Friday, October 23, 2009

An Extraordinary God In an Ordinary Day

Every Tuesday, my friends and I gather for study and devotional time. This week we explored 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

…and then He told me,

My grace is enough, it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (The Message)

What I came away with was that bad things are going to happen and how I decide to deal with them, what I do with them, is my witness to Christ’s power in my life. My goal should be that God is glorified in my life even if it means I do nothing but admit my limitations and let God do the work.

God didn’t wait long to give me an opportunity to put this lesson into real-life practice. By ordinary standards, yesterday was not an extraordinary day. However, extraordinary it was – even if only in my own estimation. I’ll try to explain.

Years ago, I injured my neck in an accident and sometimes it will flair up causing incredible discomfort usually accompanied by migraines. Without the aid of medication and ice packs, the intensity of the pain and headache increases throughout the day until I find myself sick to my stomach lying utterly still with my eyes closed in a dark room in complete silence. Yesterday I woke up in pain. The flair up was bad enough that it hurt to hold my head up and the pressure on my neck from lying down was worse. This was bad enough, but I also was experiencing great discomfort caused by women’s issues, which meant I had a choice to make. The medication for the headache aggravates the other problem and the pain medication for that doesn’t do a thing for my headache and neck pain. I couldn’t take them both. I had to choose. Either way, I wasn’t going to feel well and I couldn’t miss work as I had too much to do and couldn’t put it off even for a day.

A headache and cramps – not the kind of thing people think about when they read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. But then, aren’t we supposed to be faithful in the small things too? So as I drove to work, I prayed. I didn’t pray for God to take the pain away though. Instead, I prayed that in my weakness his Glory would show through. I was in pain and irritable but I didn’t want that to be what people saw in me. I wanted them to see Christ in me. I wanted them to know his love and patience through me. I wanted them to walk away from me not affected by my problems but by his presence. I acknowledged my shortcomings and my weaknesses before the Lord and asked him to work through those in his strength and to his glory. God honored my request.

I was able to complete all my work and help others in theirs. Instead of withdrawing in my pain, I joyfully welcomed those who walked into my office and felt as though, when they left, they were blessed by our time together not because of my effort, but because of God’s work. The pain subsided last night to a barely noticeable ache so instead of needing to collapse in a dark room, I was able to do even more good work and praising God the whole evening for the accomplishments of the day. Last night, I went to bed thanking God for an extraordinary day and praising him for his obvious presence in it.

So how do I sum up this week’s experience? I guess it would be to remember that God strength is sufficient to carry me through every trouble, every hardship, and to never forget that God is always faithful – even in the small things. So I should be too.
About the pictures:
Deer Lake Park (October 2009)

1 comment:

Green Grandma said...

Wow. A powerful reminder for me to quit griping and focus on something beyond physical limitations. I should have read this sooner.