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Archive for September 12th, 2021

That is how it is written, in Sharpie, on my stainless steal refrigerator.

when i … then he

I wrote it on my cool appliance months ago, when I was (to quote Anne of Green Gables) in the depths of despair.

It had been a rough day (and we all have those to walk through). I had had an interaction with a professional that left me feeling misinterpreted, unheard and as though I was a system user. You could say it was a personal worst case scenario and I was feeling it all the way down to my bones.

So, I did what came natural … I sobbed my eyes out. Felt the depths of hurt with each sob that racked my body.

Finally, I had to do something else, for, though the tears falling were availing a sense of release, they were doing nothing for the tension I was feeling from my head to my toes.

So I went for a walk.

Now, if you were to see me walking that day, what you would have seen was a woman on a mission. I marched fast, each step landing on the sidewalk with great force. Eyes straight ahead, wide open, yet unable to really see anything, anyone else … for they were completely turned inward, focused on the pain I felt.

I remember trying to pray, but realizing that if God was to hear my heart, it would have to be through my inner groans, for my brain could not form the words, until …

I remember in my frustration to pray thinking I just needed something to repeat, to focus on … to get the focus off this agony, off … me.

when i … then he

Four words popped into my muddled mind and I began to recite them, over and over, for the remainder of my determined walk. I walked hard and fast and I spoke them the same, over and over. It was not the words, but their meaning, that propelled me, that, eventually, slowed my mind, my heartbeat, my pace. Those four words and my chosen humility in speaking their truth, not just with my tongue, but with my heart, my mind … brought me home (figuratively and physically).

The words I spoke, I rewrote into my circumstance, were words of faith. These were the words of the Apostle Paul. Paul was speaking of that thorn in his flesh, the issue that he had prayed and prayed and prayed that God would take away … but God did not take it away. Paul’s response is this:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

So, I may have done a re-write here on scripture, my chant

when i … then he

written in scripture is actually

when i … then i

The thing is … I was chanting the words in faith, not in sight. Paul had been praying, and growing, and stretching in this area of a thorn, for years (possibly his entire life).

I was in the moment, feeling ever so weak, simply praying, in faith that God would be my strength, that he would carry me, would flood my body and mind with the Spirit of peace, that he would be my advocate of strength.

and He did.

I love how Matthew Henry speaks to this passage (this experience with God in our weakness) :

When God does not take away our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives grace enough for us, we have no reason to complain. Grace signifies the good-will of God towards us, and that is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort in all afflictions and distresses. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified. When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we feel that we are weak in ourselves, then we go to Christ, receive strength from him, and enjoy most the supplies of Divine strength and grace.

Matthew Henry Commentary

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