Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Lars Janssen
In the summer of 2017, Sarah and I took our kids on a family road trip to Windsor, Nova Scotia. We went to spend time with Jay and Laura Callaghan and their kids and see some sights. This trip is especially memorable to our kids because of things like playing with the Callaghans, going to the beach, catching frogs, and driving through the night on our return trip. Though the time we spent with the Callaghans was memorable, this trip is especially memorable to Sarah and me because of the several emergency room visits which revealed that I had pneumonia, the especially feverish night when I was hallucinating, and driving through the night on our return trip because we just needed to be home. I learned a lot on that trip.
I learned that physical weakness cannot be overcome by trying harder. In my weakness, I lacked the strength required to act. I wanted very badly to do things, but I simply could not. I had become familiar with exhaustion—at the time we had 4 small children and a busy household—and I knew that up to a certain limit I could push through exhaustion. But weakness, I found, could only be endured and not overcome through any act of my will.
The Apostle Paul was learning about this when Jesus told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul struggled with weakness just like we do. But that weakness did not lead him to despair. His weak vision (or whatever his struggle was) did not inspire self-pity, it inspired awe. The same awe I can have at my God, who makes use of my weakness so “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” My weakness then becomes an opportunity to expect God’s wonders—to marvel at what God does with what little strength I have.
My mom passed away in 2015 and her birthday was April 12th. She would have just turned 70 years old this year. Thinking back on her struggle with weakness at the end of her earthly life reminds me that she is weak no longer. She is with Jesus and someday, believer, we will be too. Whether he comes back soon or we go to be with him, we will one day see that “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).
Nothing God does is without purpose. Even our weaknesses are an opportunity to glorify him. Will we glorify his sufficient strength when we’re weak? Will we glorify him by sharing our weaknesses for the benefit of others? Will we look forward to the wonders only God can do?
Central family, how will you glorify our all-sufficient God in your weakness today?
“God’s power operates best in human weakness. Weakness is the arena in which God can most effectively manifest his power.” -John Stott (1921-2011), English pastor and theologian
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -The Apostle Paul (2 Cor. 12:10)