Sunday, April 30, 2017

Could it be any clearer?

When I read Jesus Calling this morning and one of the Scriptures was 2 Corinthians 12:9, I thought it would have been perfect to use with the blog I posted yesterday about my inability to make any real progress on becoming more organized and productive: 

"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9, New American Standard Bible)

Then I turned to my daily First 15 reading, where I saw this title: "His Grace Is Sufficient." Of course, I knew the Scripture: "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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  (English Standard Version)

I still wasn't prepared for what I saw when I turned to my third daily reading, The Upper Room. The title was "Diamonds in the Rough," and the quoted Scripture was: The Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (New International Version)

Did God read my blog??? It sure looks like He's trying to send me a message.

In Jesus Calling, author Sarah Young writes that our lack is "an opportunity to latch onto (Jesus) in unashamed dependence.  When you begin a day with inadequate resources, you must concentrate your efforts on the present moment. This is where you  are meant to live -- in the present." It is the place where God awaits.

From the Upper Room meditation, written by Marion Palmer of Australia: "God promises that His grace is sufficient for us and is, in fact, made perfect in our weakness. When at times we feel like our lives are like dry stubble, we can take heart in knowing that God's love, mercy and grace cover us and that we ... are made whole, precious and beautiful in God's sight."

In First 15, Craig Denison wrote: "We serve a God who turns our greatest weakness into our greatest strength. In his grace, all he asks of us is to have a heart open, willing and receptive to him. Our God is one who comes down to us and lays down his life that we might live through him. ... He has given up any form of personal gain to devote his entire existence to paving the way for us to have restored relationship with our heavenly Father."

The thing is, I know and believe this Scripture, at least it's how I understand God and Christ to view me. But it's not so easy to believe my husband and other family members, or my friends and colleagues in church, social settings and work, are so gracious and forgiving.

That is the stumbling block and the challenge. Can I trust what Christ says about God, that His grace is sufficient? Can I believe it is sufficient even when my shortcomings cause me to feel ashamed or less than or judged by others, or when I sense the tension or discomfort my shortcomings produce in my relationships with others?

It is very, very hard for me to trust God above my sensitivity to how others feel about me. And that's  a big source of the tension that keeps me from finding my best way. Am I really trusting God when I worry so much about what others think? But it seems selfish to not think of how my actions, inactions and shortcomings affect others, especially those closest to me.

But to read those three devotions just hours after posting about my weaknesses and inadequacies, I'm not sure it could be any clearer what God wants.

And so the journey to faithfully trust and obey continues.

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