2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.(2 Corinthians 12:9) We serve and live in relationship with the power and atoning grace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit. I used to cringe when people looked at me as the source of strength and power in my life – as if by some power within me I willed myself to endure with perseverance, maintain hope and hold onto life because it was in and of me. I heard it many times: “You’re holding together so well, we almost forget what you’re going through.”
Honestly, I didn’t either. My worst confessed fear was that one of my children would die. I couldn’t imagine the pain or surviving that kind of loss. In truth, I did not want to survive that kind of loss. My confession was that if anything every happened to my children I would die. I would just die, too.
God, however, had other plans. I merely submitted to His Word, those plans and ultimately surrendered any control I thought I had in my life to Him. That is the amazing thing about God – submission on God’s terms is a paradox. He asks us to surrender and in surrender He empowers us beyond measure. Logically, naturally surrender would not empower us – it would give control and power to someone or something else. Yet, surrendering to God transfers our burden to Him and His power to us. Let that settle on you for a moment.
We must continue to live in the power and the calling of God upon our lives in spite of our present sufferings. We must rise above the suffering and live fully in the purposes of God for our suffering. But how?
Well, it starts with surrender. Admitting that there is nothing more that we ourselves can do to overcome the pain, the suffering and the temptations we face in this life. We have to surrender the lies we have been holding onto and the ways we try to stay safe and protect ourselves from risk and hurt. We have to come to the end of ourselves, the pride of our lives and fully depend on God for every aspect of our existence. It doesn’t make sense – but God told us it wouldn’t.
Through Isaiah the prophet God assures us that His ways will not make sense to us. His ways confound human nature and logic and leave us scratching our heads. When that came into my life three years ago, I did not have a clue what God was doing, but I was determined to find out. There were two promises I held onto – Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28. I believed with all my heart that God had a plan and a purpose for the aftermath of the death of my child and that His purpose would bring good to my life again and reveal His glory in immeasurable ways.
What did I do to receive this power beyond measure?
1. Laid down my expectations. I stopped claiming my entitlements. I asked for measures of blessings still, but I asked for the better virtue of God’s will. In doing so, I stopped limiting God’s power in my life and fully experienced His peace and His strength in spite of my pain.
2. I stayed connected through the body and through His Word – I couldn’t read a whole lot of new Scripture but I would let God give me a verse or two from my previous two years of study and I would focus on remembering those promises and those truths and examining how they were helping me through my loss. But most of all I had to cry out to and trust the Holy Spirit to bring me comfort and truth.
3. I had to let God show me how to fight His way because my way had never worked. By laying down my will and my way for what had happened God was released to work and act on my behalf – and His ways are not only higher – they are always better.