Yesterday, I walked past my bedroom and noticed streams of light coming in through my window–the particles of dust in the air were reflecting the light in a beautiful way. If it had not been for the many dust particles, I would not have noticed the light. (The picture I took of it doesn’t quite capture the beauty of it, but I am no photographer–I tried.)
Sometimes it is the less than desirable people and situations in life that can lead us back to God. St. Paul said in 2 Cor 12:9, ‘”but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”‘ If we are perfect and strong and have it all together and accomplish something good, we or others might think that we are just talented and special. If we are a big mess with all kinds of issues, bad habits, and life problems and still accomplish something good, we and the others looking on will know for certain that it wasn’t our own strength or talent that was able to achieve that good thing–only God could have done a thing like that with a person like that!
God does this kind of thing all the time. In the Bible we see many examples. There is the story of Gideon, where he is told to send home more and more soldiers so that there were barely any left to fight the enemy. When they defeated them, Gideon knew that the only way they won was not by their own might but through God’s. God was trying to increase their faith in him. There is the story of little David defeating the giant Goliath with his sling shot–he was acting on his faith that God would help him defeat Goliath, because otherwise, he would have run away like the rest did, knowing there was no way he could beat him on his own. Of course, we have the example of the growth of the Christian Church itself–Jesus chose 12 disciples to go out and spread the Good News to the ends of the earth. Against all odds, these weak and sinful men, with the help of the Holy Spirit, did just that, and even the evil Roman Empire which put Jesus to death was brought down and bent the knee to confess that Jesus, and not Caesar, is Lord. This Church Jesus established is still here, despite the weak and sinful people it is composed of. Only God could have done this. There are many more examples in scripture and life that show that God uses weakness to show his strength.
If a doubter is looking for reasons to believe in God, this is one of the many. Seeing these weak people triumph and impossible things come to pass increases our faith in God–that he exists and is able to help us achieve great things. When Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, to live in the “Promised Land”, the people couldn’t believe (amazing after they had witnessed God smoking up mountains and parting waters and all!) that they would be able to conquer the people already living there. For this lack of faith, they had to wander in the desert for 40 years until they died off, then they had another shot–this time they believed that God was able to accomplish what he had promised them and they acted on this belief. Even a small faith can move mountains, said Jesus! No faith, no Promised Land. If you want your dreams to come true, for that call of God that you have heard in your heart to come to pass, you must have faith that he is able, despite (and maybe because of) your own flaws, to bring it to pass. We are not fighting giants alone but with Almighty God–if he is with us, who can stand against us?
So, let’s review… Dust in my bedroom > noticing the beauty of the light streaming in > this reflection: weak and pitiful people achieving great things > noticing the reality and power of God in their lives > we can believe in him > we can act on this belief and trust in him to help us > we can achieve the dreams he put in our hearts.
This is why it pays to pray and read scripture and seek out spiritual food daily–keeping these truths in our minds and hearts helps us to live a more fulfilling life. When we set our faith on the shelf and let it gather dust, only picking it up now and then on a rainy day, we don’t experience the abundant life God wants us to have, and we won’t have the effect in the world that we could have had if we would stay close to God and lean on him for help.
Thanks be to God for my dusty house and my many weaknesses and struggles. May he do mighty works with all of our brokenness!