Everybody has their grey days. The fog of life whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually descends and it’s tough to see clearly. Friday, was one of those days for me. It was a day where I felt like I was in a pit, and I couldn’t find my way out. It may sound dramatic, but I really did feel trapped. I could logically tell you that my physical body was tired, that emotionally I was on edge, and spiritually I was struggling to believe grace. But other than recognizing that all of those things were happening, I couldn’t seem to do anything about it; I couldn’t find my way out of them.
So often it’s easy to write on here when everything is good; when it all feels like a grand adventure. But truth be told, there are days of struggle. I hope that resonates with you. Because on Friday, I struggled.
As I sat on the bench in between weight reps, struggling to get my emotions under control, I was praying “Jesus, You say that Your strength is perfected in my weakness. Show me. Teach me. Help me to understand that.” Over and over I prayed that and what I expected was an overpowering strength to come over me and for everything to change. I expected to “overcome” and show how strong I was, and how strong my Jesus is… However, what I experienced was an overwhelming flood of emotion and a greater draining of strength. It didn’t make any sense. I was so frustrated and tired. So I laid down on the bench, worn out, and struggled through another set. Then I prayed it again, desperate, “Jesus, I’m struggling. Can you hear me? I’m so done right now. You say that Your strength is perfected in my weakness. Strengthen me!” Yet again, I fell further in. My emotions spiraled and I was done. I reached my breaking point. I didn’t get to power through the rest of the workout. I didn’t receive super natural strength to get myself together. Instead I broke. And I felt like I failed to show Jesus to my teammates and my coaches.
“My strength is perfected in weakness.”
Is it true? It doesn’t feel true.
So I sit here reading the whole passage, looking for clarity. Paul writes, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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.”
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
Am I content in my weakness? No.
I pleaded, like Paul, for God to take the fog. But unlike Paul, I did not find contentment in my weakness. It’s okay to plead, multiple times if you must, for God to take away whatever it is you are struggling with at the moment. But if the answer is no, for the sake of Christ, will you be content? Will I be content? Even when it doesn’t make sense? I don’t know exactly how His strength was shown amongst the struggle of Friday. But I believe there is a process He is working out in me. And a process I believe He wants to work out in you. Sometimes the Lord empowers us to overcome greatly. Other times He allows us to sit in the struggle. When will it be strength and when will it be weakness? I’m not sure. But of this I am sure, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” He’s shaping us to be a reflection of Christ. Can we rest in that? Let us rest in Christ.