By Kitty Hinkle
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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.
1 Corinthians 12:8-10
When I read of Paul’s affliction—his thorn in his side, and how he pleaded with God to remove it only to hear God say, “my Grace is sufficient”, I think of the many times I’ve pleaded to the Lord to relieve me from the struggles of widowhood.
While there are times I know there is so much victory in my life, there are equally times I find myself feeling lonely, overwhelmed or ridiculously inadequate.
Like when I can’t keep up with it all. There’s four of them (my kids) and one of me and I long for those times when my husband would take them all swimming and let me have that uninterrupted time to just collect myself, pay the bills, clean up my office and plan the next week’s schedule.
It seems that’s something I’ll never get over loosing, that feeling of having the time to pull it all together in a nice organized neat bow. Seems I’m barely able to get out the door to meet whatever appointment is next on my plate, and I’m terribly embarrassed when I’m late.
So what do I do when I’m late? I rush in and hide in the back, hoping no one notices. It’s kind of silly when you think about it. Who would harshly judge a single mom with four kids just because she struggles with her schedule?
I know who—me. For example, this morning I was to meet the summer camp busses dropping my son and all the other campers off. I knew where the meeting point was—I had met there a half a dozen times in past years. So when I arrived five minutes early, I congratulated myself—who says being a single mom of four boys is hard?
So as though to humble me, God arranged for the office park were we were to meet to be moved!
Yes, can you believe it? Six story buildings gone, replaced by a strip mall. The nerve of him! I was positive the office part was on the corner of Providence and Route 51.
Or was it Providence and McKee Road. Oops.
I glanced at my watch. Five minutes late. I turned around only to get stuck at the same light that I waited for going in the other direction! I’m going to look so stupid, I said to myself.
By the time I pulled in to the parking lot, I was fifteen minutes late and saw familiar faces of moms and dads. Oh, no, how long has my son been waiting. He’s probably the last one to be picked up!
Right behind me, the busses started pulling in and I relaxed. God’s so good! Not only would my son not know, but I betted none of the other parents would know either!
I parked the car and move toward the busses, saying hello to the other parents with a big smile like: see? No egg on my face!
Then I remembered—it isn’t me who got there before the busses. It’s God who planned all along to save my son from having to wait there by himself. In my weakness Christ’s power was revealed. Who was I to hide that from others?
I finally admitted to another mother how hard it was for me to keep track of the location. I was surprised when she laughed and thanked me. “Sometimes I think all the other ladies but me have it together!” she said. “It’s nice to see someone being rescued by busses arriving late!”
It’s a small step to telling a testimony of God’s strength, but I never underestimate these small steps. God knows our weaknesses and reveals His glory each time He steps in where we fall short. Tomorrow I’ll write to you about a close sister who has an affliction she has struggled with her whole life and can testify to God shining through your weaknesses. Her story gives new perspective on how our struggles with grief and loneliness can create a character in us humble and worthy of being a testimony to God’s strength.
For when I am weak, He is strong.