I am reading Pastor Scott Saul’s recently published book, “From Weakness To Strength”.
Scott speaks to a place in my heart that is riddled with personal doubts, memories of failure, moments of grief and tragedy, and an overall sense of frustration with ‘life in ministry’.
As I power through 2018 with all the stuff of life, I am finding that my mid-50s are not exactly turning out as I planned. Certainly, not as I hoped when I was 25 and filled with huge dreams, aspirations, and an unwavering over-confidence in myself.
Death has visited my family more than a half-dozen times now since Hurricane Katrina ravaged our little piece of existence. Cancer and other terminal illnesses have seemingly stolen what might have been left in our souls as a ray of hope. And these monsters we call disease have no regard for age, gender, or station in life. These demons, and yes they are evil spiritual beings, have but one agenda — kill, steal, destroy. The Bible discusses this and as a good Bible belt ‘Christian’, I should’ve known to be prepared. But, I was not. My wife and children were not. My extended family were not.
All of a sudden, in moments of death and tragedy, our preschool Bible memory verses and sing-along tunes seem haunting and useless. The whispers of the enemy in our ears speaks mockery, accusation, and revels in twisting the knife of pain during these solemn moments of hopelessness.
Weakness is a word that near-perfectly describes the emotion of these desperate moments. Weak. Afraid. Bitter. Resentful. These words describe the range of emotions that come with death and tragedy.
Scott describes different levels of weakness in his book. As he chronicles his perceived rise to fame and achievement in ministry, Scott reminds us all that “the intoxication of ambition” is relentless. Ambition and drive are the fuel of go-getters and producers. We pride ourselves in the ability to power through, to overcome, to get back up one more time. We cue up our Rocky Balboa playlist, hit the gym or walking track, suck down our caffeine, and blast towards the goal.
Inevitably, we fall. We get injured. We get fired. Or demoted. Or displaced. And in those moments, our weakness is revealed.
King David, when his weaknesses [plural] were revealed countless times in scripture, nearly always confessed, ” … I have sinned against You O LORD …”. Scripture also describes David as a man after God’s own heart. David is frequently displayed as a warrior-poet-king who was quick to admit weakness.
Contemporary artist and songwriter Stephen Curtis Chapman penned a classic ballad in the 1990s that rings true for me to this day. My prayer … once again … in this season of weakness is that God will be revealed as strong and mighty in my life, when my strength is gone.