Today I Am Weak

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I was given a thorn in my body because of the outstanding revelations I’ve received so that I wouldn’t be conceited. It’s a messenger from Satan sent to torment me so that I wouldn’t be conceited. I pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me alone. He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. Therefore, I’m all right with weaknesses, insults, disasters, harassments, and stressful situations for the sake of Christ, because when I’m weak, then I’m strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Common English Bible)

“Every weakness contains within itself a strength.” ― Shūsaku Endō

Today I feel pretty weak. The day after surgery it is to be expected. Pain medications keep the edge off the pain but they do nothing to take the edge off the weakness. It seems to me, if anything, the medication adds to the weakness. Please understand, I don’t mean people shouldn’t take pain meds. That is far from the case. Cindy would probably have run away by now without my pain medication.

We often feel weak at times in our lives. Whether it is weakness that comes on with the events of a day or week  or be it inner turmoil or other things, that can happen in our lives. Much of the weakness I am feeling is physical weakness that comes with surgery. But, also an emotional weakness that comes with the death of a loved one. Grief can seem to be a form of weakness.

But, as much pain as I feel in my shoulder today, the end of the pain should be on the horizon. The surgery, while brining on additional short-term pain, will eventually relieve the pain completely. The restrictions on my body because of the pain of injury will be gone and a new strength will replace it.

Shūsaku Endō is one of my favorite Christian author. His book Silence, the story of a sixteenth century Catholic priest who goes to Japan to be a missionary and to investigate the reasons his mentor had abdicated the faith. It was something Father Rodrigo couldn’t understand.

After reading Silence the quote from Endo above doesn’t surprise me. “Every weakness contains within itself a strength.” In the book Father Rodrigo saw himself as becoming weak when he also abdicated the faith. But in so doing, he actually became more Christian than he had ever been before. I will leave the remainder of the book for you. It is a Christian novel worth the time for you to read.

Paul reminds us that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. In the things that make me weak make God strong. When I am weak I let God work through me more. I think most of us know God to be omnipotent, all powerful. But God has manners too. God isn’t going to work through us if we fail to leave God a way. We are more likely to allow God to work through us in the times of our weakness. Paul seems to be saying as much. My personal experience seems to me to indicate much the same.

So, bring on the weakness. The weakness in my shoulder will go away, eventually. It will be replaced with strength. I am not ready to start doing push-ups again, but then again, before the surgery my shoulder wasn’t doing any push-ups either. So, when I can, I will be dropping the weakness for new strength.

We should be working on that in other areas too, but we build the strength because we let God’s strength work in our weakness.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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