This past weekend our church had the privilege of partnering with several organizations to put on a Fall Festival for the high-poverty community in which our church is located. There were carnival games, bounce houses, face-painting, trick-or-treating, lots of costumes, and hot dogs with all the fixins. It’s something we’ve done every fall for the past six years, and each year it’s grown in size - with the crowd this year being just over 625 people. It was a wonderful time of interacting with the community, and building relationships with the other organizations so that we can strengthen the work we’re doing in that neighborhood.
However, it was also exhausting. And that’s why, when Monday morning rolled around, I found myself saying to God, “How about we have a chill week, this week? You know - no serious problems, no bumps in the road, and no emergencies. Just smooth sailing.” But before I had even finished the request, I could almost hear God say back to me, “What fun would that be?” And of course, He's right.
Now, I don't want to communicate that I think God is sitting up in heaven trying to figure out how to make my days miserable so that He can have fun. We serve a God of love who cares for us deeply, so He would never have a malicious attitude toward us for His own amusement. But the truth is, that same love which God has for us is what leads Him to take the challenges in our day and use them to help us grow. And it's in that growth that we can have “fun”. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul addresses this very thing when he writes, “Each time He said, ‘My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.”
In this passage, Paul is describing an ongoing conversation he's been having with God. Paul had a significant challenge in his life that he referred to as his “thorn in the flesh”, and here he writes that three separate times he prayed for this thorn to be removed from his life. And each time, God said, “No”. God didn't remove the thorn - instead, He gave Paul the grace to live with his situation. And that's what Paul's describing in this 2 Corinthians passage, as he tells us that our weakness provides an opportunity for God to show His strength.
This is a great attitude for us to grab hold of, because once we realize our weakness, then we're able to be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ. It’s actually the basis of our relationship with Him: we come to a place of being able to admit that we need saving, and can't do it on our own. So when we feel weak in ourselves, we need to go to Christ and ask for strength. In Him we will receive strength, and can then enjoy what He supplies through His Divine power and grace. What could be more fun than that?
So today, rather than wish for a day without problems, let’s admit that we're weak and we need God to help us through the day - whatever it holds. Then let's allow Him to shine through our lives, showing the power of who He is to everyone we meet.