Summary: Four Things I Learned during my trials.
Lessons Learned in My Weakness
August 27, 2017
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believe, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
It is good to be back behind the pulpit (or music stand – as the case may be). I have just been through one of the weakest times of my life. For three weeks I couldn’t walk across the street without experiencing angina. That was tough not being able to go on my pray walk every day. But I learned a lot from my difficulty. I want to share a few things I learned with you today.
Some of you have been on this journey of mine for some time. You have feared for me, prayed for me, and stepped in when I needed you most. Thank you so much. My kids have been involved in the fear and trauma since they were teenagers. I had my first heart attack when they were in high school. Now all my grandkids are either in high school or graduated and they have shared this struggle with me all their lives. I hate being the cause of so much anxiety.
Of course Julie has been with me in all difficult times. When we lived on peanut butter and crackers in college – she was there. She was there in the early days of my ministry when we moved into our home that had the sheetrock hanging in shreds and Julie had to stack up wooded boxes for shelves in the kitchen. When God blessed us with a nice home and church – she was there when that first heart attack almost killed me. She was there every time for the 10 times they went into my heart and put in 14 stents, she was there when the defibulator was inserted into my chest and when I woke up from a triple by-pass operation, there she was. I’m beginning to think SHE’S BAD LUCK! Not really. I wish everyone could have someone with them to share the trials - and the blessings of life like I am blessed with.
The first thing I have learned through all this is 1) God is AMAZING!
The Bible says, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
God is amazing! To think of His Creation, including you and me and our bodies – it blows my mind! I thrill at the colors I see in the flowers and trees on my daily walk. The color, the shading, the texture – how fantastic it is to me. I won’t even get into the sounds and the feelings and the smells God created us with. Then think about the complexity of our bodies and how God heals out hurts and diseases. TEN TIMES they have been in my heart fiddling around! God has seen me through every time. I can’t help but praise Him. God is amazing and so deserving of our praise and devotion.
Secondly, I learned that it is in weakness I am most strong. Paul said,
“And (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When I was young, especially before I came to Christ, my self-esteem was in my strength. Many times, showing off, I would lift the back end of a small car up onto the sidewalk. I would lift girls above my head with one hand. Once I lifted a small trailer house up so my dad could change a tire. My reputation and esteem was in my strength. When I came to the Lord, He taught me that my self-worth was in Him – in His love for me. But you can imagine how tough it is for old people, who were once strong, to not be able to lift over 5 pounds. When your wife has to lift things for you and you call on your grandkids for their strength – it’s pretty humbling.