Today's Bible Verse...

Trusting God through Weakness—Faults, Frailties, Failures, Hardships

God is worthy of our trust, always, including in our weakness -- faults, frailties, failures, and hardships. We all are weak; we all have faults and frailties; we all fail at times, and we all suffer hardships.

The same was true of Abraham, as we read in Genesis chapter 20. Here, fearing for his life, Abraham does it again, what he had done before to protect himself (See Genesis 12:11-13.) -- he lies. (But was it a total lie, or a “little white lie;” a half truth? Is there a difference?) 

Abimelech, king of Gerar, having discovered the deception, asks Abraham, “Whatever possessed you to lie to me, letting me believe that your wife Sarah is your sister. Something grave could have happened to me and my people.”

Abraham answers Abimelech, “I was afraid for my own life. Thinking this was a godless place you may have killed me to get my wife.

“But, it’s not totally untrue,” Abraham adds, “We have the same father but different mothers, so she really is my sister and I her brother.”

Abimelech and Abraham make amends, and Abraham prays to God that Abimelech and his people would be spared. God hears and answers; He is worthy of our total, unwavering trust. As we will see later on, God has indeed kept His promise to Abraham, that Abraham will have a son through his wife Sarah. And through that son of promise all ‘nations’ (peoples) will be blessed.

What has Abraham done here? He's depended upon himself, and has used his own way to try to accomplish what God was leading him to. Just as he has done before.

Fast-forward to the New Testament era
(John 5:1-15), we see Jesus -- the blessing of promise for all ‘nations’ (peoples) -- returning to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. At the pool of Bethesda He sees crowds of sick people -- blind, lame, and paralyzed -- waiting for the stirring of the waters so they can get into the pool and get well.  

Jesus approaches one man lying there. With seemingly no hope and without help to get him into those healing waters, he has remained ill for 38 years.

Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be well?”

“Of course I do,” the man answers, “but there’s no one here to help me get into the water.”

Jesus simply says to him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.”

Standing up, he rolls up his mat, and walks away. After 38 years of the man wishing for healing by his own way (being lifted by men into the pool), suddenly he's completely healed!

Jesus is willing and able to help us in our weakness, whatever it may be, in our frailties, faults, and failures, and through hardships and difficult circumstances we may face. He is strong and ever faithful. The Apostle Paul saw this; recognizing his own weakness – his “thorn in the flesh”, he found God's grace to be all-sufficient (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

“My grace is all you need,” the Lord said to Paul, and so He says to us.

Thus, as Paul responded, so should we: “So now [let us be] glad to boast about [our] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through us [for the ‘nations' (peoples), and the glory of the Father]”.

Again flashing ahead, we come now to eighteenth-century North America and meet Paul Le Jeune, Jesuit missionary, with a degree in theology and philosophy from the University of Paris. (Information gathered from Ruth A. Tucker’s book From Jerusalem toIrian Jaya.)

Jesuit work among the Huron peopleof Canada has been underway for seven years when Le Jeune arrives. Yet, other than a school established for native children, there is little to show for their work.

Nearly forty years old when he arrives (in 1732), Le Jeune seems ill suited to meet the task before him. He is also unprepared for the hardships he will encounter – climactic conditions such as bitter cold winters, hot, humid, and bug-infested summers. Nevertheless, he sets out on his assignment of translating the Scriptures.

“I thought nothing of coming to Canada when I was sent here,” he confesses. “I felt no particular affection for the Savages, but the duty of obedience was binding."

Should we not also have that committed mindset: obeying the call to go into a world of darkness, shining the light of God’s eternal truth among the ‘nations’ (peoples), our neighbors, co-workers, family?

Seven years after Le Jeune began his work, and with ten resident Jesuits, fewer than 100 Hurons in a tribe of about 10,000 will have been converted to Christianity. Two decades later, however, with further increases in missionary workers, half the tribe will have been converted.

And the call for workers continues today. “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields [who are willing to obey and go]” (Matthew 9:37-38.)

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