If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
- 1 Peter 4:11
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
- Philippians 4:13
For some time now, I have been struggling to stay on my schedule which is roughly a week ahead for my writing. Then on a day when my wife had dialysis, I was able to write three posts, one being a quiz, which usually takes more time than a simple post. I was thrilled by the progress.
When it got dark, I went upstairs to see how my wife was doing. I did not go earlier in case she was sleeping and, really, if she needed me, all she had to do was call.
She asked what I had been writing and I told her, but she interrupted in mid-sentence to say that something was on her mind. She then screamed. Not as loud as she could possibly scream, but it shook me to the core. I remained disturbed and despondent for the rest of the evening.
My wife’s and my temperament are nearly the same except in one key factor. She is extroverted while I am introverted. Some experts call our temperament type the “Empath.” That does not mean that we are empathic, absorbing other people’s pain, but my wife does that. She has told me that my groaning in pain causes her to feel the pain, and … “Could you at least suffer in silence?”
I never seem to be bothered by the pain of others in that way, but that day, I felt her pain. As an introvert, I avoid that type of connection with others (not family, but ‘others’), but on that day, I could not avoid it, nor would I want to avoid my wife’s pain.
But that evening all I could think about was how I had been the miracle worker in several of my jobs in the past. I could fix anything, or so I thought, or so how others described me.
Maybe I could never fix anything. My co-workers bragged that I could, maybe to have me assigned the hard jobs. Maybe the rumor of me doing the impossible was so that I got more work and harder tasks.
We go to a church that repeats Philippians 4:13 as if that verse fixes everything, but does it?
Whose power are we relying upon? Most people at service projects will tell you that God gave them special gifts of their strength and skill. Is that true? Are they relying on the strength God gave them or are they relying on God’s strength? After a while, it seems to only be human strength that carries the day.
I really have no idea, with all my “miracle” work in the past or the track record of always meeting deadlines. Was that my strength, the strength God gave me, or God’s strength?
Have I ever fixed anything? Or did God fix things when I was too busy working hard to notice and then others claimed I could fix anything?
I like the 1 Peter quote above. As long as God gets the credit and the glory, it takes that question of whose strength right out of the picture.
It is so hard when you have always been relied upon to be a pillar of strength and then someone screams. One of those Peanuts comic strip screams, “Arrrgggggggh!”
My wife could not express her pain. She had no idea what was hurting. Her body was simply spiraling out of control. All that I could do was to sit there and listen. And share in her pain. It is not just the end-stage kidney failure. It is a fistula that has been abandoned, a graft that is clogged and the surgery has still not been scheduled to fix it. It is a wellness, or as I say “lack of wellness” appointment next week with our primary care doctor. It is a podiatrist appointment for a foot inspection and toenail cutting, since the nurses forbid my wife or I to cut her toenails. That on Christmas week, an early present. It is an eye doctor appointment right after Christmas. Will her bruises from the fall still circle her eyes? It is all those appointments preventing us from going to visit the grandchildren.
Yes, I wish to scream “Arrrgggggggh!”
I must be the rock, but I cannot be the rock.
I thought I was a fixer of things, but I do not have the strength, and maybe I never did.
But God can fix things, and sometimes he even uses me.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.