I dislike when things feel they are reeling out of control. How about you?
My husband’s death, and the months of multiple medical crises leading up to it, definitely created that feeling. Life after his death brought out insecurities as I viewed the landscape of my life. Every area was altered and I did not feel prepared for so much change. The question I faced, and we all face, is how to respond when life feels out of control. We can choose humility or pride based on this verse from James 4:6 (ESV):
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humility is the path to grace but pride is obstructive and interferes. I don’t doubt we’d all like to have God on our side and have His grace! Yet, pride can be pretty subtle.
Since the time of Adam and Eve, pride has proposed our limited perspective is more trustworthy than God’s. The serpent challenged God’s will and perspective was best for Adam and Eve. He dangled a forbidden “something more,” before them and they bit the proverbial apple of the knowledge of good and evil.
Pride asserts it knows what is best, but humility defers to the One who actually does know. Pride puts a hand up to God and humility invites Him to show Himself strong in His love.
The apostle Paul didn’t say he could do all things in himself but, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 (ESV). So the very things that feel out of control can work for us, if we respond like Paul.
As widows, our opportunities to experience God’s grace are daily–when we feel vulnerable, cannot fully trust our memory and ability to focus, or our emotions, and as we face the many “firsts,” that come our way. The many decisions that were shared and are now just us, are all “firsts.”
Humility says, “God make possible this very difficult decision.” Pride says, “I can do it myself. I don’t need to trouble God.” Humility recognizes God with honor. Pride magnifies self, problems, and pain, while minimizing God, His stature and love. Self-interest increases and God-interests and trusting Him decreases.
Grace follows when we recognize our weaknesses are assets, if given to God for His strength.
As I recognize my need, I can reach out and accept God’s loving provision for me. He understands our journeys and it is okay if we don’t have it all together. It’s better for God to have us and our lives in His arms. This is the opposite response of Adam and Eve.
Like Paul we can say, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Cor. 12:10 (ESV)
Please join me in a closing prayer:
Most Worthy God, thank You for Your everlasting love. We love ourselves enough to admit we need You more than ever. Help us to recognize quickly when we need to invite Your grace into the many hard things we face, so like Paul we find Your strength in our weakness. We are forever Yours and grateful, dear Lord! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Janene lives in the Dallas area, surrounded by her children, their sweethearts, two grandchildren, and a host of wonderful friends. Janene married her beloved Frank in 1972 and enjoyed 40 precious years with him. Four months after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Frank lost his rigorous battle against bladder cancer. Frank left a void so vast, it was like a black hole which threatened to swallow Janene whole. However, God’s faithfulness has been exceptional. As a retired minister at a local church, she spends her time painting, mentoring, serving in Stephen Ministry leadership, and seeks to trust Christ in this new season of life.