October 12, 2023
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Sometime when you're tired of pushing your way through the mall, just sit down somewhere and watch the children play. Yeah, playing the amateur psychologist, I've observed children relating to their parents there on three different levels. First, there are the kids who are running ahead of their parents - until they suddenly realize they are lost in a sea of legs. Now, at my height, I can relate to that feeling. Then there are also those children who are walking along, holding Mom or Dad's hand - they know the mall is not for the small, so they hang onto a tall. But my favorites are the little ones who are totally exhausted and sort of collapsed in their parents' arms. Their legs have gone on strike and their parents are carrying them. In fact, the child is often sleeping soundly with his head embedded in his parent's shoulder. You've seen them all. Sometimes, I've even said to a parent carrying a child like that - "Now that's the way to travel, isn't it?" It really is.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "How Your Weakest Time Can Be Your Best Time."
In those little children collapsed in their parents' arms is a helpful picture of how God may want you to be traveling right now. After all, you're pretty tired aren't you? It's been a long walk, a lot of pushing and shoving - your resources are pretty depleted.
Enter the Apostle Paul in our word for today from the Word of God beginning in 2 Corinthians 12:7. Paul says, "There was given me a thorn in my flesh... Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me." We don't know what Paul's thorn was, but, whatever it was, it was something that limited him, that frustrated him, that caused him pain. Paul thought what God would do was to miraculously remove it. God had a better idea.
Paul continues, "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 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."
Now, Paul's first reaction to the thing that makes him weak, that's beyond his control is pretty much the same as ours - he struggles with it. But eventually, he ends up celebrating it! Why? Because he has discovered a power he could never touch when he was strong. Like that child in the mall with no strength left - he's experiencing in his Daddy's arms a strength and stride he could never experience on his own two legs.
Those kids in the mall? They're a picture of how we experience God in a deeper and deeper way. First, we're running around, not caring where God is - until we realize we're lost and our Father finds us. Then, we move into walking along holding His hand, allowing the Lord to help us - I know I can't make it alone, but I'm still walking in my own strength. Then the "thorn" hits - something in my life that levels me. I can do nothing about it. It leaves me limp. It leaves me powerless.
That's when I discover how strong a Heavenly Father I have. Not just one who saves me, not just one who or helps me - but my Father who carries me. Now it's all Him! And you can go farther and faster in His arms than you could ever go on your legs! So you can honestly look at your powerlessness and say, "I'm glad I can't."
You see, at that point, you are about to taste God's grace and power as only powerless people can - and your struggle will become your platform for talking about a Savior who is all you need when you have nothing. Maybe you're still trying to get there on your own. Isn't it time to look up and say, "Daddy, carry me"? Because you're never stronger than when your Father is carrying you.