I am writing this on my iPhone in my tenth day of illness, flat on my back, tears dried in tracks down my cheeks. This is not how I wanted to begin. Recently I wrote about my summertime workaholic collapse, the lessons learned, and the coming commencement of all my major projects and ministries, all at the same time, all in mid- to late September.
Well, it is here. In the final weeks, my goal was to rest, gather strength, and prepare. God had other ideas.
“If our eyes aren’t on Jesus, if we aren’t consumed with our passion for him, if we aren’t driven by love for others because of his love in us, it’s all vanity and chasing after wind. Our words and admonitions are meaningless. We give a prescription without calling others to the only source of healing.”
From my sickbed I fed these words into a comment string on a blogpost by Ed Cyzewski about how our words and actions often point others away from Jesus, rather than to him. He wrote of how we pursue our own goals, seek our own agendas, and toss Jesus out along the way. These were my meditations while fighting this pernicious infection.
Jesus drove this home. His prescription for my self-adoration and self-reliance was to allow me to be knocked flat. My illness worsened, medications failed, and I came to the end of myself. In this state of weakness I realized just how broken, ruined, and needy I truly am. I need the Spirit’s filling and enablement. That tune at the top of this post became my song yet again.
With my earbuds in, I lay sobbing out the words. And the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me with his presence, breathing life into the dry bones and desiccated limbs. It was as if Jesus cupped my face and gazed straight into my heart and mind. He impressed on me the whys of this vital lesson, and he reminded me that he is in this with me, right now, right here.
I will carry this reminder as I now weakly stumble into this ministry-laden, work-intensive time. When I am weak, then I am truly strong. This is a significant lesson for someone my age (54), because the older I become the less natural strength I will have, even when fully healthy. Jesus is gently conditioning me to rely on him.
I thought I needed to gain my own strength before all this work begins, but Jesus knew I needed to be reminded of my need for HIS strength. I have no strength and no personal holiness. My holiness is Christ in me. He must increase. I must decrease.
Are you relying on the only reliable Source of strength?
Photo licensed by Creative Commons. Music by Matt Maher.