“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.” 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.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (New International Version)
So, I feel like I have been under construction lately. Like God has ripped the rug right out from under me. Anyone? And when life was easier, for some reason it was also easier to trust the Lord. But now that it’s not as easy anymore, I’m being tested like never before. What’s a priority to me? What must I lay down right now? What are the things that I deem most valuable in my life? Do I really value people over things? What If I lay a dream down and can’t come back to get it later? Do I really trust God in everything?
I know I’m in a time of preparation and saying good-bye to some things has been hard. I thought that the Lord was moving me closer to some things very big in my heart, and now I realize I’ve got a few detours on the way. Now detours aren’t a bad thing, distractions can be, but not detours. Think about it- what’s usually happening when there’s a detour? A road is closed because it’s what? Being fixed. Well, even though we get annoyed at road closures and detours (that really messes with our flesh), what happens when the road is all fixed and the detour sign is removed? The road is new and the path is made smooth. All those imperfections (potholes) have been filled and it’s actually better to travel on than before.
The Lord has me on a little detour right now. The biggest thing He’s been speaking to me about is not trying to fix this road on my own (in my own strength). As women, we like to make sure everything is under control, and we have a plan for how everything will work out. We’re planners. We’re organizers. We want to try and take care of everything that needs to get done. But, I think sometimes we get so caught up in trying to figure everything out, we miss something very important (Can you hear the big truck in the construction zone backing up now?) Beep … beep … beep.
Wait a minute, why is that truck backing up now? Because the more changes and the crazier our life appears, the more we need to spend time in God’s Word. Or let me say it this way- we really need to hear from Him. You see, I don’t know how long this construction is going to take. Sometimes it feels like it’s taking forever. I started working recently, and it’s more hours than I would have chosen (but that’s okay). I have realized how precious that time is with Him throughout the day. If I don’t start my day with Him, I’m just asking for frustrations. But something happens when I set my clock to get up, well, early and dive into His Word. I’m like a little sponge. And throughout the day, I get squeezed a little. When I am squeezed, I’m hoping that I’ve had my fill and out comes Jesus, not the flesh!
I want so much to figure everything out. How I am going to make this new schedule work, pack lunches, make dinners, sign my kids school notes, field trip money, washing uniforms, helping out my husband with Children’s Ministry, spending quality time with my kids, sports, snacks? Well, you get the picture. Then I read this the other morning, “Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!” (- Galatians 3:2-5, The Message). That hit home- “responding to Gods Message”… responding to His written Word.
I can’t tell you how many times I try to do this thang on my own- in my own strength. I wonder if the Lord just sits up there and says, “Okay, Celeste, just tell me when you’re ready to ask for My help?” “Stop putting your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. How can they be of help to anyone?” (Isaiah 2:22). “For human help is useless. With Gods help we will do mighty things,” (Psalm 60:11b). “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord,’” (Jeremiah 17:5). Now don’t misunderstand me, God uses people (this we know), but He wants us to turn our hearts towards Him and seek His help before we just automatically look to others or try to do it on our own.
So, as I am under construction, as we all are, I am reminded once again of my reason to boast. I will boast in my weakness and the fact that I’m not supermom, who in her own strength can do everything. I am fully and completely dependent on Jesus if there is going to be anything to boast about! “As the scriptures say, The person who wishes to boast, should boast only of what the Lord has done. V. 18 When people boast about themselves, it doesn’t count for much. But when the Lord commends someone, that’s different!” (2 Cor. 10:17). “It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value ourselves. Our only power and success come from God,” (2 Cor. 3:5).
Lord, help us to take inventory of our own lives. Are we ashamed or embarrassed because at times our lives resemble what might look like a construction zone? Help us to boast about the fact that the only way it’s going to come together is when You construct it. Help us not to resent the detours but to learn and grow and come out even stronger from those side streets. Remind us that you are always working on our hearts to fill in those holes to make us even better for Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen!
Isaiah30:18– But the Lord still waits for you to come to Him so He can show you His love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for Him to help them.