I receive gut punches every day as I listen to the stories of evacuation, recovery, and rebuild. I steel myself to being able to do what I can each week and letting everything else go.

I am sick of people saying the Lord will not let me bear more than I can handle. That is simply not true. He is allowing it right now. I regularly convey this to the Lord God Almighty. I cannot do this, I say, at least I can no longer do it. I need this to stop. It would be better for me if it would all go away. In the wee hours of Friday morning, I got an answer.

"No, it is not going away. No, you are not going to get a break. No, things will not become easier. No, you will not be able to make it all work to your satisfaction. No, you are not going to reach a controllable, predictable status quo. No, the heartbreak will not get better soon. In fact, in some ways, the hardest parts are still to come. Stop whining and consider my servants Jeremiah, Simon Peter, and Paul the Apostle."

What have these guys to do with Rockport, Texas, post-Harvey?

In Jeremiah 12, the prophet has had enough. His ministry of speaking the word of the Lord to the people has not gone well. They do not listen. They persecute him for speaking the word of the Lord. The wicked prosper and mock God. It does not appear to be in anyone's best interests to listen and respond to God and His word.

God answers Jeremiah in 12:5, “If you have raced with men on foot  and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" Sure, Jeremiah, it has been tough, but that is nothing to what is coming. If what you have endured so far has worn you out and made you want to quit, how will you ever survive what is coming next?

How, indeed? How will Jeremiah ever be able to compete with horses? Impossible! The answer is found in Jeremiah 1, when God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet and promises that Jeremiah will face overwhelming situations, but God will be present in power to preserve Jeremiah and reveal Himself to the world. God would do it, not Jeremiah.

In Matthew 14, Jesus frightens the disciples in the midst of a storm. The disciples are riding out the storm in a boat, while Jesus walks on the waves. Jesus calls Simon Peter to come out to him on the waves. Simon Peter does it for a time and then sinks after taking his eyes off Christ. Jesus saves him. Jesus made Peter able to walk on the water. Jesus saved Peter when Peter's faith faltered. Everything depended on Jesus, not Simon Peter.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul describes asking Jesus to remove the thorn that tormented Paul. Paul was tired of suffering and asked the Lord for help. Jesus told him no, and promised only grace. Paul goes on to say in 12:9-10, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Paul's job was to be weak and needy. Jesus' job was to be strong, showing grace to Paul.

Here's what I think the Lord was saying to me: I am not the hero of this story. Jesus is.

The more I try to be strong, the more I try to fix things, the more I try to do what I cannot do, the more I will wear myself out. I must accept that God will, at times, place me in situations that are beyond me and painful for me, situations that will reveal my weakness, so that he can show himself to be present in power. I should expect to be given more than I can bear so God can reveal himself - his strength, his glory, and not mine.

I am not the hero. I am not the one who saves the day. I am the one who is in need of rescue. My rescuer/hero is mighty and strong. I am weak and needy.

So, what do I do? I keep going. I accept that I am weak. I pray, meditate, study and memorize scripture, practice simplicity, and serve others. I worship and surrender my life to Jesus. Doing these things opens my life to become more aware of the supernatural presence and power of God. I do this day in and day out. And God is strong in my weakness.


Denise Richardson said…
Excellent perspective. Thank you! Lord be with us each moment and each day.
Robin said…
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for these words.
Jennifer j said…
Thank you! "I am weak but he is strong" and "I know where my help comes from" get me through daily! You are right....God constantly and consistently gives us or allows us more than we can handle. I can't handle it but I know my God can and will because he knows, understands and loves me. His ways are true and perfect so though I may not see clear now I will ride the waves till I can see clear. Joy comes in the morning and it's clear and beautiful day filled with the son. Thanks again. We love you.

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