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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Out of the Well

“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” (2 Corinthians 12:9-11, NIV).

In my weakness, He is strong. When I am weak in an area of my life and I surrender my weakness to His power, He comes and brings His strength where I have never known strength. His grace is all I need, and his power is the greatest where I am the weakest. Often that surrender comes after I have exhausted everything I can do to make a change. It comes when I finally understand in my mind, body, and spirit that control is not meant to be mine. If my weakness is over something that I have no control, then the Holy Spirit brings me the power to have His control. But the key—the very key to this promise comes in surrender of my will to His will.

If I believe that I have completely surrendered my will to the Lord in every area, I need to look again. I need to understand that absolutely surrendering my control to His control comes when I have decided that my human attempts are worthless. Sometimes I find myself at the bottom of my own self-constructed well. I hear the enemy whispering “you will never get on top of this” and “you are a failure.” I will never get on top of it in my own strength. I will fail without God’s power. Those whispers of the enemy are true only if I don't surrender and allow God to make the changes that need to be made.

When I am at the bottom the only way is up. I can either keep trying to climb out of that well by myself, or I can give up and reach for the hand God continually extends to me. It is in the dying to my will that He comes and brings new life. It is absolutely possible for me to find a way out of that well in my own strength, but I will only end up at the bottom again. When I finally understand that nothing I attempt in my own strength will make a lasting difference—when I surrender (often struggling) every day to God—when I decide that nothing has the power to change me but God—when I let go of my own attempt at control and allow Him to give me what I need for the daily battle, then His power comes to overcome my weakness. Not only will I climb out of my well. I will stay out of that well.

Each day that I surrender my weakness to His power, I know He is strong. That knowledge and the experience of His power encourages me to reach for His hand again the next day. I know that if I continually surrender He will faithfully bring His power to accomplish what I can’t. The desires that fuel my weakness always beckon, but so does He. I would rather surrender to Him than surrender to the well.

Lord, help me to always realize that surrendering my will daily to you is the only real life. Your life in me is the greatest paradox—that in dying I live—that in losing control I discover your control—that in my weakness I discover your strength. Those slippery walls that have always allowed me to slide right back to the bottom of the well are finally scaled with your power.  In my weakness, I have experienced your power. I rejoice that in my surrendered weakness, your power is perfected. I look back upon my well from your heights, and declare that only you will keep me out of it—only you and a surrendered heart.

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