Have you ever run out of something, put it on your grocery list, bought the item, only to find out that you had it in the pantry all along? This happens in our house all too frequently. Another instance goes like this: someone opens the fridge and makes a statement along the lines of, “We are out of barbeque sauce,” without even searching for it. And it’s not the kids alone who neglect to search. Just this week I concluded that I had used my last can of mousse. I stretched my curly-do to the max, thinking that I didn’t have time to get to the store to buy more. It wasn’t until the end of the week when I opened the cabinet to grab another bottle of hand soap that I found a full can of mousse.
I assume this happens to many of us. But it happens in more areas than just our grocery lists and hair care items. There are times life confronts us with situations that most often we are not prepared to face. Sometimes our thoughts, or even our mouths utter words such as, “I can’t do this;” “I’m not strong enough to handle this;” “I’m not smart enough to figure this out.”
When I reflect back on the seasons of my life that produced significant spiritual growth, when I learned the most about my God and myself, it is those times that were the darkest and most despairing. I remember back to a seven-year period of my adolescence battling depression and an eating disorder. I remember back to a feeling of failure, the void and emptiness from miscarrying my second pregnancy. I remember a period of uncertainty and financial instability experienced when Brandon was in engineering school and both of us were unemployed as a family of five.
In reflecting on moments like this with my friend and past OU instructor, Rhonda Lawes, she shared something she had heard that made quite an impression on me. It was that everyone has a full plate, but different sizes; some people have saucers and some have turkey platters. With that in mind, there are situations I can’t imagine walking in. Cancer. Bankruptcy. Divorce. But the fact is, whatever we are facing, most often, we are not strong enough, smart enough, or equipped to handle it on our own. And thank our loving Father that we don’t have to be, because HE is. When we walk into our emotional pantry and the shelves are empty, we know where to find what we need. He provides a fridge full of hope, a cabinet stocked with peace, a storeroom full of strength. We have a supply that will never run out.
The Word reminds us of this truth,
II Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
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