This week's "thought" comes to you from Charles Spurgeon. It is found in the devotional I have recommended before (one that I consider a gem) - "Beside Still Waters - Words of Comfort for the Soul." This particular entry has to do with the gift and grace of weakness. It's a concept that's hard for those raised in our "strength worshiping" culture to understand, but he true believer will grasp what he says. In fact, the true believer may be the only one who grasps what he says. Enjoy.
"Your faith will never be weak when you are weak, but when you are strong your faith cannot be strong. To the apostle Paul, Jesus said, "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9). The only way to increase your faith is through great trouble. We do not grow strong in faith on sunny days; only in stormy weather do we obtain it. Strong faith does not drop from heaven in a gentle dew; generally, it comes in the whirlwind and the storm.
Look at the old oaks. How did they become so deeply rooted? The March winds will tell you. It was not the April showers or the sweet May sunshine that caused the roots to wrap around the rock. It was the rough, blustering, north winds of March shaking the trees. The weakest of trees are those grown in the shelter of the greenhouse.
Life in the barracks does not produce good soldiers. Great soldiers are made amid flying shot and thundering cannons. Nor are good sailors made on calm seas. Good sailors are made on the deep, where the wild wind howls, the thunder rolls like drums, and the waves smash in repeated succession against the hull. Storms and tempests make tough and hardy sailors.
It is that way with Christians. We must expect great troubles before we attain great faith."
In times of plenty and ease it is questionable whether faith is even necessary, and the longer or more extended those periods of ease and plenty are, the weaker faith becomes. So also in the Lord's work, it is better to have a man who knows his weakness and casts himself wholly upon the Lord in utter and desperate dependence on Him and His grace, than a confident man who thinks he is strong and completely capable of doing anything, and thus depends on himself alone.
Spiritual work is not like physical work, and worldly success is far different from eternal fruit borne for the kingdom of God. Faith in God must not be confused with confidence in self. If we were more attuned to the ways of God and what He was up to in permitting our struggles and trials, we would be far less anxious and far more willing that His power might be made perfect in us through our weakness.
In the sufficiency of His grace, Pastor Jeff