Great Weakness, Powerful Ministry

Broken and beautiful. I’ve seen it again and again. Those who’ve experienced the greatest pain and struggle most often have the most powerful ministry. Because they get it, and by “it” I mean a plethora of things: pain, weakness, frailty, humility, utter and desperate dependence of God, and the intense comfort He provides when we’re in despair.

acfw picIf that is you, whether you’re still despairing or praising God for carrying you through, God has a plan for you. A glorious, miraculous, compassionate, beautiful plan. Today a sweet woman who’s experienced pain unimaginable–that which every parent fears–is here to tell us about the beautiful end result. As you read Jessica Johnson’s devotion titled Great Weakness, Powerful Ministry, I encourage you to prayerfully consider how God can turn your greatest pain into a beautiful ministry, for mourning lasts for the night, but grace is eternal.

BUT, before you read further, I wanted to let you know, Sweet Freedom is FREE on Amazon Kindle! Get it here. PLUS, y’all can read the first chapter of my debut novel, Beyond I Do. Read it here, and if you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts and expectations. 🙂

Great Weakness Can Lead to Powerful Ministry

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge him…”

Sounds easy enough, right? Why wouldn’t I trust God? After all, He’s God. Little did I know when I first learned this verse at age 13, that trusting God would be one of the hardest things for me to do. Ever.

Soon after my third child, Ethan, was born, I noticed  something wasn’t right. He was frequently ill and took longer than normal to get over common viruses and ear infections. Eventually, he became so sick he had to be hospitalized. After two weeks in intensive care, despite many desperate prayers for his healing, Ethan passed away. He was nine months old.

Eventually we received a diagnosis of Primary Immune Deficiency, a genetic disease. Ethan lacked the ability to make antibodies to fight infections. I later had two more sons, and although I prayed for them to be healthy, both of them were born with this disease as well.

I never understood why God didn’t answer my prayers and heal Ethan, nor why he didn’t provide healthy children after Ethan died.  I wondered, Does God even listen to my prayers? In time, I lost trust in Him and almost stopped praying altogether.

It wasn’t until 2011 that I was faced with my inability to control my life or the lives of those I loved. My two-year-old son Gavin got lost in the woods behind our house. I looked everywhere for him, but no matter how desperately I searched for him, no matter how fast I ran or how loud I called his name, I couldn’t find him. If his safety, his protection, rested in my hands, he was in a heap of trouble. I didn’t know where he was—how could I keep him safe? I cried out to God. He was the only One who knew where my son was. I would be crazy not to trust Him.

This experience inspired me to write a book about trusting God. I often speak to groups of women, encouraging them to trust God, although I still struggle with that myself. I often ask, “Why, Lord? Why call me to a ministry in my area of greatest weakness?”

This reminds me of Moses, standing before God, who has just asked him to go before Pharaoh and order him to let the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses said in Exodus 6, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”

I can totally relate! “Why are you asking me of all people, Lord? I’m the worst at this! Couldn’t you find someone more qualified?”

But the Bible says God uses the weak to carry out His work in order that His strength and power can be displayed. (2 Corinthians 12:9) If we do something that comes naturally, we’re merely displaying our own strength. But when we do something difficult, in our area of weakness, God’s power is revealed. Others take notice and say, “Only God could do that.”

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, when talking about a physical hardship he endured, Paul says, “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.”

What is your greatest weakness? If you feel God calling you to do something that is completely out of your comfort zone, do it—no matter how incompetent you feel. Perhaps He is looking for an opportunity to display His awesome power through you. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy hinder you from being used for a heavenly purpose.

***

Jessica Leigh Johnson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Education from Crown College in 1999. She has a passion for writing and speaking to women on the topics that are close to her heart. She also serves the Lord in music and children’s ministries. Jessica is the author of the book, Do You Trust Me? – Allowing Hope to Triumph Over Tragedy. She and her family reside in Northern Minnesota. Visit her online at: www.jessicaleighjohnson.com or connect with her on Facebook.

 livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. When has God turned a painful experience into a ministry opportunity? When have you experienced blessings/compassion/grace from someone else who experienced a similar trial or difficulty you were experiencing? If you are going through a trial currently, what might God be doing in and through you through the trial? Share your comments here or at Living by Grace on Facebook.
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