July 6, 2022
Thank you for praying each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival.
“When God is our strength, it is strength indeed; when our strength is our own, it is only weakness” (Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis).
The key to living by faith is to surrender our weakness to our all-powerful God and allow Him to work in us and through us.
There is a statement in Hebrews 11 that deserves consideration. As the writer highlights the past faithful witnesses for God, he makes a profound statement that they “were made strong out of weakness” (Hebrews 11:34).
There are 2 verses in the ancient Scriptures that tell the story of a little girl, who otherwise would not be known. Her heart-wrenching story raises more questions than answers, but somehow through the tragedy of war and the cruelty of men’s hearts, God protects, sustains, and uses this child in a big way.
It is the best example I could find of what the Hebrew writer said, “made strong out of weakness.” This girl was a person of faith like no other!
The main narrative is about a Syrian general by the name of Naaman who got the dreaded incurable disease of leprosy, now known as Hansen’s disease. You can read the full story in 2 Kings 5.
The 2 verses that describe the girl are these, “Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, ‘Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy’” (2 Kings 5:2-3).
The reason for all the heartbreak in our world and why God allows it is a deep theological question. It ultimately finds its source in the entrance of sin into the human heart, but the nuance of the issue is much more complicated.
The pain that this girl's parents must have experienced is more than I can even imagine. To have a child ripped from your arms and taken into captivity never to be seen again transcends the suffering of death itself.
The fear, the anguish, the loneliness of this child who was taken away from love, comfort, and home, must have been extreme, but through it all God was with her and she didn’t lose her confidence in Him.
Her faith was sourced in God Himself. She learned at an early age the goodness and power of God. She had parents that instilled God’s reality into her in early years. She witnessed God at work through the prophet Elisha and, despite the hardships of life, maintained strong faith in God.
Suffering can have one of two major effects on your life. It can either cause you to doubt and question God’s love for you, and ultimately turn away from God, or it can give you the assurance of His love. It can draw you closer into His embrace, knowing He has an eternal plan.
It is revealing that this little girl didn’t turn bitter against God. She may not have understood all that was happening and why God allowed things to go the way they did, but she continued to trust Him.
When the moment came, she seized the opportunity to speak on His behalf. She pointed her master's husband to the one true God. She was little. She was weak, and she may have seemed insignificant in the eyes of most, but her faith in God changed a man’s belief in God, a family's happiness, and a nation’s future. Her faith-action brought peace between Israel and Syria for years to come.
True faith is allowing a powerful God to work through weak vessels. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
God deserves the glory! When we seek to do God’s work in our own strength, we are drawing attention to ourselves and thus receiving the glory that He deserves. When it’s His strength and not mine, then the clay jar is performing its true purpose and God’s power can flow through it.
What is God asking you to do today? Surrender your weakness to Him, step out in faith, allow His power to work through you, and let all the praise go to God.
Hillsong Worship sings it beautifully.
Christ alone, cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior's love
Through the storm
He is Lord, Lord of all
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel