Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I posted an entry. Much has happened in my life since the last time I blogged, and most of it I may never post about...suffice it to say, God evidently has an interesting year planned for me, a plan for pushing me out of any last comfort zone I still had, and for stretching my faith beyond what I thought would be the snapping point.
But, I can honestly say, as Paul did, that I am "perplexed, but not in despair...cast down, but not destroyed." I have encountered some struggles recently I hoped I would never, ever have, but I have also encountered the mighty hand of God, the incredible support of a loving church family, and of course, my wonderful friends who hold me up when I collapse!
One day recently, when I was praying about a particularly distressing problem that I felt incapable of handling, I read this passage (Ephesians 1:17-20):
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms."
There are so, so many incredible things about this passage, but what particularly struck me that day was this last little bit. His incomparably great power is available for us who believe--okay, that's great, but I gotta admit. I often have trouble wrapping my little pea-sized brain around what that really implies, just how much power that really is that's available.
The next sentence just blows me away: "That power"--that is, that "incomparably great power" that we can know by experience when we believe--is the very same power He exerted when He RAISED Christ from the DEAD!! Now, THAT'S Power!
And suddenly, there was an image in my head: I was standing there, looking at a giant rock, a gi-normous rock...it probably weighed several TONS. And it was in a place that I needed to get to...so it HAD to be moved...BY ME. And there I was, staring at this gargantuan rock, preparing to use a lever to move it out of the way. Only my "lever" was a stick...a fine stick, to be sure, but a stick nonetheless...a piece of wood, weighing probably a few ounces at best.
Now, I remember my science well enough to know that a lever is a simple machine that helps us do work. A lever can help you move a rock out of the way MUCH more easily than you could do by sheer muscle.
But a lever has its limits. And a small stick is simply no match for a giant boulder. So there I am, trying to wedge this little stick between the enormous rock and the ground, and then Puuuuussssshhhh it up...and, of course, it broke...
So now, I had a gi-normous rock and NO lever. And I started to look about for another stick, when I saw it...it had been right behind me all along, and I have no idea how I could have missed it, but I had. It was an absolutely humongous piece of power equipment...like a lever on steroids, and then some. And I looked at the equipment operator, and at my giant rock, and I said..."no, it's okay, really, I've got this one...I can move it myself, I just need to find a bit bigger stick."
Now, remember this was all just an image in my head (don't you feel sorry for my head just about now?). But as I "came to," I realized how absolutely foolish I must have seemed to that equipment operator, trying to move that enormous rock with a completely useless stick when he was RIGHT THERE with a tool that could have made that rock move like IT was the little stick!
And I realized, THAT'S the kind of power we're talking about here...the power that could toss a multi-ton rock like a twig.
The rock was, of course, all the problems I grapple with and try to "move" out of the way, all on my own. The power equipment is right there waiting, but I gotta be willing to get out of the way and quit trying to do it myself.
Another bit of this analogy that I just really began to see as I typed it up is this: the power equipment was there all along, ready and waiting to take care of the need...BUT using it would require not only giving up my own futile efforts, but giving control of the situation over to the equipment operator. See, there's no way I could have climbed up into that equipment and figured out how to correctly USE it...but I was welcome to climb aboard and join him as he easily moved my rock.
So, quit trying to handle life with nothing but your own power; give your problems and crises over to the One who has the best power equipment there ever was..stuff so powerful, it defeated death itself!!
One caveat, by the way...sometimes the problems don't just go away...in fact, to be honest, my big rock is still sitting right where it was, it hasn't been moved an inch. But my perspective on it is changing...because when I gave it over to the equipment operator, the expert, He said, "oh, you don't want to move that rock right now, because it would do more harm than good. Let's leave it right where it is until it's really TIME to move it, and then I'll just pick it up and get out of the way for you..." So, even though it's still there, I'm not worried over it anymore, because I know the Master Planner has it all worked out.
Well, as I reread this post, I can only hope that you have gotten a sense of the message God gave me, and not just a sense that I may be a deeply disturbed individual...it all made sense to ME, really it did!!
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" Ephesians 3:20