When he came to his senses, he said, “how many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!”
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.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“If you two don’t behave, you are going to be sent to—church,” I would threaten my preteens, who never had been inside one. At that time, I could not emotionally stomach even being in a church building. I stopped attending after college. Words like sanctuary, tabernacle, and sacrament riled me not for doctrinal reasons but due to the effects of a buried confusion within me. And so I would raise our children my way, outside of church influence.
Like the prodigal son, I came to my senses when I recognized God’s pursuit. One afternoon my bubble of pride burst. By the grace of God, in my mid-thirties, I recognized that God was behind the scenes pursuing me. Key happenings in my life seemed orchestrated: meeting my wife in a Presbyterian coffee shop in Chicago, listening to a Christian radio drama about a person who couldn’t stand being in a church, and reading a self-help book on positive thinking which recommended bible verses to memorize. In hindsight, I spied the hand of God.
From this book, I memorized a dozen scripture verses. They motivated me to keep going. Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV), in a weird way, kept me determined to sell life insurance. Jesus’ promise, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,” comforted and relaxed me in moments of stress when I lost a sale that would have paid our mortgage. One day I asked myself, “Whose words are helping me?” The answer to the question led to a moment of surrender. It was my prodigal son moment. It was then that I yielded to our heavenly father.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul reminds us that Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It applies to myself and others I know too. Jesus continues with, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” This makes me smile, for I recognize how weak I get as I age (middle 70s), and yet Christ still uses me, especially when I yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
No matter what stage in life we are, God is waiting for us. No matter how weak we are, if we yield to Him, His power, peace, and more are there. When we have prodigal-son moments of clarity, we are able to call out and seek God’s help. Wait. See what He will do.
In Revelation 3:20, we learn Jesus is knocking at our doors. Do you hear him knocking? Respond in prayer and follow through by yielding in thought, word, and deed.