I’ve learned something over the last few years. God lives in an upside down, backward, sideways economy. At least according to human standards. For me, the prime example is how God does the most good inside my weakness. He uses my most broken moments to transform me and impact others.
“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” (II Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV).
Weakness leading to strength? The idea wars against all I’ve been taught. All that feels right. What about God helps those who help themselves? What about pressing forward? What about carving my own way?
Be a leader. Take charge. Tap into your inner god. Those are qualities the people most respected in our world share.
So why does God ask me for my weakness?
Contrary to what I’ve been groomed to believe, I’ve discovered anything I do in my own might finishes the job, but falls short of true transformation. In my life or in anyone else’s. My weakness, my inability to make anything right, becomes God’s muscle, His potency.
Wrapping my head around that craziness feels nearly impossible most of the time. Rather than wrestle with the incomprehensible, I’ve learned to just go with it.
When I pray, really get-down-on-my-knees pray, I think power, praise, and prone. Those three ideas drive the moments I spend prostrate at His throne.
Power because He is King of the Universe. A being more potent than Gandalf, Harry Potter, and all the X-men combined. Deep inside, I desire that power. Not to own it, but to be held up by it. We can invent commanding fantasy characters that give the illusion of empowerment, but that’s all those characters are—a fantasy.
And in my own human strength, I am nothing. When my son lay in ICU after a seizure triggered by chemo meds, I had no control over whether he lived or died. I had no control over the cancer destroying his body. Couldn’t change it. Couldn’t fix it. Couldn’t kill it.
Thinking good thoughts? Wishing for luck? Hoping for the best? All worthless in the light of life and death. A brick façade of a building propped with two-by-fours.
I had to go to the One who holds dominion over disease. I had to go to the source of life and pray Jesus’ saving blood in exchange for Kyle’s dying blood.
Praise because affirming words breathe life. Gratitude goes a long way toward a repeat performance. God doesn’t have to do anything for us. He already sent His son to die, set up our eternity, and righted the wrong we caused. He could have walked away with a clear conscience.
But He didn’t.
He chose to care about the details of our lives. And that is worth much more than a single thank you. I can never be grateful enough. But I can try.
I love worship songs and reading scripture out loud. God inhabits our praise. He craves adoration. He’s given me so much. Shouldn’t I give back what little I have to offer?
Prone because horizontal shows my submission to the One greater than I. I have literally gotten on my face—broken, sobbing, and bleeding on the inside—before God begging Him to change my life. Heal my son. Transform my marriage. Save a friendship. Work out finances. Renovate my child’s heart.
Only when I come bowed and humbled in the gaping hollow of my weakness can I give over all of me to all of Him. True weakness is my emptiness without Him. If I can kill all my delusions of strength, there is room for God to inhabit my heart and work miracles in my life.
How has prayer transformed you?