Wednesday, December 21, 2016

HIS strength

I wanted to cry one of those truly cathartic cries that is all at once exhausting and invigorating. In theory it was the perfect moment for such relief. First of all, I was already soaking wet, in the shower with no mascara to mess up. I wouldn't have needed a box of tissues since my face was already drenched. I could have wept with all of the pathetic emotionalism of a school girl and no one would have known.
But as hard as I tried I couldn't cry. It was as if my tear ducts were in a season of drought. Not a drop of salty moisture broke the barrier of my cornea. I kept blinking, willing the floodgates of my eyes to spring open but they kept coming up dry.
To bring about the sobs I so desperately desired I thought about the pain I was experiencing in that moment. My left side was terribly flared. My muscles felt like stretched rubber bands on the verge of snapping. This is the terribly distressing sensation I have during every warm shower. I've had it for years now. Warmth hits my skin and the left side of my body reacts violently. Most mornings in the shower I try to ignore the tension and bite my tongue to buck up under the pain. But not today. Not this shower. Instead I thought of nothing but the pain. I told myself that this excruciating physical agony was just cause for weeping.
But even justifying my desired tears couldn't bring a single one to the surface.
So I touched the side of my torso and intentionally lingered on each bone. I cringed as I considered my sharp ribs. My lack of cushioning has caused me such physical and emotional grief. As I reflected on my gaunt frame I hoped a stream of tears would flow.
But not even a drop appeared.
I couldn't cry. I couldn't even whine. All I could do was stand still under the heat of the piercing waters, immobilized by my spastic left leg, and simply listen.
And that's when I heard it. Or should I say, when I heard Him.
The moment I stopped trying to force an emotional break down that wasn't coming I heard God speak right into my soul, right there in my shower. "What you've gained is more of MY strength because you haven't been able to develop any of your own."
Standing in the shower, naked and vulnerable, I wanted to think about what I had lost. I wanted to feel sorry for myself because of my condition, my size and my glaring weakness. But God wanted to show me strength. His strength. By being stripped down to nothing, emotionally, physically and, in that moment, quite literally, God was able to make His message clear as a bell; as obvious as everyone of my protruding ribs.
In taking away my health God has shown me what is truly good - He and He alone. By draining my body of its strength, size and stamina God has shown me the power that is unconquerable - only the power of His indwelling. By prying my dreams out of my hands God has removed every distraction so that I can see clearly the only eternal glory - the glory of His presence.
This morning while I was set on wallowing in the sorrow of my weakness, God wanted to show me the beauty of His strength. Without this weakness and frailty I wouldn't know the power of God to be as real and mighty as it truly is. Without my sickness and lack of weight I wouldn't understand the gravity of 2 Corinthians 12:9, "for my power is perfect in weakness." Without this illness I would still put my faith in my own strength. Without MS, flared muscles, protruding bones and ailing digestion I would not know the miracle of God's grace that sustains me.
God has carried me when human logic says I should be falling. He has enabled me to live against all odds. And He has done it while I've been utterly frail and weak, without any strength of my own to depend upon. He has done it entirely with His power.
God hasn't let me develop my muscles or gain a single pound. But He is making me strong. Stronger than I ever thought I could be. This morning God showed me a glimpse of the greater purpose in His plans for my physical failing and spiritual soaring.

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