Finding Yourself Weak

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 10:39 PM

I had a religious experience on a recent Sunday and though it was in a church, it had nothing to do with church. My wife and I went to our first meeting with a group in our area that supports children with Down syndrome.

It was as though I was sitting there but not really. Normally a very talkative person I said little and my wife took the lead. I watched the parents who were somewhat more experienced at this than me. I listened as each parent gave the list of medical issue and test their child had went through. For me it was a reality check, it confirmed in me that indeed I was the parent of a special needs child.

I am finding that this is not such a bad thing don’t get me wrong. My Gracie is as good a baby as there comes and her smile can melt even the most hardest of hearts. Her health has been exceptional compared to the others I stood around that day; all is good on the medical home front for us at this moment. My other children love her as do I, life with Gracie is good.

Still there was a part of me that looked at the children and thought to myself will my girl be 18 months when she walks, not uncommon for a child in her condition but very unusual to a man with six very healthy children who walked well before they were one. I looked and wondered will my child have trouble with their eyes, another common health issue, like some of the children in the room. I sat there watching all of those sweet children and wondered about her speech. How soon would she communicate and how clearly would she do it.

I listened to others who were all in the same situation and paid close attention to the different ways they handled themselves. I looked in the eyes of others who were there for the first time. You could tell who we were; we just had that certain, well uncertain look on our face.

One common denominator connected us all, a love for our child with special needs, I guess for a while it defined me in a way I had never been defined before. My life had been defined in the past with phrases like, parent of healthy happy children, pastor, friend, husband, coach and father to some pretty good but not great athletes.

Never did I dream four months ago I would find myself defined as parent of a special needs child. Never did I think I would find myself on a nice Sunday afternoon standing in a room full of other parents with that same definition of their lives. As I stood there with a million thoughts running through my head one came to mind. I had one more new definition of myself; weak.

All of a sudden I knew in a very real way I was weak and could not control all of the issues in my little girl’s life. I could not keep her from having health issues. Yes we will work with her extra hard but I can not make her walk before she is ready. No doubt we will challenge her with her mental capacity but she will go as far as the Lord allows, there is nothing I can do about that. I will work with all I have to give her a stable home and a good place to share the joy that is in her life but I can not protect her from those who might make fun of her or be scared of her because of her condition.

Yes weak defined me best at that moment and perhaps that is a good thing. It is there when you stand weak that God does His best work. Over and over again God uses the weak to humble the strong in the Bible. Strong Paul himself speaks about God being made real in our times of weakness.

Weakness teaches dependence and trust in a living God. Not that everything is going to work out well but that God is going to be there as each moment unfolds. I may be powerless to affect some aspects of Gracie’s life but He has complete power to do as He pleases.

I suppose right now if you have cancer or heart disease you understand weakness better than I. Perhaps you have a child that has rebelled and you are absolutely powerless to control the situation, you know what I am talking about when it comes to weakness. Maybe others control your job situation and it looks bleak and there is very little you can do to help, you understand weakness.

Lets face it we are all weak and God needs us to be that way so that He can use us. It is as we make it through each day that people can see the mighty power of God living though our lives. It is when we are vulnerable that God teaches us how to pray, how to take things one day at a time and how to find joy in places you never thought you would. On your own strength you would never go there so God makes you weak to show you His power.

For a moment this week acknowledge your weakness before God, and then thank him for His strength. No matter how you define yourself in reality you are weak; and understand this, God likes you that way.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:9, “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 my rest on me.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to better understand our weakness and to depend on your strength. Teach us to understand that compared to you all things are weak. Help us to understand that the only real power in this life is yours. You are a good God to lift us up in times of need, and we ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.