When It All Falls Apart
"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." Psalm 18:32 (NIV, 1984)
Everything seemed to go wrong at the same time. Instead of having "one of those days," I was having one of those months!
The emotional load in our home increased as my eldest son moved back from college, filling every square inch of our little house with testosterone. My youngest son graduated from high school and then had an accident that would require surgery. My computer crashed, not just once but three times. A spur-of-the-moment trip required hours of unscheduled time. An event I was planning seemed to teeter between success and epic fail. On top of it all, my little dog came down with intestinal issues … I’ll spare you the details.
For a time, not one thing in my life seemed to measure up to the picture of perfection in my head. Not my messy home. Not my fearful mothering. Not my unstable professional life. Not my overloaded schedule.
I felt weak and overwhelmed. For a woman who loves order, a managed schedule and peace, it’s not easy to face times like these. Maybe you’ve had seasons similar to mine. Perhaps for some of you, it’s been even longer — even one of those years — when chaos seems to reign.
As difficult as it is to cope when life gets messy, we can view struggles as a great opportunity to operate in a new way. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong and imperfect, we can turn our focus to the Perfect One, our heavenly Father. When it’s obvious our best efforts and planning aren’t good enough, we can shift our perspective to the Source of our true strength.
Our key verse, Psalm 18:32, reminds us: Our own strength isn’t enough, but God’s is.
We all want to be strong and competent. Yet the Bible suggests we should embrace our weaknesses as a reminder to trust in God’s strength alone. Paul gave us a picture of the perfection of our weakness when he said, "And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NASB).
I’m learning to embrace chaos as a sweet call from God to rest in Him when my own work falls short.
Striving for perfection is exhausting. But God waits for us to give in and step aside. Once I end my pursuit of perfection, God can begin His perfecting work in me. We’re unable to create perfection, but God makes our way perfect.
What does it look like in everyday life to exchange my weakness for God’s strength? To choose His way over my way?
It’s trusting Him, rather than trusting my own capabilities.
It’s surrendering the pictures of perfection that I carry around in my head to the presence of God in my imperfect reality.
It’s walking in daily obedience to His Word and direction, rather than charting my own course.
God works powerfully in the midst of our weakness to show His power as we trust, surrender and obey. That’s when His strength and perfect way is displayed most brightly in our lives.
Lord, I know if I surrender to You I don’t have to be strong all by myself. Instead of sinking into my tangled circumstances, will You teach me to draw on Your strength? In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Corinthians 1:25, 27, "The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than men … but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong." (NASB)
Proverbs 18:10, "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe." (NASB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If you’re in a chaotic time of life, write a prayer of trust, surrender and obedience straight from your heart to God.
If you’re in a peaceful time of life, write a prayer to God asking Him to prepare you for the next time all doesn’t go as planned. Decide now how to react when that time comes.