Updated: Feb 26
"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT
I love walking at one of our local parks. There is a paved walking trail that meanders through the woods and meadows, up hill and down, all in the relative safety of a neighborhood in town. I've walked there off and on for five or six years now, in every month of the year. I've walked there when it was snowing and I've walked there when it was in the high heat of July and August. I've watched as the seasons changed the landscape, the colors, and the way the wind sounds in the tree tops. It's all marvelous to me. It's worth the twenty minute drive from our home even though there are parks closer to me.
Yesterday I went on a walk there. I've been trying, with only moderate success, to resume consistent and frequent visits. I'm getting there though. It's been bewildering to some that I resist having any company on my walks and I do not take along my phone to listen to music or podcasts. I need the silence. I crave the silence. I told someone last night that my walks feel a little like Morning Pages in action. The first mile or so the thoughts race round and round in my brain and it's my voice that is doing all the chattering. Usually, by the mid-way point of the walk, the voices have calmed down enough to listen more than speak. The silent chattering has usually done the work of rooting out troubles or difficulties I'm facing. The silence helps sort them out, and I gain some clarity. On the best days, not only have I sorted them out and gotten some clarity, but I feel God's presence guiding me and encouraging me. I end the walks with a renewed sense of hope and enthusiasm.
I was near the end of the walk yesterday when I realized the chattering had not yet been still enough to listen. I had been obsessing about some of the current circumstances we are facing and just getting more and more worked up about it. Then a thought came that I had not yet been able to put my finger on. I realized I am afraid.
Without going into details, let me just say that I had enough time left on my walk to allow recognition of that fear to evolve into acceptance. Lessons from earlier in the day reminded me that the fear I have is a reality for many people. It might be a reality for me as well, and if it is, it's not a mistake. It's not because God forgot about me or changed his mind about things he has given me to do. I didn't have any great revelations about what that means for me, until this morning. The lesson from this morning reminds me that God's grace is sufficient for me. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Many people encounter what they feel are contradictory directions from God, wouldn't you agree? We feel strongly we are called to one thing, and then are called to another that challenges our ability to do the first, or are given a "thorn in our flesh" that inhibits our ability to do either. I am reminded that it will not be by my own strength or power that I will accomplish his will in my life, but by his strength working through my weakness.
So I move forward knowing that by trusting God to enable me to do anything he has given me to do, I can rest and not be afraid.