One of my very favorite things about Jesus is how much he loves to be present in our weakness. Paul writes in Romans that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. But this is also one of the doctrines of the church I think I don’t really get—or at least I only get it in glimpses, occasionally.
And that is because I fool myself into thinking that what makes me worthy is my successes. Because that is the way the world works, isn’t it? I mean everyone is all over the Seahawks and their success. If someone does well in their job, loses some weight, or has successful kids we give them most if not all of the credit. And if they lose their job, gain weight, or have a kid who disappoints, they get the blame.
But it is interesting because Jesus doesn’t care about that kind of stuff at all. He told a story once about a boss who had all these guys work for him—some for the whole day, some just for the very end of the work day. And he paid them all the same exact amount of money. It didn’t matter if one was there in the heat of the day or one had stayed home and been lazy most of the day. They all got the same.
I usually think of this parable Jesus told as being about how our works don’t matter—we are saved by grace. But as I have been with some friends lately who are going through cancer, I also wonder if it is about Jesus meeting us and giving us what we need no matter who we are or how long we have been around. And the guy at the end getting the same amount? Maybe he was the weakest worker and he needed it more.
When I have gone through the hardest times in my life, in a way it has felt like it was then that I was broken open in some way. Like when my brother died, I remember our family could hardly do anything. All we could really do was receive—people doing the laundry, bringing food, hugging us and sharing our tears.
Again and again, we would think we can’t do this. There is no way we can live through this pain, and then someone would grab a hand and squeeze and we would know we weren’t alone. We were not empty—we were being filled.
It was like we had been broken into a vessel that God kept pouring his grace and goodness into. And even though we would take Marcus back in a heartbeat, our scars, though still there, were eventually healed.
God fills up the emptiness of our lives all the time. But I wonder if when we are doing well, winning, or at the top of our game, our eyes are too focused on ourselves, and how much we don’t need help or don’t really need to be filled that we don’t notice it.
But God’s power is not made perfect in our perfection. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, because it is only in our weakness that we can know WE are not God.
One of my kids, not matter how tired he is will NEVER admit he is tired. I know he just needs to surrender. That if he lays down and gives up he will feel so much better but he wants to watch one more TV show, or read a little bit more, or play with Legos for 10 more minutes. It is so hard to know what he needs, and not be able to get him to see it.
I wonder if that is at least a little bit how God feels. Here we are. We want to keep striving after this or working on that. And if we just give up, we might know God’s power and presence in a way we simply cannot know if we keep on striving.
I have heard people define grace as a good night’s sleep. And you can’t get one of those without letting go.
What striving do you need to let go of? What control? We are broken–every one of us. There is much brokenness and hurt in our community and in our schools. We are in need of being filled up with God’s grace. And God is already filling us up. I pray we can let go of our own selves long enough to see it.


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