“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness…” II Corinthians 11:30.
Who, in their right mind, wants to brag about the things in which they are weak? The last thing I want to do is even think about them. My weaknesses frighten me; they are places that seem out of control, they make me look bad in the eyes of others. I want to hide them, forget about them and run in the opposite direction of them. They can be shameful, embarrassing and hurtful. Perhaps on a day when I am feeling particularly confident, a bright sunny day in my heart with lots of warmth, then maybe for a brief moment; I might pull them out in a very private time between me and the Lord and look at them. I would ask Jesus to heal me from them, to learn something, but mainly to be healed from them so I don’t have them anymore. Jesus, take them away, please. My weaknesses make me vulnerable; they sometimes bring me great pain. Remind me again, why I would want to boast, proclaim or acknowledge them?
It has been very cloudy lately, like in my heart. I like clear brilliant blue sky days with an occasional fun fluffy white cloud that can be easily identified as a cute cuddly puppy or a grand cruise ship off on an adventure. But lately, with the remnants of a hurricane coming ashore, the grey clouds and some mean looking black ones cover the sky. These clouds move fast and suddenly you might get a brief glimpse of clear sky with white fluffy clouds letting you know that they are there. Then as quickly as they appeared the grey clouds move over them hiding them from my view. Clouds are important. Some bring the much needed rain. On overcast days, clouds bring a break from the intensity of the summer sun.
Humility is the Christ likeness pill that is difficult to swallow. It is like the gloomy clouds that seem to destroy your beautiful clear, everything under control kind of day. Humble the opposite of arrogant. Arrogant, what we become when we focus too much on our areas of strength and somehow begin to think we are all that by ourselves forgetting the divine blessing. Humility is a Christ likeness characteristic, a willingness to put my selfish desires aside for a moment and serve someone else, to not focus on my strengths, but to allow God to use my weaknesses for His purposes.
I don’t think I am ready to boast about my areas of weakness, but I think I can begin with offering them back to God. Here they are God; I give them back to you. If there is anything you want to do with them to help others, make me more like you, whatever God. Here they are. The rain is coming down now in full force, pounding the above sky light like bullets hitting a tin roof. Clean refreshing rain like the grace of God. So undeserving of His love, but when we receive it, He washes us clean again and again, renewing our strength for another day.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” II Corinthians 12:8-9.
Oh, it’s clear skies again for the moment.
Nobody knows what my weaknesses are how deep they go how big the scars.
You do, oh LORD. You know. You take them and hold them shape them and mold them.
Then, Oh how, I don’t get. How You use them, yet.
My weaknesses become Your strengths. You go to incredible lengths and somehow in time My story becomes Your Glory.
(“If I Must Boast” was written last summer. “His Glory” was written this past October, while at the Abbey in Massachusetts. I thought they went nicely together.)