Ministry Born Out of Brokenness
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need.
My power works best in weakness.”
2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 (NLT)
During my season of brokenness, I can’t tell you the number of times that I begged for God to remove my weakness. I remember crying out in my prayers to Him – “How can I possibly serve you and minister to others in my weakness? What good can come from this?”
I remember how embarrassed I was for my weakened state – I apologized to everyone. I was so ashamed that I had failed and had become so useless for the kingdom of God. I felt worthless.
But I was so wrong. First of all, my worth is not found in what I do for God. My worth is in that I am His beloved child – priceless – that will never change! But to my surprise God showed me that my value – my usefulness for the kingdom – my ministry to others – was not born out of my strengths and successes but out of my failures and weaknesses. Wow!
I was encouraged when I read what Francios Fenelon, the Archbishop of Cambrai, France, wrote to the court of King Louis the Fourteenth almost five hundred years ago …
It is amazing how strong we can become
when we begin to realize what weaklings we are.
It is in weakness that we can admit our mistakes
and correct ourselves by confessing them.
It is in weakness that our minds are open
to enlightenment from others.
It is in weakness
that we are authoritative in nothing
and say the most clear-cut things
with simplicity and consideration for others.
In weakness, we do not object to being criticized
and we easily submit to censor.
At the same time we criticize
no one without absolute necessity.
We give advice only to those who desire it
and even then we speak with love
and without being dogmatic.
We speak from a desire to help,
rather than a desire to create
a reputation for wisdom.
FRANCOIS FENELON, LET GO
I accepted my weakness and I was humbled by my powerlessness yet I rejoiced in that the power of Christ could now work through me in a much more powerful way through my brokenness rather than my own personal strength.
The late Michael Yaconelli, the co-founder of Youth Specialties, validated my experience when a fter a retreat at the L’Arche community, Michael shared …
Finally I accepted my brokenness …
I knew I was a sinner.
I knew I continually disappointed God,
But I could never accept that part of me.
It was a part of me that embarrassed me.
I continually felt the need to apologize,
To run from my weakness,
To deny who I was and
Concentrate on what I should be …
I came to see that it was in my brokenness,
in my powerlessness,
in my weakness that Jesus was made strong.
It was in the acceptance of my lack of faith
that God could give me faith.
It was in the embracing of my brokenness
that I could identify with others’ brokenness.
It was my role to identify with others’ pain,
not relieve it.
Ministry was sharing, not dominating;
understanding, not theologizing;
caring, not fixing.
MICHAEL YACONELLI (Excerpt from ABBA’S CHILD)
There is true freedom for me knowing that I don’t have to relieve, dominate, theologize or fix anyone else’s pain in order to minister and encourage them. But it is validating one’s pain by identifying, sharing, understanding and caring where true ministry and encouragement through the power of the Holy Spirit takes place.
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ can work through me.
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses,
and in the insults, hardships, persecutions,
and troubles that I suffer for Christ.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10 (NLT)
On the Journey with You,