September 26, 2014
By Laura DiFatta
Today, I got up with a heavy sense of my own inadequacy. My feeling of “I’ve got this,” was replaced by, “I need help, now!” Lately, before one challenge I’ve dealt with has had a chance to gather dust, here comes another one. I’m sure I’m not alone. Right?! The many roles in which you and I live and operate tend to often bring out our weaknesses.
Who enjoys feeling or looking weak or admitting weakness? I often find myself struggling to gain a foothold in my own sufficiency. And even in much of my praying, what I’m wanting is for God to help me be more self-reliant, in essence, not to need. If I just try harder to be a great mom, etc. But, ugh! I keep falling short! Can you relate?
Fortunately, our cries for help do not surprise or overwhelm or displease God. Early this morning, I found solace in the Psalms. The psalmist’s writings are full of his own emotional honesty and expressions of need and many examples of his crying out to God for help.
After the Psalms, I began reading where I had left off yesterday in the book, A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. What I began to read immediately got my undivided attention: “Prayer is bringing your helplessness to Jesus.” Miller went on to quote Thomas Merton, the Trappist Monk: “Prayer is an expression of who we are…We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.” Wow! Talk about just what I needed to hear! I was eager for more.
I am not even kidding, this is what I read next: “Prayer mirrors the gospel. In the gospel, the Father takes us as we are because of Jesus and gives us the gift of salvation. In prayer, the Father receives us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of help. We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers.”
Miller gives us encouragement as Christ-followers with this statement, “strong Christians pray more because they realize how weak they are. Weakness is the channel that allows them to access grace…” He goes on to say that as we mature in Christ, we actual see our deep need for Him more and more clearly. This results in an ever deepening maturity in relationship with Him based in dependence on Him.
The apostle Paul experienced, taught this and lived this! When writing about a specific, chronic hardship in his life, he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, “But he [The Lord] 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.”
With that same opposite-world thinking, we can celebrate our weaknesses because our confidence is in the power our Lord Jesus will exert in us! He will fill up our lacking, meet our needs and grow our faith! We were not made to do life on our own. And God doesn’t expect us to! In praying to God, acknowledging our need for His help, we will find—like Abram did—that God truly is our “very great Reward.” (Genesis 15:1)
“Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us…” Psalm 80:9
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5: 6-7
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: 5-6