( 9 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. 10 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 12:9-10)
For the record, I realize my life is nowhere nearly as difficult as most of the world. I know that I am not living in nuclear fallout-land in Japan or in the slums of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. I am truly thankful for the "mansion" we live in. Though not anything near a mansion by American standards, most of the rest of the world would be thrilled beyond measure to have electricity (anytime of the day or night), clean running water (anytime of the day or night), a refrigerator, sewage system, multiple rooms with beds and clean sheets, internet access, a pantry full of food, etc.
With that said, we still sometimes find ourselves ill-at-ease in our circumstances. I think this is God's way of keeping us dependent upon Him and looking to Him for answers. It's no game. Our obedience and dependence on Him and walking out the steps He lays before us will help us to walk in His will and lead to our fulfilling His purpose for bringing His kingdom to earth.
(I might have just matched my long-winded pastor for a long-winded introduction!)
I had to lay groundwork.
I have been restless. And I still don't know why or exactly for what. I feel so much lately that I "just can't take it anymore..." What? Exactly? I don't even know. There just seems to be this time and energy and resource pressure that nearly takes my breath some days. Like I don't have the reserves to carry out all that is required of me, rather less give anything "extra" to anyone. I've become claustrophobic in my world. Aside from dreaming of making off in the middle of the night with my boys for some remote cottage in the corner of France with our slender savings account (seriously, not even sure we could get the plane tickets and a sandwich at the airport)..and asking God to show me what to do next...I have nothing.
Except an overwhelming call and unction (is there a better word for it?) to worship God. To just open my mouth and sing something. To be in His presence. To demonstrate my dependence. To open the eyes of my heart (groan for the 90's worship over-cliche) and listen for His voice.
You see, he almost ALWAYS talks to me during worship. I mean, I hear the words of sermons and they nourish me and cause me to think. But when it comes to a word of encouragement or admonishment, it really always happens while I'm singing. Sometimes it's the small voice, reminding me of a truth and sometimes it's just the actual words of the song.
Sunday was just such a day. The sermon was about God touching us through others, physically touching us for healing as James speaks of having the elders of the church lay hands on the sick and weary. And as Jesus demonstrated over and over in his walk on earth. The altar call was for the weak, weary, broken, etc. I was at the computer to run the words for worship. We would sing while folks were being prayed for, so I really didn't feel I could "abandon post." "Oh, but I am weary," I thought. Just. So. Weary. Overwhelmed at every turn. Physically tired. Mentally pooped. Spiritually crawling. So I sat there and just sang. Sang a song about being weary and tired and coming to the "rock" and the "fountain" for healing. OK. I'm hearing ya. But I still just wanted to be prayed for. (I was so close to enjoying my pity party)
And then we started singing that simple song, "Amazing Grace/how sweet the sound/Amazing Grace/now flowing down/from hands and feet that were nailed to a tree/His grace flows down and covers me..."
It COVERS ME. Covers. Not splashes a little on. Not drips. No flecks of grace. It COVERS ME. The doubting parts of me. The mean parts of me. The ugly parts of me. Impatient and disobedient parts...oh couldn't we all go on and on with that list? And his grace, the grace that Jesus embodied as he died, is sufficient to cover my doubts that God is working out something on my behalf. It is enough to cover that feeling that I've been left to do all of this alone. It is enough, or I say that what Jesus did on the cross is not enough. So, it is enough to believe that God will cover me with enough grace to get me from this life-claustrophobia into a place where I feel like I can be used by Him again and that I will not crumble to bits at any moment. It's enough. It just must be. For when I am weak, then He is strong.