Do you remember anyone telling you God’s strength comes through your weaknesses when you were a child?
I thought I understood what that meant. But there was one day when weaknesses flowed out of me like Niagara Falls. And for years, I looked at that day as a big, ugly failure.
An embarrassing mistake in my career.
Do you look at any of your times of extreme weakness as mistakes?
My story – I was working as a home health nurse manager and was preparing to visit a patient who lived several miles off of our regular patient route.
The hospice nurse manager had asked me to deliver some supplies to another patient who also lived in the middle of nowhere, but on the way to my patient’s home.
I had no hospice training, but the patient was stable and just needed supplies.
It wasn’t a nurse visit (I wasn’t comfortable performing hospice nursing), but I figured I was competent enough to drop off supplies.
It was going to be a 5-minute detour. An easy-peasy visit.
When I arrived at the home, there were several cars in the driveway. I walked up to the door and heard…wailing. I knocked on the screen door. No one came.
I knocked again. No one came.
But, I could still hear them.
I stood there for a few minutes. I wasn’t sure what to do.
Should I leave these supplies on the step and go?
Maybe they needed someone. Should I call the hospice nurses?
I was already there.
I looked inside and saw the kitchen and decided to put the supplies on the table.
I slowly opened the door and stepped inside. The minute I did a woman came crying into the room yelling, “No daddy, it’s too early!” I looked around and realized what I had walked into that day.
The patient had just died.
His bed was surrounded by what seemed like 100 people.
I felt so ill-equipped.
How do I help this? What do I do?
The family started asking me questions. Questions for which I had no answers.
I felt so helpless.
Then I remembered that God’s strength comes through my weaknesses. God’s amazing strength.
The only thing I knew to do was to give them comfort.
So I started holding and hugging.
Then crying with them.
Until I was at the embarrassing, ugly cry.
I cried with his wife, his daughter and his grandchildren. Then, I finally sat down.
Someone called the hospice manager. Was it me? Maybe the family did. I don’t know, they just came.
So I left the home.
I falsely believed I didn’t have the strength or composure to work with the deeply hurting.
It hurt me which I thought meant that I was too weak that ‘I couldn’t keep it together’.
I felt moved to action but had no idea what to do and then decided I needed to work elsewhere.
So I did.
I have never forgotten that embarrassing moment.
And have always thought of it as a major failure in my nursing career. But not today.
Today, I realize it was a reflection of the compassion I didn’t even know I had. I see God actively at work in me. I long for the future when He is finished with His work and removes all pain.
The pain from our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual weaknesses are real. Scripture reminds us that the Holy Spirit is at work in us. He promises God’s work in our daily lives.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 13-14. (NIV)
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to the completion until of the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6. (NIV)
Today I sat with my friend who recently lost her father. Her daddy.
She shared such beauty about her dad, an elderly, but spry man.
She shared about the memorial and all of the beautiful and amazing things that God had done for him in his life. And how God had used her dad’s life for others.
He was known worldwide as a relationship author and speaker. He restored marriages. And he saved families.
He touched so many. He loved so deeply. My friend shared how she spent time with her entire family and closest friends after he died. They celebrated and remembered his life.
Her father’s friend had shared how he cried. He cried in a situation that was similar to mine.
The embarrassing, uncontrollable cry.
He loved so deeply it hurt him. He sometimes fumbled with his actions. But he loved anyway. He followed The Lord who used his weaknesses.
That is what made him great.
Thanks to that amazing story I now know the truth. My tears are not weakness; they are a reflection of the depth and the intensity of my compassion.
When we look into a mirror, we see a reflection which is the opposite of reality. The left is on the right; the right is on the left. We can view our mistakes or weaknesses the same if we call on The Lord in our weakness.
How do we use our mistakes to find God’s strength? Call on the Lord through our mistakes and weaknesses and look forward. Then, it makes sense to allow our weak thoughts, fumble our actions, choose to love, and even cry.
With God, it will be amazing. We will see God’s strength, and we’ll see how God uses us. We will see a glimpse of the future healing.
How about you? Are you able to allow the pain from your weakness to focus you forward to the time when God removes all that causes our pain?
Where will you allow your weak thoughts? What fumbled actions will you continue? Whom will you choose to love? Where will you allow God Strength to come through your weaknesses? Pray for a sure hope and patient endurance.
What mistake or weakness of your past suddenly shows God working through you?
I want to know: please comment or email me!