Tuesday, June 05, 2007
In Other Words
“What used to make us stumble, God can us to make us stand. What once made us bow our heads in shame, He can use for His glory.”
Joanna Weaver – Having a Mary Spirit
When I first read this quote, I immediately thought of all the things in my life that still make me bow my head in shame. First came the “stumble” – that falling into sin – followed by the shame when I continued to stumble over and over again too weak to stop. It isn’t until I exchange my weakness for His strength that I am able to stand. When I give up trying in my own strength to walk in the way I should, and ask Him to come with forgiveness, grace and restoration I can finally stand.
Instead of talking about myself, I am going to use my husband’s story (with his permission) to illustrate what this quote means to me. When he returned from Viet Nam he struggled the way so many of the other veterans of that terrible war had suffered. Added to the wounds of growing up in a very dysfunctional home the pain became too much for him to live with. He began to drink to numb the pain. At first it was just a beer or two on the way home from work with the guys. Soon it took more than just a couple of beers to feel good. He would stay until late into the night and then drive home.
We were married with two little boys. It became routine to pace back and forth by the window looking to see if his truck was in the driveway. Sometimes I’d pack them in the car and we’d drive around just to see where he was. Sometimes I’d call the bar and ask to talk to him. Nothing I said or did seemed to do any good. It was such a dark time. I was too weak in my own faith to handle the situation wisely. I’m afraid I only made things worse for him.
In time he also began to use drugs. It was taking more and more to make him shut out the things that were hurting his heart so deeply. During this time he was playing softball with the local fire department. One of the men on the team was a friend of ours who had just gotten saved. After the games the guys would all hang out at the fire station and drink. My husband noticed that his friend was no longer drinking. It began to bother him that he was supposed to be the one setting the example for this “baby Christian”, having been saved as a teenager. Instead, he was the one getting drunk.
The Holy Spirit was gently working on his heart. One evening he decided to go to a gospel concert we were having at church. He had pretty much stopped going to church with us at that time. As he sat in a pew at the back of the church and listened to the words of the song, it was as if every word was directed at his heart. The Holy Spirit took those words and ministered to heart that was so broken and hurting and began to draw him back to the One who loved him with an unconditional love.
My husband walked back into the arms of the Savior that night. In his weakness he surrendered to One who is strong. That was over thirty-five years ago. My husband hasn’t had a drink since that. God has used his testimony to bring glory to His name. Whenever my husband tells his story, it blesses those who hear it. What the enemy would have liked to use to make my husband bow his head in shame, the Lord has used for His glory. My husband knows that this is his area of weakness. Sometimes the urge for a nice cold beer is just overpowering, but he knows where that one drink could take him. He relies on the strength of the One who set him free.
II Corinthians 12:9 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
To read more writing on this quote please go to Joy In the Morning.