This past Sunday we gathered once again for worship and praise. It is amazing how just a few voices joined together can bring forth such a glorious sound. When I was a little girl I loved to go to church. I’d sing at the top of my lungs (much to my siblings’ chagrin) and recite the liturgy prayers by heart. I wanted to be a priest so I could share the story of Jesus with others so they could love God, too. Most of all I loved to talk to God in prayer.
Unfortunately, as I grew up and confronted the struggles of adolescence I moved away from that simple faith and relationship with God. I no longer thought of myself as God’s beloved daughter, but rather as a failure—someone who regularly disappointed God and others—and I constantly tried to make up for my weakness and sin through my own strength and power.
Imagine my wonder and surprise when I finally realized that God’s opinion of me didn’t center around what I was unable to do for myself, but rather in God’s plan made possible by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It has taken years for that truth to truly become a foundational part of my life.
What makes us try to “be” something special for God, to try to impress God with all that we can accomplish? Why do we so often try to make up for what we are, instead of realizing that we are God’s creation, loved and cherished by God. When will we learn that we are able to approach God because of Jesus’ sacrifice, not our own?
Looking back, it is obvious that as I grew older I began to depend on my own limited strength and abilities instead of depending on the mercy and grace of God. It has taken a long time to establish the habit, but now I remind myself—daily—that my value isn’t found in what I do or how well I do it, but in the One in whom I believe. That makes all the difference.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take [the thorn in my flesh] away from me. 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 ( 2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
Pastor Mary Kay Glunt