Looking at me from the outside, you might think I pretty much have things all together. Sure, you may think that I mess up every now and then, in little ways, but it doesn’t seem like anything too major, especially when you compare it to my accomplishments and the way God is working in my life.
But I have a secret. There is something that keeps coming back to haunt me. I struggle with this thing over and over. Try as I might, I cannot seem to permanently disentangle myself from it. Sometimes it feels like there is a battle taking place for my very soul. When the temptation arises, I fight against it, but eventually I become so weary and I start giving in. I know what I should do, but I find myself doing the very thing I hate.
The struggle is exhausting and painful. Sometimes it feels like a huge thorn is lodged deeply into me, piercing my flesh and going all the way down to my spirit. And when I look at this recurring battle, in all its ugliness and pain, I can see just how broken I really am. In that moment, I cannot be prideful, I cannot fool myself into thinking I have it all together, I cannot pretend to everyone else that all is well. On my own, I am nothing. I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
And so I cry out to God in frustration. I ask him to take this thing away from me. His answer stuns me. He says no. But why would he let me keep struggling through this when he could just make it all better? I plead with him to take it away. It is too much. I cannot bear this own my own. And then the answer comes more clearly than ever.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
He tells me that he is not going to take this thing away from me. We all have things that we struggle with, some publicly, some privately. Humanity as a whole is broken, far from the way God intended us to be in the beginning, and I am no exception. I am humbled by my own humanity, my own weaknesses and failures and temptations. I realize that I cannot do this on my own. I cannot be perfect. I have no business being prideful.
And, in fact, if I were able to do just fine on my own, I would never be able to experience the amazing grace of God. There would be no need for it. The truth is, I don’t deserve this grace at all. Yet there it is, offered to me by a God who is able to use even my biggest screw-ups to remind me of his power and love.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! His grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness.
Inspired by Romans 7:15-25 and 2 Corinthians 12:1-10