By Kathi Pelton
In our world of constant exposure to social media, perfect family pictures in “house beautiful” backgrounds, it can leave even the healthiest people feeling less than or weak. Who wants to scroll through a social media site to see a picture of someone’s kid having a fit, their sink full of dirty dishes or the chaos that accompanies real life?
Of course we’ve all been bombarded by the heartbreaking photos of those suffering from Covid or cancer or some other devastating sickness, but for the most part— we scroll to escape reality and have our Hope renewed by seeing beautiful things. I love to post photos of my family having beautiful moments and I love to take pictures of beautiful things— especially my home. But what you don’t see is the real time, real life struggle between the beautiful moments. It happens! Just like my all white furniture gets soiled by dirty hands touching it— so my seemingly all “beautiful” life as portrayed on social media gets soiled by messy moments in the “in between.”
The messy parts of life are often when we feel weak, incompetent, chaotic, guilty or like a fraud. Quite frankly, the mess may be more frequent than the moments of pure beauty. So what are we to do during the “mess?” What are we to do when there is a spiritual battle all around us and all we feel that we have is weakness and tools that merely maintain the mess?
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, “I am strong!” Joel 3:10
Spiritually you may feel that all you possess are coping tools rather than weapons that can win the battle that rages around you. But you can use those tools to be forged into weapons of war and stand up (even in the midst of weakness) and say, “I am strong in the Lord!” God had me take my “coping tool” of journaling and letter writing and turn my pen into a weapon of war to defeat discouragement, lies and defeat. My pen has become a sharpened sword of truth in my hand. What is your tool that can be beaten into a weapon of war against the enemy?
As for weakness, the Apostle Paul boasts in his weakness— even claiming to be the weakest of all men. Why? So that his life could declare the strength of God amid mortal weakness and mess.
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. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
Behind the veil of social medial posts and pictures exists the weakness of every man and woman. The photos of frail people fighting sickness may be more accurate of the “state of men.” Yet— God calls to us to take what is in our hand and “beat it into a sword.” You may feel like a useless tool, only useful for cleaning up messes or pruning thorns, but it is time for you to know that in the hands of the Lord, you can become a sharp sword that is fit for battle— you can stand up and say, “I am a strong warrior.” Of a matter of fact, it is time for you to do this. Boast in your weakness but put on the strength of our Almighty God and watch your life begin to tear down strongholds, defeat giants and overcome great armies. It is time to have your strength renewed!
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
We must stop running from the Lord because of our weakness and begin to wait on the Lord until we receive “strength from on high!” He gives strength to the weary and power to those who feel like fainting (Isaiah 40:29). He did not choose you because of your strength or even because of the gift in your hand. He knows your weakness but he looks for you to posture yourself in waiting and yielding to receive his strength. He receives your offering of what seems useless and transforms you a great warrior with sharpened swords and spears. He is the one who turns useless vessels into victorious warriors.
One thing that I have discovered in my journey with the Lord is that often when I feel my weakest— beaten down by pressure and the poundings that this life brings— it is actually then that I have been being formed from a plow into a sword. The plowing through turmoil and adversity is turning my shovel into a sharpened sword or spear and the declaration of “I am strong” is changing my identity from slave to son.
If you feel faint, weak, or beaten down— wait a bit longer and then look at your life because you are about to see a shining double edged sword appear that is mighty in the hand of God! It is time for the weak to declare, “I AM A STRONG WARRIOR!”
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:31-37
You are more than a conqueror through him who loves you!
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