Karen's Devotions

This is a selected collection of my devotions e-published on Daily Devotions, Journey Christian Church, Irvine, California; George Bragg, Editor. To join the mailing list, email George, gbragg@cox.net.

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As a 25+ year homeschooling vet, post-cancer, math prof, mother of five, master's track and field athlete, and certificated private pilot, I have a lot to share about what God has done in my life. In 2000 I began writing devotions as something to try when it seemed like accoustic pianists were becoming an endangered species at church. I have since found great blessings from writing and sharing. God is good.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Strength and Weakness

September 19, 2005
Strength and Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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One of the things that I have found prevalent in my life is the pressure, external and internal, to be strong. As a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, teacher, friend, or stranger, I have had to be strong spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically. When I have felt that I failed to be strong, I considered my weakness to be a negative or wrong thing. I finally understood today’s texts soon after I was diagnosed with cancer.

Within a span of two weeks I had two surgeries, found out Jeff and I were pregnant, and was poked and prodded more times than I wanted to remember. We prayed more than we had in our lives. I had great doctors. Christians globally prayed for me. Family and friends provided meals and babysitting. Under all the stress, I thought myself to be strong. But really, I was an emotional balloon over filled and ready to burst.

The “straw that broke the camel’s back” occurred during a visit to the endocrinologist to discuss a previous visit with the surgeon and my decision to forgo radiation until after the baby was born. A phlebotomist came into the examining room to draw blood for tests. She told me that lots of blood would be drawn, and recommended that I lie down. I had always been a model patient, but the sight of 4 vials set me over the edge. “I don’t want my blood drawn!” I snapped. “I’m sick of needles and blood tests! I’m not a pin cushion and nobody does it right!” The poor girl was shocked. She rushed out and returned with the nurse. I cried, “I’m sorry. I’m just not strong anymore.”

Paul validated his apostleship and purpose in chapters 10-13 of his second letter to the Christians of Corinth. In chapter 12 particularly, he said his great witness for Christ was not to be boasted. Verse 9 quoted Jesus to connect and explain the humanly idea of strength with God’s definition of strength. Then Paul went on to say he desired to boast about his weakness if that would increase his power in Christ. I believe Paul wanted to convey that what man called weakness, such as in submitting ourselves to God’s higher authority and guidance, was in reality true strength. It seems topsy-turvy, but my strength is limited. God’s is infinite.

The nurse calmly said, “Karen, you don’t have to be strong.” Whatever her intentions, she was right. I didn’t have to be “strong” by man’s definition. I needed to submit my emotional weakness to God and allow his strength to see me through.

Let’s begin today by using Paul’s as an example. Acknowledging to the Lord our weaknesses. Ask Him to strengthen you through today’s “insults”, “distresses”, “persecutions”, and “difficulties”. Then at the end of the day, thank the Lord for seeing you through. Praise the Lord. In Him, weakness is strength.