“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom….I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” –1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Paul often boasted about his moments of weakness, and we all know why. But it wasn’t until this last year and a half that I’ve come to realize just how great a thing he was onto here. Somehow, at least for me, it’s easy to look at the Bible in an almost romanticized light: The disciples and apostles walking around speaking great words of wisdom, always knowing what to say and do, having the utmost integrity and confidence- in a way, the perfect Christians. People we’d go to (and do, in a sense) for advice on every subject. But here, Paul’s admitting to everyone: “I was scared spitless when I came to talk to you about Jesus. It freaked me out so bad, I was actually shaking and spoke clumsily. And yet that’s exactly what you needed: God’s power in a humbling moment, not my skill, or wisdom, or knowledge….so I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
How typical of God!!! I mean, this is Paul we’re talking about here! God took someone that could’ve said “No way! I’m not cut out for this!” and made a powerful tool that continues to affect people even today. See, here’s the key that Paul understood: We are the most effective when we feel the most ineffective, because that’s where we tend to throw everything in God’s lap and say “I can’t do this! Please, You do it!” That’s exactly the point God drives us to, just for that moment of utter surrender….Then, and sometimes only then, will He roll up His sleeves and say “Finally. Here we go!”
A simple truth? One you’ve heard a million times? Most likely. You’ve probably even experienced it from time to time. “Oh, it was so cool because God stepped in- right when I was at my wit’s end!” That’s what I’ve been experiencing for the last year and a half… I’ve walked into work day after day, terrified of not being able to handle situations or of missing opportunities to help the students learn something important. But God, in my complete weakness, will softly whisper, “Kendra…you’re not doing this shift alone. I am right here.” and without fail, the most amazing things happen. In fact, the time in my life that I felt the most inadequate was when He moved through me the greatest. As strange as it seems, during that time I felt moved to start a prayer group at work that became so intense that the women’s floor took a turn for the better… and, in a round-about way, saved my life. So: I was a mess, at the breaking point, needing God desperately…and through that need, God moved mightily.
That was a strangely special season when I began to discover Paul’s secret. But do you know what was different about Paul? He intentionally lived at his breaking point, constantly in need of God, because he knew that’s what it took for his “wits” to get out of the way and God’s power to work freely through him on a day to day basis. Can you live like that? Can I? That is an extreme walk of faith! I’m coming to discover this about Jesus- He’s always, ALWAYS searching for your surrender, so He can work without hindrance. If you really want to live this life His way, be prepared to be scared spitless….and be prepared to be one amazed witness of His power in action.