Tuesday, February 23, 2010

God's Power in Weakness

There are four days left in the Vancouver Winter Olympics … four days until I get my life back and Rick gets his wife back. You see every evening since they began, I’ve been fixated on my TV - vicariously experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

Actually, I did miss last Saturday night to attend a faculty dinner party. I handled the withdrawal by throwing caution to the wind during the dessert round. Other than that, I’ve been a diehard snow bunny from the warm safety of my recliner.

My husband, knowing my love for the winter Olympics, actually sent me a card that essentially said: See you in a couple weeks, Honey. Until then at least we’ll meet daily at the dinner table.

I’m not certain I have what it takes to get off the couch and throw a Double McTwist 1260 on the snow board half-pipe like Shawn White. But if God ever calls me to it, I’ll readily go into training - knowing that God doesn’t always call the equipped but He DOES always equip those He calls to a task. And we're all called to some task or another.

God equips His people to fulfill His purposes in many, many ways. As I mentioned in my devotion at P31 today, “God ensures – through the Bible, His followers, and His Spirit within us – that we each have what we need to run our best.” But the list of ways He does this extends beyond these “big three.” And today I'll mention one I'm quite familiar with.

It’s one that often comes as a surprise to me – the means of achievement I most often overlook. It’s also one that we frequently wish to do without: WEAKNESS.

The Bible clearly reveals that God works - and even shines - through our weaknesses. In fact, He accomplishes quite a lot this way. Enabling us to achieve something despite our weakness, enables Him to readily receive the glory.

While I like to imagine myself a strong, Olympic athlete, weakness is something I am intimately familar with. As I strive to show forgiveness despite the hurting areas of my heart … as I sit to write, feeling uninspired … as I strain to turn the other cheek when insulted ... as I stand to face an audience of unbelievers I’m tasked with reaching … or as I kneel to pray over a parenting dilemma that has me perplexed… I must reach the point of realizing and acknowledging: God, I don’t seem to have what it takes to do this. I am too weak ... not prepared … not equipped ... not enough. I need Your empowering Spirit.

It is then that God’s grace, wisdom, and provision begin to flow - from His eternal throne, into me and my situation. My (acknowledged) weakness becomes the point of contact through which God's power breaks forth from there to here, and shines the glory of God in this world.

Let’s face it, friends, the situations we don’t feel weak in, we rarely invite Him into. We make little room in those for a point of empowering contact.

Sometimes that's because He's already equipped us - maybe even hardwired us from birth - for the task. Other times we're treading on the thin ice of self-sufficiency. Sometimes we don't feel weak, but we are.

The situations we encounter our weakness in - and feel it - we usually look to avoid. We'd rather be free of weaknesses. So we deny them, excuse them, hide them, resent them and/or try desperately to overcome them. God, however, wants to use them.

He will equip us to do what we naturally cannot when we’re walking with Him in His will. If there is an obstacle in your path - a hurdle you can’t seem to jump - acknowledge your need for His help, be sure you are following the training manual called the Bible, and trust Him to lift you over it.

PS. I really want to end this post right there - it's a postive, feel-good place to end.  But I think I'd be amiss if I didn't add that if - after acknowledgment of weakness, and obedience, persistance and prayer - you still can’t clear the hurdles, double-check with God that you’re on the course and pace He intends for you to run.

I'm giving thanks today that God enables us to run the race He has set before us ... sometimes even with the flair of a Double McTwist 1260.

I’d love to hear how God equipped you for an assignment He gave you. Was it through His Word, through a friend, through prayer, or through collasping in a heap of weakness at His feet? Or perhaps through another way not yet mentioned today. Encourage us with your story in the comments – I’ll read them during the commercial breaks in tonight’s Olympic coverage.


  1. Through you! I really needed this post as I work on my book. I'll be back to read it again tomorrow when I head back to my recliner to start back up to my writing!

  2. I feel He has equipped me with every single one of the possibilities you have listed in your last paragraph.

  3. Rachel~
    I LOVE the Olympics as well! I am pretty much a loner with this passion in my home as well. My all time favorite moment was the interview Evan Lysacek after he beat the Russian ice skater. I made my husband and 18 year old son sit down and watch that. I thought Evan displayed an amazing strength that went far beyond the sport! I would love to have a copy of just that interview to use again and again in my teaching!
    Talk about grace, grace, grace! It was awesome!
    Thank you for sharing your insights! You have been inspirational!
    Sweet Blessings!

  4. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for your devotion tonight. I am in Vancouver - and LOVING it! We've had the privilege of attending 4 events, and the joy and unity these games bring is exhilirating!
    But these Olympics are certainly a distraction. I've got my own writing project deadline, and am feeling anxious, at times, about making it. I am trusting God to equip me and help me.


  5. I absolutely loved your P31 devotion today! It was powerful and an inspiration. Just what I needed to rev me up for the day ahead. Thank you for your divine insights.

    Vicky Sharp

  6. God has used his Word to equip, affirm and change me time and time again.

    It's happened on multiple occasions that a verse will come up in my study, in the sermon that same week and on the radio or somewhere else random! I love that.

    My husband and I are the kind of people that others just don't quite understand because we are willing to do whatever God's plans are and be out of our comfort zone.

    I need God's Word to guide and steer me and sometimes shove me in the right direction.

    Thank you for devotional and your love for the Olympics.


  7. WOW! I am so glad I read your post today. How encouraging... as a huge winter olympics fan, I find God talking to me through it as well. (Today I compared marriage to downhill skiing :-D).

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

  8. I enjoyed your Proverbs 31 Devotional today, and thought I would share with you a blog by my daughter, who is a college intern with NBC at the Olympics, through Asbury College. Her job is filming the medals ceremonies at Whistler, so for all of the snow sports! God is gracious to teach us to trust him through all of these experiences.

  9. I loved reading your post today! While I'm not such a "die-hard" Olimpic fan, I am amazed at their God-given athletic abilities!
    This post seems right on time as I feel like I'm at a 'stand still' in my relationship with God. I feel like sometimes I try too hard to hear from God in my own strength. I love what you wrote about admitting our weaknesses and allowing God to use His strength to help us clear the hurdles in our lives.
    I feel like I'm growing deeper in my relationship but at the same time I also feel like I should be "doing" something--hope that makes sense!

    I realize I can't see what God is doing 'behind the scenes' and that's always diff. for me. However, I'm learning to just trust Him.

    -Amy V.

  10. Thank you for this blog and today's (2/24) Proverb 31. I am going through what is one of the hardest things ever - the end of my marriage - something hard and horrible that I never thought I'd experience with my husband. For months I have been struggling and this morning I asked 'Why wasn't I enough?' Then I read your blog and can you imaging that the two words Not Enough" jumped right out and God answered that question. Thanks for encouragement, the right words and God's heart.

  11. And what kind of shoes are we to put on? Shoes of peace.

  12. God uses my husband all the time when I am struggling with something. Just last night my husband knew what I needed in the midst of dealing with my disobedient 13 year old son and me lying in bed crying my eyes out, asking what more does it take to get through to him. I felt like a failure as a parent and didn't want to do it anymore. My husband reached over to his nightstand and began to read the Bible to me including the beatitudes. That reminded me of how much God blesses me and that He is even blessing me through this difficult time. I praise God for the amazing gift I have in my marriage.

    "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

    Edie G

  13. Rachel, Love your devotional, blog and shared interest in the Winter Olympics! My favorite has been the ice dancing - exquisite!

    I, too, realize I learn much from the Lord in my weakness. Although it's often hard in struggles and trials, Jesus does reveal Himself and His Presence, through His mercy, during times of weakness.

    Love, Andrea

  14. I love the Olympics, too! And not having TiVo or a DVR have resorted to having my husband video tape for me on nights when I must be out at rehearsals, etc.

    I have found that when I am at my weakest, when I finally cry out to God "Help me, Lord. I can't do this alone" is when He reaches across that chasm from His throne to my heart and touches me and calms me and then stays right there by my side. Oh, that I would remember to reach out to him before I become desperate. But I am so thankful and honored that He hears my prayers and answers me!

  15. Hey, Rachel! I loved your P31 post today. Being a runner, and having my boys compete in XC and track, I was truly touched at Rick's friend and coach. I love how God equips us to do his work. He truly does give us what is needed to run our best for Him. Thank you, sweet friend!

  16. Rachel,
    I loved the P31 devotional for today, and am amazed as I look at my life how God has given me what I need to follow his plan. I remember the moment nine years ago when the Lord began tugging at my heart about homeschooling. This was very scary to me as I had always said I would NEVER - yes, I know never say never. Through a year of research and the Lord "planting" people in my path, we made the move to take my son out of school and begin the homeschooling journey. I have had to trust the Lord to give me discernment and wisdom because I have many times felt inadequate and that "I don't know what I'm doing". He indeed has been faithful! What I thought would indeed end by middle school has indeed progressed to high school! I have to rely on HIM to give me what I need each and every day. I thank the Lord he knows what he's doing and his plans are far better than anything we could ever imagine!
    Thanks for your continued encouragement through your posts and P31 devotionals.

  17. I just recently found Proverbs 31 Ministries and loved your devotional today and this post. God has certainly used my weaknesses to glorify him. I've had to learn to step out of my comfort zone and trust Him! It's always amazing to me how he is able to use just the smallest amount of willingness. We acknowledge our weakness and He is able to open up doors we never thought were possible. (Or jump hurdles we thought were too high :) ) Thanks again for this.


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