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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
One month ago I set out excitedly for a prayer conference in the US. Several friends had made generous donations so I could go, and I was determined to honor their generosity by being a blessing in every way I could while I was there.
My plans came to a head-on collision with reality when less than a full day after the conference started, I became so sick I could barely crawl out of bed. Instead of being a blessing, I was completely reliant on God's grace, and that of my friends. To make matters worse, because of the overblown fears of Ebola, especially in Dallas where the conference was held, I was afraid for many to know about my illness for fear of ruining the whole conference for 1,200 + attendees. I knew my symptoms didn't match those of Ebola, but the climate was such that I knew many would worry unnecessarily.
Instead of being a blessing, I became a burden to those friends I knew I could trust with news of my illness. Not only was I physically debilitated (I later found out I'd somehow become host to intestinal parasites, causing fever, severe diarrhea, loss of appetite, and disorientation) but experienced an overwhelming spiritual attack as well. Fear, and an oppressive dark sense of gloom settled on my like a dark shroud when I was alone there in my hotel room until my prayer warrior roommate came to pray scripture after scripture over me, chasing the darkness away.
My disappointment was huge and the illness remained for over a week until I got on the proper medications. I have spent weeks trying to sort through my feelings of frustration, discouragement, and disillusionment. Those old questions of “why, Lord” surfaced, questions I thought I'd long ago put to rest in my joyous acceptance of God's sovereignty and goodness and perfect plans.
God is ALWAYS faithful, and so patient with me. In my heart cry to Him to understand why He allowed such weakness in me when I wanted to serve Him with all of my might, He reminded me of one of my favorite verses, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (see above).
I realized once again that I too often want to rely on my strength rather than His. It was in His mercy that He allowed me to see my desperate need for Him, and then to experience His abundant provision through my friends.
It started with my dinner companion who charitably helped me to my room and prayed over me and took care of my immediate physical needs. She in turn located my roommate who missed a great deal of the conference to unselfishly take care of my exhaustive demands. Suffice to say I'm a needy patient. Once she had to leave to catch her flight, it was no coincidence that He had preordained childhood, high school, and college buddies who lived in the Dallas area to come visit me, and the timing of the arrival of each was uncanny. Just as one had to leave, it was time for the next to arrive. I was never alone for more than a couple of minutes, and each one in turn exhibited such tender loving care. Last but not least, He'd wisely scheduled another dear friend to fly all the way back to South Africa with me, because without her patient and steady help I'd never have been able to travel. Finally, I was home in the arms of my husband, who takes his job of taking care of me very seriously.
It is only now, in hindsight, that I can sincerely say “thank you, Lord” for never leaving me nor forsaking me, and for sending so many to take care of me. It is only now that I can get past my own self-indulgent pity party over really such a silly matter considering the huge amount of true suffering in the world. And it is now that I am on my knees praising God for my weakness so that I may boast in His strength, which never, ever fails. Forgive me Father for my foolish pride. May all the glory and honor be Yours alone.